How to Build a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr

During the time of the pandemic, only a few industries haven’t been affected by the market reduction. One of these industries is the freelance industry. 

The freelance market was not hurt. In fact, it rapidly grew.

According to Payoneer’s Global Gig Economy Index, the USA is the leading country in a freelancing market. In 2019, around 57 million Americans freelanced. 77% of freelancers said that technology has made it easier to find freelance work. 

We can see that the freelance market is growing. However, it hasn’t reached even half of its potential yet. 

So, if you decide to find out how to build a freelance marketplace like Upwork in order to make your own one, you should know what kind of a marketplace you want to build, what type of development to choose, and what features to implement. This article will unveil answers to all those questions. 

Build a Freelance MarketplaceBuild a Freelance Marketplace

Types of Freelance Platforms

The trend for freelance platforms is growing and the variety of these platforms increases accordingly. Different kinds of marketplaces for different kinds of specialists have appeared. 

Here are the most common types of freelance marketplaces:

Types of Freelance MarketplacesTypes of Freelance Marketplaces

Local Freelance Marketplaces

If the project requires the work of a specialist from a particular country or region, the best solution is to find the employee on the local freelance marketplace. For example, TikkTalk is a freelance marketplace to find interpreters, particularly in Norway. 

Local Marketplace - TikkTalkLocal Marketplace - TikkTalk

Global Freelance Platforms

If the geographical factor is not critical for your target audience, you are free to build a global freelance platform. One of the bright examples of global freelance marketplaces is Behance.

Global Marketplace - BehanceGlobal Marketplace - Behance

Niche Freelance Marketplaces

If your future customers need help with narrow specialists, consider creating a freelance marketplace specialized in a particular area. For instance, 99designs.com, a freelance marketplace for designers. 

Niche Marketplace - 99designsNiche Marketplace - 99designs

General Freelance Platforms 

If your project concept implies various areas of knowledge, consider building a general freelance marketplace. It would unite a wide range of different specialists, like Freelancer.

General Marketplace - FreelancerGeneral Marketplace - Freelancer

Freelance Marketplaces for Long-term Projects

Some of the marketplaces, like Upwork, specialize in long-term projects with high budgets and some not. The size of your customers’ projects will highly depend on the niche your marketplace is going to operate in.

Marketplaces for Long-term Projects - UpworkMarketplaces for Long-term Projects - Upwork

Freelance Marketplaces for Short-term Projects

Some of the platforms, like Fiverr, offer help with single jobs. Plus, they are focused on affordable prices for the clients.

Marketplaces for Short-term Projects - FiverrMarketplaces for Short-term Projects - Fiverr

Features of a Freelance Marketplace Business Like Fiverr

In order to build a marketplace business like Fiverr, you need to know about the specificities of freelance business. In addition, you need to learn about the must-have features for this kind of platform. Naturally, the market freelance platforms have much more than those 6 features. The others are additional or unique features that are used to differentiate from the market competitors.

Features of a Freelance Marketplace Like FiverrFeatures of a Freelance Marketplace Like Fiverr

1. Registration

If you are planning to build a freelance website then registration is essential. Both for buyers and sellers. However, be aware that you shouldn’t push buyers to register as soon as they enter the platform. Instead, offer them to register twice during their user journey. Firstly – before viewing service Secondly – before paying. In the case of registering, first shouldn’t be mandatory. Whereas the second attempt, namely when a platform asks to register or login before paying is obligatory.

Another thing to keep in mind: don’t make a registration process hard. Usually, a freelance marketplace asks to register either with Google or Facebook. In rare cases, it gives the ability to register with another email address.

Fiverr - RegistrationFiverr - Registration

2. User Profile

User profiles are mainly used by suppliers of services. For building a website like Fiverr you should create a user profile. It will contain a photo of a supplier and general information. Furthermore, include short descriptions and languages that a user knows and skills that they possess.

Furthermore, a user profile should show a user’s active services, feedback, and reviews. A user can be both a service provider and a customer. Therefore, a user profile can contain a user’s reviews equally as a service provider and a customer.

Fiverr - User ProfileFiverr - User Profile

3. Search System

Search is one of the main features one any kind of marketplace. It is definitely one of the first features to develop when you create a website like Fiverr. 

Usually, a user can search for a service by entering a keyword. Sometimes freelance marketplaces help users to search by featuring the most popular requests under a search bar. 

Besides, the main page plays an important role in discovering the categories and services of the platform. For instance, while scrolling the main page on Fiverr, an upper bar appears. It shows the main categories and subcategories, like graphics & design, digital marketing, writing & translation, music & audio and so on. 

While creating a freelance website, don’t forget to build filtering and sorting. For example, on Fiverr a user can filter:

  • service options
  • budget
  • delivery time
  • seller details 

Moreover, a Fiverr user has the ability to sort by:

  • Best selling
  • Newest Arrivals
  • Recommended

For users who use Fiverr for the first time, the platform has thought of putting “How Fiverr works” right above filters. It shows how many services are available for a particular keyword. 

Fiverr - Search SystemFiverr - Search System

4. Payment System

Fiverr uses PayPal as a payment system. However, there are other marketplace payment options that are suitable for freelance platforms. Basically, a freelance marketplace can offer numerous ways of paying. For example, with a credit or debit card, local payment cards, and other options.

Besides, charging a certain amount for the service itself Fiverr charges a service fee. Charging a service fee is one of the 4 ways to monetize your marketplace. A service fee varies depending on the type of marketplace.

Fiverr - Payment SystemFiverr - Payment System

5. Communication

There may be a few ways for customers to communicate with the service provider in order to clarify some details of the service. You can give the ability to get in touch with a service provider on a service page. Another way of communication is going straight to a seller’s profile and hitting the button “Contact Seller”.

Fiverr - Communication SystemFiverr - Communication System

6. Review & Feedback System

Reviews and feedback are extremely important to implement when you are building a freelance marketplace. The reason for it is that they provide a real source of information for users. After the seller finishes the task, a buyer has to be able to rate the seller and give public feedback. Only registered users should be allowed to leave feedback.

Fiverr - Review & Feedback SystemFiverr - Review & Feedback System

How to Build a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

The biggest freelance sites like Upwork, Behance, Freelancer and Fiverr are known and trusted by freelancers and clients all over the world. These marketplaces act as a mediator between employers and employees. They help them to build business relationships with each other. Every day these platforms help millions of their users to find a suitable job for freelancers, giving huge profits to their owners.

Since the freelance marketplaces have proven themselves to be a convenient solution for their users and a profitable enterprise for their owners, we can expect numerous entrepreneurs to enter this business.

In order to build a successful business, it is not sufficient just to create a freelance website like Fiverr or Upwork. You should create a business plan and a strategy for promoting your project. 

If you want to create a marketplace like Upwork, here is a step-by-step guide to creating:

  1. Plan your business strategy
  2. Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  3. Choose the most suitable software solution

Recommended: How Much Does It Cost to Make a Website Like Upwork

Plan Your Business Strategy

If you decide to build a freelance marketplace, you should realize that you are entering a field with strong competition. You should know why customers would choose a new platform instead of trusted and reputable giants. 

Before starting work on freelance platform development or even a business plan, answer the most important question: what will make your site different from the others?

If your site has a unique feature that will differentiate and solve users’ problems, your platform is likely to find its niche in the market and gain loyalty.

Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

To find out whether your target audience is ready to use your product, you firstly can develop a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP of your freelance platform will possess only the basic functions. It will be sufficient to estimate the idea and decide if it is worth being used and bought for its usage. 

Choose the Most Suitable Software Solution 

Having considered all the strategic points, it’s time to decide what software solution to use in building a marketplace MVP for your freelance platform.

Basically, there are 2 ways to build a freelance platform:

  • Custom development
  • Ready-made solutions

In order to understand what type of development suits you, you should know in what cases you should choose custom development and in what ready-made solutions.

Cases to choose custom development when building a freelance marketplaceCases to choose custom development when building a freelance marketplace
Cases to choose ready-made solutions when building a freelance marketplaceCases to choose ready-made solutions when building a freelance marketplace

If you want to plan to build a website like Fiverr that is able to scale and upgrade, then custom development from scratch is your best option. However, if you have a very tight budget and not even sure if your platform will take off, it’s better to go with a safer option, by using out-of-the-box solutions.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Build an Online Marketplace

Pros and Cons of Building a Freelance Marketplace like Fiverr from Scratch

Creating a freelance website from scratch is certainly a big task. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. Like any other type of development, deciding to build a freelance marketplace from scratch has definitely its own advantages and disadvantages. However, by choosing custom development from scratch you will get:

  • A professional and fast site with a convenient interface and high speed of work
  • Ability to implement all your ideas, needs or requirements
  • The site will be capable of handling more queries at the time. However, in case it requires modification, it will be easier to expand its capability. Because you will have to modernize the existing resource, not move your site to a different one
Pros and Cons of Building a Freelancer Marketplace like Fiverr from ScratchPros and Cons of Building a Freelancer Marketplace like Fiverr from Scratch

Pros of Building a Freelance Marketplace from Scratch

Personalization

With custom development, you will be able to make a website like Fiverr as you wish it to be. Developers will be able to implement any feature you would like to see on your marketplace. 

Compatibility

If you want to build a freelance marketplace then you should know that it requires a lot of integrations. Search, payment, security and other features – they all need to work perfectly with the software. By developing custom software, not only you’ll be able to integrate all sorts of things, but you’ll also be able to make it mobile-friendly. It is one of the most important things for indexing your website in Google.

Scalability

With time your marketplace will grow. The number of listings, users on a platform and requests to a server will increase. If you don’t have a software that is able to cope with high loads, it’ll crash. One by one user will abandon your platform. Thus, choosing a custom development from scratch wouldn’t be so much of a risk in the long-run.

Security

Having power over what’s going on with your marketplace is important. But it is twice as important when it comes to security. Preventing fraudulence or malicious activity is the most effective when you create a platform from scratch. 

Cons of Building a Freelance Marketplace from Scratch

Time

Even if you start building your freelance marketplace with an MVP, it’ll still take around three months to launch. The good thing is you’ll be able to build a solid ground on which you will base every further development.

Cost

Creating a freelance marketplace from scratch will require bigger investments. But as we all know: all success will come at a price. The only question is how fast can we get the money. 

Our advice: firstly, build a freelance marketplace MVP, get traction and then pitch your marketplace startup idea to investors.

Our Experience with Freelance Website Development 

Sloboda Studio has been on the market for 10 years now. Over the last 7 years, our core expertise has been developing online service marketplaces. We’ve created marketplaces in different industries:

  • home services
  • human resources
  • media
  • PR
  • transportation

One of these marketplaces was SalesFolk, a managed freelance marketplace for copywriters.

SalesFolk

SalesFolk is an American managed freelance marketplace for copywriters.

SalesFolk - a freelance marketplace for copywritersSalesFolk - a freelance marketplace for copywriters

The platform is designed to connect the copywriters and the companies by helping them to find the most relevant freelancer in order to give them a task. 

The core features that we developed for this freelance marketplace are: 

  • 4 different user roles like (admin, client, writer, and editor)
  • System for matching clients with writers
  • proofreading feature which is valuable for the copywriting freelance.

Read more on: How Sloboda built a freelance marketplace SalesFolk

Tikk Talk 

Another freelance marketplace that we’ve built is TikkTalk. It is a Norwegian B2G (Business to Government) marketplace that connects interpreters with customers. The interpretation is done via a video call.

TikkTalk- a freelance marketplace for interpretersTikkTalk- a freelance marketplace for interpreters

Sloboda Studio has built TikkTalk from scratch. Initially, our team started with launching a marketplace MVP. After that, we gradually built it into a fully-featured platform.

TalkTalk has raised more than $1M in two rounds of seed investments. Currently, TikkTalk connects users from 72 countries and supports 67 languages.

Read more on: How Sloboda developed a freelance marketplace TikkTalk

In conclusion, the freelance market is expanding gradually. This kind of work is becoming an everyday phenomenon. 

Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer are just a few powerful examples of freelance marketplaces that became pioneers in the freelance industry. Needless to say, many different types of freelance marketplaces have appeared. 

If you are interested in building a freelance website, structure your development process. Come up with a type of your future platform, determine the necessary features and choose the best method to develop Your freelance platforms.

The truth is, all projects are different and you can’t just copy someone’s successful approach.

We’ve been developing marketplaces for over 7 years. We would gladly help you with Your marketplace idea. 

Posted by Contributor