Unpacking the top freelancer websites for hiring flexible talent

  • Tips for Hiring
Contra Tips
· 10 min read

With the rise of remote work and skills-based hiring, freelance work is becoming a driving force in the labor market. Employers who are tapping into the power of freelance work are coming out ahead.

Why hire freelancers?

The flexibility and on-demand nature of freelancers helps companies scale up and scale down as project or business needs demand. Freelancers also extend the impact of full time teams, preventing burnout and opening the door for new projects.

Hiring freelancers allows you to:

  • Gain access to a global market of freelancers.
  • Lower hiring cost & save time hiring with the unique features of freelance websites.
  • Scale your hiring process with these freelance websites to meet the needs of the company.
  • Source highly skilled freelancers with specific skills to fit the needs of your job.

How to hire freelancers

Hiring freelancers requires a different approach from hiring full time employees. Traditional job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed aren't designed to address the unique requirements of finding, hiring, and paying freelancers and independent contractors. So where can companies looking to adopt a flexible talent strategy go to find top freelancers?

Dedicated freelance websites give you the power to post jobs or gigs specifically highlighting the skills you need on a project or intermittent basis, unlike traditional sites for traditional job postings. Most freelance websites also offer search features allowing you to directly identify experts you'd like to work with.

Top freelance websites to hire freelancers

Once you've made the decision to look for freelance workers, which freelance websites should you use? We've got the roundup for you, and we're going to explore top freelance websites, detailing the pros and cons, so you'll know the  best freelance websites to use for your company needs.

In this article we'll cover some of the most popular freelance websites, including

  • Contra
  • Behance
  • 99Designs
  • Upwork
  • Flexjobs
  • Codeable
  • PeoplePerHour

Let's break each of these best freelance websites down so you can get a better idea of how to use them for successful recruitment of freelancers.


Contra is a fantastic platform both for posting open positions as well as recruiting talent. It's simple to sign up for a hiring account and start posting jobs - whether you're looking for web development, graphic design, logo design, web design, or any other skillset, Contra lets you post and review applications natively on platform. Contra is also unique in that it offers the ability to not just source talent, but also directly manage freelancers and projects. You can also build and grow a network of freelancers you've worked with in the past (whether they're on Contra or not) and freelancers you want to work with in the future. And Contra includes integrated invoicing, automated tax forms, and compliant contracts for companies hiring freelancers in other countries.


  • All-in-one platform designed for companies to seamlessly integrate freelance hiring and management into company operations and team workflows. Allows for easy job posting, freelancer discovery, team collaboration, and contracts and payments all in one place.
  • It's easy to post jobs and review applications directly in the platform. Unlike traditional hiring and job posting platforms, Contra allows you to hire and manage communication directly through their platform. This helps keep everything in once place, makes it easy to communicate with multiple hired freelancers, and keep track of work submitted and overall project management.
  • Navigate the hiring process with built-in contracts for a seamless transition from sourcing freelancers to hiring freelancers. If your company has never hired freelancers before, Contra has built-in contracts that allow both you and the freelancer to agree on terms, scope of work, etc. and sign through the platform. For companies hiring freelancers in another country, Contra offers locally compliant contracts written specifically to comply with the laws of that country.


  • Contra does not allow for bidding on projects, so you won't be able to drive prices down by going with the lowest bidder. Transparency is foundational to the platform, and Contra is very involved in vetting opportunities and freelancers. If you're looking for a quick transaction at the lowest price possible, Contra may not be the platform for you.
  • If you're looking to hire for full time roles, you're better off looking to traditional hiring sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. Contra is specifically designed for hiring flexible freelance or contract roles.

How many freelancers use the platform?

  • 600,000+ freelancers use Contra to run their freelance careers. 20K+ companies trust Contra for their freelance hiring needs.


99Designs is exclusively focused on creative freelancing roles. If you use 99Designs for sourcing and hiring freelancers, you'll find freelancers with creative-oriented portfolios such as logo design, graphic design, and web design.


  • 99Designs has an in-depth search feature that allows you to select the type of work you are looking for. The platform then further breaks your search down to be specific to your industry. This is helpful if you choose to source a freelancer for a very specific project in place of a job posting.
  • Hire the freelancer with the right certification. You can also filter by certification or specific verified freelancer skills. This type of specific search also helps narrow down the freelancer source pool to those that fit what you're looking for.


  • As its name implies, the 99Designs freelance website features exclusively freelance design talent. If you're looking to fill a job post for another specialized skill, 99Designs likely won't have what you're looking for.

How many freelancers use the platform?

  • 10,000+ designers use 99Designs to showcase their design work and apply to freelance job postings.


The freelancing website Behance is similar to 99Designs in that its focus is connecting freelance designers to job posts from companies looking for creative support. Behance showcases freelance creative talent via freelancers' visual portfolios that allow you to see their work first hand. Behance is  well known and commonly used by creatives looking for freelance jobs.


  • Sourcing designers for creative gigs and evaluating their talent with carefully crafted portfolios.
  • Behance is one of the few freelancer websites that supports hiring for full time positions in addition to freelance jobs, with filters to help you narrow down your search.
  • Large pool of creative freelancers with skills like culinary arts, CGI, food photography and food styling.


  • While Behance is great a great freelance website for creative freelance jobs, it's not an ideal choice for non-visual creatives (like writers). If you're looking to hire freelance writers, you'd be better served by a different platform.

How many freelancers use the platform?

  • 12 million + freelancers are currently using Behance to showcase their portfolios.


Upwork is a broader, more generalized freelancer website, compared to Behance and 99Designs. Talent on upwork includes a wider span or skills such as copywriting, instead of specializing in vidual design freelancing.


  • Upwork features a higher volume of non-visual creative freelancers available to respond to job posts compared with more visual design oriented platforms.
  • You can join as a client and post jobs on Upwork and review the submitted applications natively in platform.
  • Upwork is one of the largest freelancer websites available, offering access to a freelance network across the globe.


  • While it's possible to post jobs and review applicants on Upwork, deeper functionality like project management, networking, and tax automation aren't available like they are in other platforms like Contra.
  • Upwork has a reputation for being spammy at times. You may encounter people claiming to be freelance professionals that don't have the skillset to complete the work you're looking for, so be diligent about reviewing skills and past work.
  • Freelancers aren't vetted directly by Upwork, which results in quality issues for some companies.

How Many Freelancers Use The Platform?

18M freelancers  use Upwork to find remote work and freelance gigs.


FlexJobs is less focused on creative freelance talent and caters to filling hybrid and remote jobs where help is needed on an ongoing basis.


  • FlexJobs is good for filling remote and hybrid freelance jobs on a more consistent basis. On the spectrum of completely freelance gig-seekers to full-time office work, the professionals on FlexJobs fall somewhere in between. They are open to more permanent positions or jobs that have a more hybrid schedule.
  • In addition to supporting freelance job posts, FlexJobs offers consulting on a variety of business topics like team training, managing remote/hybrid teams, and more.


  • When comparing FlexJobs to the other platforms we've covered, it's not ideal for highly-specific skillsets. It's best for general skillsets like graphic design and copywriting.


Codeable offers access to a set of very specific freelancers who are experts at WordPress. It's the only of these best freelance websites that's specifically dedicated to Wordpress developers. You won't find graphic designers, copywriters, or other skillsets on Codeable.


  • If you're looking for a bigger pool of freelance WordPress experts, Codeable could be a good resource.


  • If you're looking for any freelancers aside from WordPress experts, Codeable isn't the best freelancer website for you.


PeoplePerHour is a freelance platform that focuses on remote jobs that tend to be more one-off projects rather than long-term or ongoing projects. While Codeable is highly specific to one type of freelance professional, PeoplePerHour is not specific to specific freelancer skills, but instead to the type of gig or project. You can create job listings using a description, including any visuals you want to add, and freelancers can reach out to you via applying for your posted job. You can also search freelancers without posting a job.


  • PeoplePerHour is good for one-off projects and short-term gigs rather than longer projects. The freelance site still allows you to search and narrow down your list of qualified freelancers, but the professionals who are looking through the job board are going to be looking for gigs and freelance work that is short-term.


  • It's not ideal, nor widely used for, freelancers who are highly skilled experts in a certain category.

That's a wrap

While there are a number of platforms in the best freelance website category, if you're looking for an all-in-one solution that allows you to source, hire, manage, and compliantly pay expert flexible talent, Contra should be your go-to.

With a powerful discover tool and expert networks in platforms like Framer, Spline, BuildShip, and more, it's easy to find a vetted freelancer for short or long-term projects.

Unlike the other freelancer websites on this list, Contra isn't just a job board or talent search engine. Once you've hired your freelancers, you'll be able to manage their contact info, rates, projects, and payment statuses all in one place, and you'll be able to share that info across your team via a company workspace within the platform. You'll also mitigate the risk and headache of tax forms and independent contractor compliance with locally compliant contracts and tax automation.

Get started with Contra for Companies to scale your business with a flexible team.

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