Freelancer.com, a site for outsourcing projects, allows businesses to post contests to get freelancers to compete for design projects. And now, it’s no longer limiting contests just to design projects — you can post a contest for programmers, writers, mobile app developers, and more.
On the Freelancer.com contest page you can now create contests for categories like “websites IT and software,” “mobile,” “writing,” “data entry,” “product sourcing and manufacturing,” “sales and marketing,” and “business, accounting and legal.”
This means that if you need a piece of software code written or some articles written, you can establish a contest and see which freelancer does the best job.
To set up a contest, you fill out an online form and set a “prize” for the end project. Prizes for design contests can start as low as $30 and average around $500.
For example, small business owner Justin Lang, of Caringbah, Sydney, created a contest using Freelancer.com that allowed him to select from over 900 designs.
“Not only was the contest useful for getting a great logo but I was able to make contact and sort through hundreds of freelancers for projects that I will do in the future,” Lang was quoted as saying in a prepared company release.
Of course, those who compete in the contests are often small business people, too. They are generally freelancers attempting to win jobs, clients and perhaps long-term business relationships with the sponsors.
Best Practices for Freelance Contests
Contests like the ones hosted by Freelancer.com and competing sites are controversial. Graphic designers and other freelancers whose businesses are dependent upon getting paid for completed work, sometimes view contests as doing work on spec.
A post from Creative Bloq looks at the concern that some contests are nothing more than spec work. Freelancers can spend a lot of time on spec work, but unless they win the contest, they’ve spent their time on non-income producing work. Since most freelancers are one-man operations, that limits the time left for paid work.
Another post at Freelance Switch explores which of these contests represent a legitimate opportunity to showcase abilities versus spec work. To avoid doing spec work, Thursday Bram writes that contests should involve a pitch and perhaps a portion of sample work, along with the promise of pay for any future stages of the project.
For small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to find a freelancer through a contest, keep in mind what’s reasonable to expect from the freelancer. For large projects, such as writing every page of your entire website’s copy, you may want to structure your contest to ask for a sample of 2 or 3 pages. Attach a small prize to the sample. Then you and the prize winner can outline a follow-on project for writing the rest of the pages.
Contests have become popular for straight-forward design projects. It remains to be seen how well the contest model works for larger or multi-phase types of projects.