- Well-structured profile system
- Easy search for opportunities
- Unlockable benefits
- Low service fee
- Weak customer support
- Pushy perk system
Guru.com is a popular freelance website that boasts over 1.5 million users. The site focuses on project-based freelance works, meaning that it is the clients who post the gig requests and the freelancers are the ones bidding on it. Guru.com sports several features that help both parties gain more spotlight, like an extensive perk system and profiles that can be customized by portfolios, testimonials or completing skill tests. Posting a job or searching for valuable workers is a piece of cake, but almost all features are designed for convenience as well. This easy-to-use attribute is especially true for the Workroom interface that serves as an on-site management app with built-in chat and progress tracking features. Although becoming a member on Guru.com is complementary – with subscription packages starting from $8.95 per month – the service has many bonuses up its sleeves for premium users.
Guru.com is a project website, aiming to keep a balanced relationship between clients and freelancers. Employers can post job requests under specific terms, and after reviewing the bids of freelancers choose the winning one. Users, on the other hand, apply to the aforementioned positions by crafting a special quote, which includes their payroll demands, the preferred payout type, and a brief rundown on their work method and availability.
There is a healthy selection of job categories on the site, ranging from writing, translation, legal, programming, art & design and marketing to accounting, admin duties, management and engineering. The site also has an extensive perk system, although most features can only be unlocked by upgrading your membership status.
Being a freelancer on Guru.com is quite the pleasant experience. After registration you are asked to describe the service you provide, so the system can take notes on your introduction, highlighting some keywords that can be used as skills later down the line. The profile page also has a section for testimonials and your very own portfolio: filling this one out is a must, since a well-fleshed out and attractive profile that includes a lengthy description and your previous works is the only way to be noticed by clients.
Your profile sports a five-star rating system as well, based on the feedback you received from your previous clients, but if you really wish to make a good first expression we recommend completing some skill tests. Guru.com imports skill tests from ExpertRating.com, and once completed, they appear on your profile, plus your employer receives a notification of any relevant skill when applying to an assignment.
Even though the system asks employers to create an account on their own, the process is completely free of charge. Furthermore, having a personalized client page opens up the possibilities of either creating a custom project or hiring a team of professionals based on their individual introduction and set of skills. Creating a custom project is easy as pie: you just have to include the key information regarding the project, but you can also add a list of skill tags to reach as many creatives as possible.
Guru.com utilizes safe payout networks to prevent you from releasing the payment before the assignment is finished. And let’s not forget about the site’s very own management interface, the Workroom, which comprises of all tools required to manage your freelancers, including built-in chat, sharing files, remote tracking of the workers’ time, and finalizing payouts.
Guru.com has a couple of clever features to make the relationship between employers and employees as smooth as possible. First of all, there is the aforementioned Workroom available for both parties: while other freelance sites offer the same technology in downloadable format, here you can access all communication, payment and management options without leaving the site.
Guru.com also has other, special perks: for example, freelancers can bid on a limited amount of job posts per year, but subscribing to a higher tier membership increases the initial 120-piece bid pool to 600. In normal cases any unused bids are lost when the year ends, but higher perks are capable of carrying them over. Aside from the above, perks can highlight your profile among the list of freelancers who applied to the same gig, and they can be used to purchase Premium Quotes and Sales Messages as well. Keep in mind, however, that sadly most of these perks are unavailable for free members.
Guru.com created a double layer pricing system. On the surface, the whole service is free to use, since both clients and freelancers are able to set up their profile gratis. However, there is the option to upgrade your account to unlock more perks and better options to make yourself stand out from the rest.
The Basic+ plan costs $11.95 on a month-by-month basis, but it is only $8.95 per month if billed annually. The Professional plan charges $15.95 per month on an annual basis, while the Business and Executive plans, which are recommended for freelancer teams or smaller businesses, start from $24.95 per month and $39.95 per month respectively. Although these two prices are not as cost-friendly, opting for a higher tier has the undeniable benefit of lowering the job fee and the price of a skill test – which normally cost $4.95 per occasion. However, there is no option to cancel a plan: your only way to return to the free tier is by letting your subscription expire.
There is much to be desired regarding Guru.com’s customer support. For starters, most of the dispute resolution is done through SafePay’s refund system, but if you wish to negotiate through Guru.com, the company charges at least $25 as arbitration fee. Second, the helpdesk can only be reached by submitting a support ticket – unless you have paid membership that entitles you to post questions or address issues directly to the staff. And, lastly, the site completely lacks a live chat feature. However, Guru.com tries to make up for its flaws by adding helpful posts to the blog section and sporting an informative FAQ containing most of the basic steps.
Even though the performance of Guru.com is mostly satisfying, we couldn’t help but notice some flaws as well. Despite how great Workroom as an asset is, it is only available through the site, since Guru.com lacks a downloadable app for desktops and smartphones. Not to mention that trying to get along with a free account is held back by the perk system, which favors paying members. And last, but not least, the customer support lacks proper live support – although most information can be reached through the FAQ or the forums.
However, Guru.com’s list of pros manages to outweigh its cons. The profile management and gig search are both highly automated, so users can easily adjust to customizing their portfolio and applying to jobs. There are other convenient features, such as the application form for the jobs or the fact that freelancers receive notifications each day. Employers will find it rewarding to work with Guru.com, since reviewing the bids for their project is quick. Furthermore, they can track their employee’s work progress through Workroom, as well as manage the payouts and keep contact via live chat. And if we take into consideration that the system works with surprisingly low service fees (with 8.95% being the highest value), Guru.com is proven to be a competent freelance service, especially if you are willing to subscribe.