People Per Hour Review: A Freelancer’s Perspective

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In this People Per Hour review, Derek Thompson, a freelance writer with over five years experience on the platform, shares his views and experiences. PeoplePerHour sits alongside UpWork as one of the most popular global freelance job boards, and is one of the first ports of call for many aspiring home workers.

If you want to see a list of ten different freelance job boards, you’ll find one here.

People Per Hour Review: The Basics

PeoplePerHour (PPH) is an online freelance marketplace. It is free to join and offers three distinct services:

  1. Buyers (clients) can post jobs on the site.
  2. Sellers (freelancers) can bid for those jobs.
  3. Sellers (freelancers) can also post ‘hourlies’, which are defined services for a fixed fee set by the seller. Think of them like Fiverr gigs, only with higher payments.

Buyers can also look through profiles, portfolios and feedback on the site, and then invite individual Sellers to bid. They can also post a job that’s specific to one seller.

Sellers can search a wide range of different job categories, or post an “hourlie” under one of the categories. These break down into the following:

  • Admin
  • Design
  • Development & IT
  • Marketing & SEO
  • Social Media
  • Translation & Tutorials
  • Video, Photo & Audio
  • Writing

PeoplePerHour Job Roles

As one would expect, site users are encouraged to complete a PeoplePerHour profile, comprising a headshot, job title, freeform ‘about me’ section, and a selection of keyword-based profile skills. PPH will also suggest keywords based upon your previous site activity. You can optionally add an hourly rate.

My own skills section is shown below:

PPH Skills Section

Once a buyer has responded to a bid on a job (even if they haven’t said “yes’ yet), PPH allows the two parties to talk through their workstream. Every time someone responds to a bid – whether that’s a message, a decline or an acceptance, you receive an email alert.

Everybody loves graphs and metric and People Per Hour offers plenty. Sellers can see their PPH ranking, number of profile views and billing per month at the click of a mouse. Below is a recent screenshot of my own. The ranking, known as a “Cert level,” is dynamic and changes in real time, driven by your completed jobs and everybody else’s.

In this respect it echoes the book rankings on Amazon. To boost your ranking you can also invite external clients on to PeoplePerHour, add some “hourlies,” share your profile online (e.g. via a blog app), or request endorsements from non-PPH clients.

PPH seller dashboard

While People Per Hour caters for an international market, currencies are limited to three – GBP, USD and EUR. Payments for completed jobs can be made to a UK bank account or a variety of other options. I’ve only used a bank or Paypal, and in each case the transfer is complete within three days.

People Per Hour: The Good Bits

  1. When a job is completed, both buyers and sellers can add a rating (up to five stars) and leave comments. Used intelligently, this not only showcases your customer satisfaction but also enables you to use keywords in the feedback that future clients might be looking for.
  1. You can add examples of your work – both PPH and non-PPH – to your portfolio, either by uploading files or by embedding links (but only from a limited number of sites, such as YouTube).
  1. If you’ve ever had to chase payments in the past, or lost them entirely due to the “disappearing client act” (Craigslist, I’m looking at you), you’ll be pleased to hear that PPH requires a buyer deposit into an Escrow account when they award a job. Your money is therefore secure and waiting for you when the job is signed off.
  1. Sellers receive 15 free job bids per month, and can purchase blocks of additional bids at a reasonable rate.
  1. You can ask a question about a job to clarify the brief before you bid. However, the buyer is not obliged to respond. You can also see other people’s questions and any responses. This can help you filter out jobs that are undefined, unrealistic or just plain exploitative.
  1. My final thumbs-up goes to the facility to ask non PeoplePerHour clients to add testimonials on the platform. This is a great way to enhance your standing on the site through your external customer feedback. This is extremely useful for those just starting out on the site, but who have an established client base elsewhere.

People Per Hour Feedback

People Per Hour Review: The Bad Bits

  1. The biggest cause of upset and dissent on PeoplePerHour is the handling fee. Currently, old-school sellers like me are subject to a hefty 20% commission on the first £175 received in any month, and then 3.5% thereafter. For new users to the site, the model is changing to 20% on the first £500, and then 5% thereafter.

IMPORTANT EDITOR’S NOTE: PeoplePerHour’s fees were revised on 1st July 2018, whereas this article was originally published in April 2017. PeoplePerHour has an article on the new fees here.

We think it’s fair to say that the fees could be less complicated and more transparent.

It appears that the three fee rates are now as follows, when dealing with a new client:

  • Up to £500 – 20%
  • From £501 to £4500 – 7.5%
  • Over £4500 – 3.5%

These fees, whilst sadly quite standard for job boards like this, are quite considerable.

  1. It gets worse. If you’re paid in dollars and you’re a UK freelancer, you either pay a standard exchange charge to move the funds into your UK bank account, or a small commission to pay funds into another form of account. While PayPal does not levy a charge on said payment, PayPal’s own exchange rate from $US to £GBP further diminishes the final figure. It’s the buyer who sets the currency in the job ad.
  1. It’s a global, free market economy. That means some buyers have never heard of the words “Legal Minimum Wage!” Given the differing economies around the world, it’s no surprise that many buyers are unwilling or unable to renegotiate the rate. In practice, this can mean a glut of low-paying jobs (although you can ‘flag’ any jobs you feel breach the rules, and the support team will then look at them).
  1. Although there is a dispute procedure I have yet to find a seller who has benefited from it. Some disclosure here: If memory serves me right, I’ve been involved in two disputes. In each case, the central issues were the scope of the job and not having the same expectations for how a job would be subdivided and paid for. For sellers, disputes can impact on your feedback and reputation.

PeoplePerHour Dispute

Top Tips for Working on PeoplePerHour

  1. Use your 15 bids wisely, but be prepared to think outside the box. I have contacted some buyers and said, “I can’t do A but have you thought about B?”
  1. Sell buyers the benefits of hiring you by referring to previous relevant jobs, your feedback and your portfolio.
  1. As you can attach files with your bid, consider sending over a CV as well as any samples of previous work.
  1. In order to protect yourself from possible plagiarism (I’ve never heard of it on PPH but better safe than sorry), convert Word docs to a JPEG. PDFs can still be copied and pasted.
  1. Contact previous People Per Hour clients via the workstream if you are looking for extra business.
  1. Choose your Profile Skills carefully and change them as required.
  1. Factor PeoplePerHour’s charges into your bid. Often, Buyers assume your bill is your net payment. It’s not unreasonable to tell them the truth.

You can also check our tips for freelance job boards article here, which provides lots more useful information.

PeoplePerHour: The Final Verdict

After five years, it’s clear that PeoplePerHour and I will stay together –  although it’s not an exclusive relationship!

Despite the 20% commission that sellers have to bear, my greater issue is all the low paying jobs on the site that could be filtered at the front end. I think PPH should aim higher in its clientele in order to justify the fee.

PPH isn’t perfect, but it does have a lot going for it and I’ve earned more there than on any other freelance platform. The site is easy to understand and navigate, and once you’re set up with your defaults in place, a job search takes a matter of seconds.

You’ll find my PeoplePerHour profile here.

For an interesting alternative to PeoplePerHour, take a look at Hubstaff Talent.

For some valuable tips for landing jobs on these platforms, read this!

Do you have anything you’d like to add to this People Per Hour Review based on your own experiences of the platform? If so, please let us know in the comments.

83% A Dependable Choice for Freelancers

PeoplePerHour shares the usual downsides of other big freelancing sites, including high fees and a few too many clients who don't want to pay much, but there's plenty of good work there for the taking. Recommended.

  • Ease of use 80 %
  • Accessibility 80 %
  • Earning Potential 90 %
  • User Ratings (10 Votes) 68 %

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About Author

Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson is a freelance writer, columnist and author, who dabbles in comedy writing. Derek's Spy Chaser series is published by Joffe Books and available on Amazon.

28 Comments

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    • Avatar
      Derek Thompson on

      Hi EXPPH, I have had some Client (Buyer) problems myself so I empathise with you. In a global marketplace there can be genuine misunderstandings with language and expectations. There are also – and so far I’ve not encountered such people on PPH – deliberate scammers who want the job for nothing. The most profitable approach, ultimately, is o prospect your own Clients directly. Until then, having a good spread of income streams / freelance sites is probably the best way forward.

  8. Avatar

    I left the site as I was fed up with all of the bogus jobs and scam opportunities. Personally I found it not be a very reputable platform. I ‘ve found networking the best way to get contracts, all longer term, no extortionate fees and great relationships.

    • Avatar

      Networking is definitely a better path for some people – see article here, but then the job boards are – in essence – a place to network. Sadly all of them could and should do better at catching scams.

      • Avatar

        I agree, Ben. I think the focus for many of these sites has moved away from customer service and support to one purely about revenue generation – for them! While my best client relationships have been created through personal contact and pitching, I remain convinced that a high-end site with reasonable fees (15% max) would get plenty of business from working professionals.

        • Avatar

          Hi Derek 🙂

          Indeed, such a platform is one of those things that often makes me think “I should build that!” But sadly I’ve seen a great many alternative platforms come and go. The usual problem is getting them to gain any momentum because nobody ever goes back to a site that they only see a handful of jobs on. The costs and work levels involved in setting up and marketing anything that could compete with the existing large platforms are astronomical, I suspect 🙁

  9. Avatar

    I’ve been a member of People Per Hour for around 5 years. In my opinion, the fees have increased due to the cost of the jobs coming down. It’s obvious, that PPH have been affected by the cost of the jobs decrease. With the influx of overseas members. Mostly from India in the cases I’ve seen. The cost they charge has dropped significantly. PPH’s answer to this has been to increase the commission they charge. Which still gives them a healthy mark up.

    My area is software development. A skilled area, has seen jobs that would take me a minimum of 4 days going for $250.
    A very low price in it’s self. When you take off the 20% commission, and the taxes I will pay, I’m left with nothing.
    It’s clear from the people submitting proposals, that I’m not the only UK based developer thinking like this. When I started out, my competitors were mainly people based in the UK. Over the last 18 months, the change over has been incredible. With most tenders for jobs in the software development area being from India.

    I’ve gone from winning 2 to 3 jobs a month, to getting a couple of jobs a year. If I’m lucky. The pricing would always be difficult to keep sensible, but the commission charged has definitely pushed the UK developers away from PPH.

    • Avatar

      Thanks Phil – an interesting insight. I guess with PPH being UK / Sterling based, it maybe took longer for the site to be discovered by people from further afield. As discussed in this article there’s no escaping the global nature of online freelancing, but I guess in software development it’s harder to produce compelling reasons to use western contractors than it is in fields like writing and transcription.

      • Avatar

        It’s a difficult one Ben. I don’t know how good the work is they are producing. It must be up to a standard the customer is happy with.
        People Per Hour was a useful tool when I was trying to establish myself. I wouldn’t like to be trying to take my first steps into freelancing with the way PPH is set up now.
        With the commission so high, and the cost of the jobs so low, I can see why so many Software Developers aren’t bothering with the site anymore.

    • Avatar

      Yeah I left PPH due to this, I know some freelancers from Asia who have accepted jobs for a 5-8 page web design for only £50. That’s incredible really, so if you are UK based you would have to work for let’s say 2 or 3 days for £40 so it’s not viable.

      So for me People Per Hour is not a good place for Western European or US based freelancers!

  10. Avatar

    PPH is not a total scam but it is close. The escrow account and dispute support is a joke. They state they have an escrow account to protect both seller and buyer but they have no power over it. Many of their buyers are of poor character and attempt to bait and switch. The ask for one product and then change because they dont like their own initial design or they try to get you upload a complete product, then steal the product and try not to pay. When you dispute support answers we are here to help you but there is nothing we can do. They have no power to insure you get paid. You also have industry companies that dont want to pay their staff what it would cost to do the work because of how much it would cost. The state they want something “simple” and it turns into a large project that should cost them several times more than what they are paying. Example a guy wanted a CGI person that “knows” After Effects. He says you have to agree to do a test project to show your skills. Then provides you with content that cant be done in After Effects because they have nothing trackable in the scene so you have edit frame by frame in photoshop. This does nothing to test my After Effects skills. Says he has 12 pieces of work just like this but wants to only pay $1,000. Mostly though PPH does nothing for their fees except provide a pretty dashboard.

  11. Avatar

    Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. I’ve been hosed once or twice myself. I’ve been asked to do, ahem, ‘tests’ but always refuse and instead direct them to my PPH portfolio.

    • Avatar

      Hi Dipak, glad it was useful for you. The best way to find long-term, well-paying work is to research relevant clients and pitch to them.

  12. Avatar

    I have also used pph for many years. I must admit I love the platform I have had very few bad experiences and although the fees are steep and sone jobs are low paid i have found no end of repeat work from the site and plenty of people who then go on to recommend me to others outside of pph so i get work without the fees. I dont actually use pph as my main income these days, but at least 80% of my other work one way or the other was gained or benefited from my pph profile, most often these days i have my set clients but i always pop in to pph every few weeks to have a quick nosey around and in doing so always pick up a couple of new clients on small jobs. I love the variety the simple quick jobs and the refreshing change that comes with pph and when i am feeling a bit uninspired by my regular workload pph is always a welcome distraction. I would still recommend it to uk freelancers as a way to work from home even if it doesnt turn you into a high earner instantly

    • Avatar

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for sharing this comment 🙂 I think it’s a really important one. People have two choices, they can moan about fees and scams or they can get their heads down, apply for jobs and start making money. Both my wife and I have clients who originated on the job boards who we’ve worked with for literally years. You never know where the next great client will come from and there’s always a chance it could be from PPH or Upwork.

      • Avatar

        I agree with you, Ben and Sarah. I’s always advisable to have several income streams and to diversify. Sometimes a client can be the gateway to other, better long-term business.

  13. Avatar

    I have one single experience of PPH and it proved to be enough:

    I put up a translation to be made, and an Egyptian “academic researcher” offered to translate it. I asked him to provide me a sample from a part of the text, which he did, and immediately I saw how this translation has nothing to do with the actual text; it was a pure Google translator guess; something terrible considering the context.

    I told the Egyptian that his translation is nothing that I could accept, after which this person started to insult me and send me his threats.

    I informed PPH about his behaviour, and until now, after 3 months, the PPH team has reacted NOTHING to this. The “academic researcher” continues to send his instults though; almost daily…

    I was lucky enough to notice the “quality” of PPH at a very early stage, and I have decided that in this life I will not have anything to do with this joker company.

    • Avatar

      Not sure I’d personally condemn an entire freelancing platform due to one bad experience with one bad contractor, but you are – of course – free to do so.

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