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.
People Per Hour Review: The Basics
PeoplePerHour (PPH) is an online freelance marketplace. It is free to join and offers three distinct services:
- Buyers (clients) can post jobs on the site.
- Sellers (freelancers) can bid for those jobs.
- 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:
- Development & IT
- Marketing & SEO
- Social Media
- Translation & Tutorials
- Video, Photo & Audio
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:
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.
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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Sellers receive 15 free job bids per month, and can purchase blocks of additional bids at a reasonable rate.
- 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.
- 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 Review: The Bad Bits
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Top Tips for Working on PeoplePerHour
- 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?”
- Sell buyers the benefits of hiring you by referring to previous relevant jobs, your feedback and your portfolio.
- As you can attach files with your bid, consider sending over a CV as well as any samples of previous work.
- 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.
- Contact previous People Per Hour clients via the workstream if you are looking for extra business.
- Choose your Profile Skills carefully and change them as required.
- 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.
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.
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
- Earning Potential