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 six years’ experience on the platform, shares his views and professional experiences. This review of “PPH” was updated in August 2019 to include his latest observations.

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 beginning and aspiring home workers.

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Let’s begin.

PeoplePerHour Review: The Basics

What is PeoplePerHour?

People Per Hour is a freelance job board where clients post work requirements and freelancers find jobs.

Site users have the following options:

1. Buyers (clients) can post projects on the site, in 15 categories.
2. Sellers (freelancers) can bid for those projects.
3. Sellers (freelancers) can also post ‘offers’, which are defined services for a fixed fee set by the seller. Think of them like Fiverr gigs, only with higher payments.

PeoplePerHour Job Roles

Is PeoplePerHour a scam?

PeoplePerHour is NOT a scam. The site is well-established and was founded back in 2007

How does PeoplePerHour Work?

PeoplePerHour links companies or individuals with freelance work requirements (buyers) to suitable freelance contractors (sellers).

Sellers on PeoplePerHour set up a profile page with a headshot and background cover, create a free-form text description of their services, select up to 15 skills, and choose an hourly rate.

Freelancers can also add examples of previous work to a portfolio, and request / receive endorsements from both PPH non-PPH clients. The profile also displays their average user rating and number of reviews (which can be read individually on the same page).

In addition, sellers need to provide some banking / online payment details so that PPH can process funds and pay them when work is done.

Buyers get to look through profiles, portfolios and feedback when sellers bid on a project. They can also invite individual sellers to bid on a general project, or post a project that’s specific to one seller.

My own skills section is shown below (remember that you are limited to ten):

PPH Skills SectionOnce 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, via a “workstream.” Every time someone responds to a bid – whether that’s a message, a decline or an acceptance, the system creates an email alert.

Everybody loves graphs and metrics 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.

PPH seller dashboard
To some extent this echoes the way book rankings are generated on Amazon. To boost your ranking you can also invite external clients on to PeoplePerHour, add some ‘offers’’, share your profile online (e.g. via a blog app), or request endorsements from non-PPH clients.

Getting Paid

While People Per Hour caters for an international market, currencies are limited to just three – GBP, USD and EUR.

Payments for completed projects can be made to a UK bank account or via other options. I’ve only used a bank or PayPal, and in each case the transfer is complete within a few days.

PeoplePerHour: The Good Bits

1. When a project 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 your feedback that other buyers might be looking for.

2. 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).

3. If you’ve ever had to chase payments in the past, or lost them entirely due to the “disappearing client act,” you’ll be pleased to hear that PPH requires a buyer deposit into an Escrow account when they award a project. This means your money is securely held and waiting for you when the project is signed off.

4. Sellers receive 15 free project bids each month, and can purchase blocks of additional bids at a reasonable rate. (Unused bids do not roll over to the following month).

5. You can ask a public question about a project to clarify the brief before you bid, although buyers don’t have 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.

6. My final thumbs-up goes to the facility to ask non PeoplePerHour clients to add endorsements on the platform. This is a great way to enhance your standing on the site through your external client feedback. This is extremely useful for those who are just starting out on PPH, but have already completed freelance work elsewhere.

PPH Feedback

People Per Hour Review: The Bad Bits

1. The biggest cause of dissent on PeoplePerHour is the service fees paid by sellers:

What are PeoplePerHour’s Fees?

• First £500 earned with a specific buyer (client) : 20%
• £500 – £5,000 earned with a specific buyer : 7.5%
• Over £5,000 earned with a specific buyer : 3.5%

(Thresholds are based on fees excluding VAT).

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

IMPORTANT EDITOR’S NOTE: PeoplePerHour’s fees were revised on 1st July 2018 and other fees apply for certain situations such as dispute resolution. We recommend you familiarise yourself with PPH’s Terms & Conditions.

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

2. 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. Crucially, it’s the buyer who sets the currency in the job ad.

3. 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 are supposed to then look at them).

4. Although there is a dispute procedure (see Ts & Cs link above) 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 three 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 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?”

2. Sell buyers the benefits of hiring you by referring to previous relevant jobs, your feedback and your portfolio.

3. As you can attach files with your bid, consider sending over a CV as well as samples of previous, relevant work.

4. 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 JPEGs. PDFs can still be copied and pasted.

5. Try contacting your previous PeoplePerHour clients via the workstream if you are looking for extra business.

6. Choose your Profile Skills carefully and change them as required.

7. 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.

8. Write your profile from a buyer’s perspective. What would your ideal client be looking for – and why? If you can sell the benefits as well as the skills you are more likely to get better paid work.

9. Create a visual impact. One of my portfolio samples is a set of logos for some of the clients I’ve written for (on PPH and elsewhere). A picture really does tell a story.

10. Choose a headshot that works in your favour. If you prefer to work with SMEs and niche businesses like I do, a corporate image is not what you’re looking for.

11. The background cover doesn’t have to be bland. You can be creative with it and also use the image / design to carry key messages about your business.

12. Check out the competition! If you notice certain buyers seem to regularly win the types of projects that you bid on, check out their profile and see how they present themselves. Is there anything you can learn to improve your success rate?

13. Lastly, review your profile regularly. Your key skills and specialisms may change over time, and it’s good to refresh your portfolio samples periodically. Think of your PPH profile as a business card and shop window all rolled into one. Experiment with different approaches and if something isn’t working, change it.

14. Try to use PeoplePerHour as just one source of possible work. We have a huge article on other ways to find clients here. 

How to get clients

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

PeoplePerHour: The Final Verdict

After over six years, I’m sticking with PeoplePerHour, but it’s very much a second fiddle to my other freelance work.

I do think PPH should aim higher in its clientele in order to justify the significant fees. 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.

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