Freelancer: The King of Freelancing

With over 15 million users, Freelancer (www.freelancer.com) is one of the biggest, most robust freelancing sites out there.

It's easy to sign up as a freelancer or as an employer (and it's easy to switch from one to the other).

When you sign up as a freelancer, you can select twenty different skills, in many different categories. Once you pick your twenty, you can only bid on gigs in those twenty categories. You can change skills five times per month. If you have a paid Freelancer membership, you can have more skill categories.

One of the problems with the other freelance sites is that you have no idea if the person you're hiring is actually proficient with whatever it is you need them to do. To help, Freelancer has exams.

Freelancer charges a minimum of $5 to freelancers looking to become certified in different things. If you bill yourself as being proficient in C or Java or any other programming language, you can take several exams on Freelancer on those topics and show prospective employers that you were able to pass the exam on that topic. The better your score, the better your opportunity to land an assignment in that field. Taking exams is not mandatory, but it does help. If you are proficient in something and can link to it online, you can add it to your online resume and profile and link prospective employers to it.

Like Elance, freelancers are limited in how many projects they can bid on each month. Membership raises the free basic allotment of ten per month up to 50 for the $4.95 per month Basic Membership, 300 bids for the $49.95 per month Standard Membership and a whopping 1500 bids for the $199.95 Premium Membership level.

Each of these levels also allows you to increase how many skills you can advertise ranging from 20 for the Free, 50 for the Basic, 100 for the Standard, and 400 skills for the Premium level.

The project fee also comes down with each membership level. For Free through Plus (which includes Basic) the fee is 10% or $5. For Standard, the fee is 5% or $4 and for Premium it's 3% or $3. These fees come out of your pocket once you are awarded the assignment. If somehow you and the employer agree on more money after the assignment is underway, the new percentage comes out when you're paid.

So if you took an assignment for $20, you would have $5 deducted from your account. But later, if you and the employer renegotiate and you're supposed to now get $100 split up between two $50 payments, you get that first $50 and everything's cool because 10% of $50 is $5, which is the same amount you already paid Freelancer for the assignment. When the second $50 comes in, your cut will be $45.

The amount of gig categories and subcategories is staggering. There are twelve categories of work with hundreds of subcategories.

You can deposit money into your Freelancer account in one of three ways: PayPal, credit card, and Skrill/Moneybookers.

Withdrawing money from Freelancer is pretty painless and there are many options for getting your money. You can have money sent directly to your bank, PayPal, Skrill/Moneybookers, Wire Transfer, and a Freelancer Debit Card.

The Freelancer mobile app is heavy on the features.