According to a 2013 Entrepreneur article, the freelance economy continues to grow tremendously, and more companies are expected to hire in the years to follow. Millions of freelancers are ready to take fractional jobs or full-time functional jobs that have been further broken down to smaller tasks. For small and big businesses alike, using an online platform where they can quickly find and test a professional service provider for their technical, creative or business projects is extremely helpful. Guru provides this platform where businesses and freelancers can connect and work together.
Guru is a privately held, self-funded online job marketplace company with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. It was founded by Inderpal Guglani in 1998 as eMoonlighter.com. Guru was a rival site that was acquired by HR software company Unicru. In 2003, Unicru sold the Guru domain name and logo to eMoonlighter, which then renamed itself to Guru. Today, the site has over 1.5 million members all over the world, provided the platform to complete about a million jobs, and has facilitated the transaction of around $200 million between employers and freelancers.
How It Works
Businesses can post a job for free and wait for bids from freelancers. They can also search for services offered by freelancers that match their business requirements. They can explore and read the profiles of freelancers as well as browse their previous projects. Guru also has a recommendation score or ranking for each freelancer based on his or her ability to gain new business by submitting accurate and detailed quote, the ability to turn quality work into earnings, and the ability to retain clients over time. A freelancer has a Total Marketing Score based on their performance data that quantifies the quality of their work as well as the quality of the work experience they provided their clients. Quotes from freelancers appear in order by this score or ranking.
Business owners can collaborate with freelancers and keep track of their projects in the built-in Work Room in Guru. From within the site, they can build a team of freelancers, share files, create project milestones and finalize agreements. SafePay allows employers to pay all or part of the job to Guru only, and allow the payment to the freelancer only after employers approve of the work. A small payment processing fee is charged to employers. A feedback mechanism also adds more information for both employers and freelancers.
Hiring the Right One
Guru has a search engine that allows employers to find a freelancer or guru by job category. The different categories are web, software and IT; design, art and multimedia; writing and translation; admin support; management and finance; sales and marketing; engineering and architecture; legal services, and others. Employers can filter it down by location such as city, state, ZIP, country and region. They can narrow it down to freelancers with only 5, 4+ or 3+ stars, those only with a certain number of reviews, by rate, with a specified budget or those only with tested skills such as advanced Java test.
Problems and Solutions
As with any other freelancing site, problems arise especially pertaining to payment issues. Some complaints are about payments being processed even though work is incomplete. Also, freelancers have the ability to remove a certain number of reviews or feedback based on their blocking power, which depends on the amount of dollars the freelancer has spent on Guru for a certain period. Guru, however, provides employers with other resources and tips to make sure that their hiring for their projects goes smoothly, even the first time. Some of these tips include posting clear job descriptions; carefully assessing a candidate’s profile, portfolio, ratings and quote; and not making payment before receiving complete or agreed-upon work. For more tips and updates, visit their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn sites. Feel free also to share here your experience if you have tried their services.