I experimented with a small project worth Rs. 630 INR @ freelancer.com this time and had to effectively pay a bit more than I expected: around 32% more. Most people write blog posts when they are not happy with something. This is not such a blog post against freelancer.com and I am still a freelancer member. I evaluate sites such as these and state facts mainly for my students. I had come to know about freelancer through facebook ads.
Freelancer.com transactions were as follows:
Deposit towards milestone payment was done on Mar 07, 2014 EST for USD 11.40
USD 0.55 was taken as deposit fee from $11.40 and $10.85 (USD) was converted to 630.33 INR on rate: 58.095265 (INR)
Deposit towards project fee was done once project was completed for USD 2.94.
USD 0.36 was taken as deposit fee from $2.94 and $2.58 (USD) was converted to 149.82 INR on rate: 58.095265 (INR). Project fee was Rs. 150 INR.
So how much did I spent? My credit card statment had three entries: Rs.698 (for $11.40 deposit), Rs.180 (for $2.94 deposit) and also a speicial fee Rs.51 called 'CONSOLIDATED FCY MARKUP FEE' from my HDFC bank. So, for a project of Rs.630 INR, I had to pay Rs.929, which is almost 32% extra of what I intented to give for the work.
Most important point to note here is that even if you specify your currency as INR, it will be deposited to freelancer.com account as USD and then converted to INR.
So answer the question: 'Is Freelancer.com a good choice for smaller projects?' OR 'Is Freelancer.com a good choice for smaller INR projects?
My answer would be NO; but as long as there is no alternative especially one based out of India, we will have to say YES.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this post is not against freelancer, but stating few facts. As long as they give reliable service, this fee structure might be justified. I just did a quick google search for freelancer.com reviews, and following was one of the titles in top search resutls: Is freelancer.com a complete scam or a partial scam? And there was also a reply blog post from freelancer.com titled 'Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet: Lies, Scams and Freelancer.com' and have explained few things regarding the other blog. There were also some other negative feedback specially regarding their customer support, need to pay for adding skills or increasing number of bids etc and also suspending accounts for investigations.
I was just unhappy about one thing. There were projects mentioning 'No Indians Please' and one user even made statements that insulted Indians as a whole and sounded like racial comments. I thought such racial comments should not be allowed and hence brought it to the notice of freelancer.com. They asked me to file a report violation and the proper department will then review the violation and take proper actions. I did so and got a neighbouhood badge, but never got a reply on the issue. Apart from this one incident and higher fee structure, I haven't faced any issues yet.
If you have positive and/or negative feedback about freelancer.com, please share it here and help others.