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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Freelance Marketplace Site or App Like Upwork

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Yuri Musienko
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Upwork, formerly known as Elance-oDesk, is the largest freelance platform in the world, whose users open new projects for a total of over $ 1 billion every day. This was made possible thanks to the excellent usability of their site, where everything is extremely simple, intuitive and looks great. From our article, you will learn how much it costs to develop a site like Upwork, on your own, with the help of a freelancer or an outsourcing company.

What is the cost of the site

Although the cost of creating each site is individual and can vary from a few hundred to several million dollars, some things are universal in the development process and precisely they largely determine the final project estimate:
  1. Site type. Freelance marketplaces are conditionally divided into three types. The first are based on the geographical location of customers, such as TikkTalk, that helps to find translators in Norway. The second rely on a specific target group, like 99designs.com, focused on designers and their clients. Third are “all for all” projects like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer and Behance.
  2. Domain and hosting. The web address is the face of your project, so it is advisable to choose one that will be most relevant to the direction of your site (freelance + selected niche). Hosting is also important, but the quality and price level of this service is almost the same for all providers.
  3. Basic technologies. All websites operate on some kind of software that is out of the ordinary user's view. These can be pure PHP or HTML files, marketing management systems like Joomla, Drupa and WordPress, or something else.
  4. Components. Depending on the required functions of your site, you need to add several additional components to the basic technologies, for example, one or more payment gateways, a cloud service for storing files, a rating system, integration with social networks, and the like. The development and / or integration of such components also costs money.
  5. Customization. Website creation is not only the purchase of the necessary templates and components, but also their assembly and configuration. You can do it yourself by spending a lot of time, or hiring a specialist, paying extra money.
  6. Service. The cost estimate of the project should also include the cost of ongoing site maintenance (including marketing) until the time when you plan to become self-sustaining. Usually it takes from 6 to 12 months.
Most of the above can be implemented in two ways: pay money for it or do it yourself, spending some time on training and practice. Depending on the approach chosen and your capabilities (programming skills, design, marketing, copywriting, etc.), the cost of developing a site like Upwork can vary from $ 100 to $ 200,000. Here are a few development scenarios and their cost.

Option 1: Do it yourself - from $ 60

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork Freelancer
Freelancer - a theme for creating freelance marketplace based on WordPress
The cheapest way to run an Upwork site is to build it yourself. You can do this without even minimal coding and web design skills. It is enough to choose some kind of content management system (CRM) and the corresponding theme for freelance platforms. Such templates are free (limited functionality) and paid. The cost of paid options is approximately as follows:

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork WordPress

Note that WordPress has the largest ecosystem: 53% of the market share and more than 30% on the Internet. For this reason, you are more likely to find the right pattern among the solutions for this CRM. In addition, if you need professional help, advice and background information, then it will be easier to find for WordPress.

The same goes for plugins (extensions). More than 50 000 of them are designed for WordPress, so you will almost certainly find everything you need within this ecosystem. This will save you from having to hire someone on the side to develop and integrate the desired function. But it won't work for free if you want to use really high-quality plugins.

Even when choosing CRM, pay attention to the fact that to work with Drupal, especially with the plugins of this system, you will definitely need a developer, since even the routine procedure of installing a new template is quite complicated here. In this connection, most ordinary users prefer other options for creating sites.

Option 2: Hiring a freelancer - from $ 1000

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork codementor

Hourly rate of web developers in different countries (according to codementor.io)

Essentially the same as the first option, but much more professional. Suitable for those who have a small or medium budget and do not want to spend time studying all the details and nuances of development. Find and hire a web developer in many ways, but the easiest is to use Upwork, Freelancer or PeoplePerHour.

The average hourly rate of such specialists varies from 10 to 100 dollars depending on the task and the country of employment. Creating a standard site based on WordPress templates takes from 15 to 30 hours. Thus, the cost of developing a site like Upwork can be from 150 to 3000 dollars.

But you need to understand that for $ 150 you will hire a student (or schoolboy) from the CIS, Africa or India who will do everything for the sake of appearance, and no more. Whereas for $ 3000 you will hire a really good specialist who values his reputation, and therefore does his job with an eye to the rating and word of mouth.

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork web developers

The hourly rate of web developers in North America (according to codementor.io)

One more important point: Upwork and some other freelance platforms limited the choice of performers for customers from the United States and Great Britain to their regions. That is, if you live, for example, in New York or Washington, then you can hire only residents of the United States, the United Kingdom and, most likely, Canada. The salary of developers in these countries is higher, so the cost of creating a site with this restriction will rise to 600 - 4800 dollars.

Option 3: Working with an agency - from $ 10,000

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com is a great place to find and hire a development company

When working with an outsourcing agency, you will interact with several interested parties that are responsible for various development processes (branding, design, development, SEO, etc.). This makes the process of creating a site more time consuming, and therefore more expensive. Of course, the return on the result will be much higher.

As for a specific amount, in various agencies the hourly rates of specialists can range from $ 100 for ordinary employees (designer, programmer, copywriter, etc.) to $ 500 for top specialists (project manager, chief marketing specialist, etc.). As a result, the cost of development will be from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars. If your budget is not limited and you want to create a unique AAA-class project, you can hire a top-notch developer company and pay for their services from $ 200,000 to $ 1,000,000.

Of course, these amounts are very approximate and their size does not give any guarantees of the quality or success of the freelance platform being created. You can pay 100,000 dollars and get something strange and inconvenient, or you can give 5,000 dollars and get a website that will turn the world of freelancing.

You can find a developer company on such resources:

  1. LinkedIn. Professional social network created for people to establish business connections. Register and use Recruiter and Recruiter Professional Services (RPS) to find developers. In addition, you can search for talents in LinkedIn Groups.
  2. Glassdoor.com, Goodfirms.co and Clutch.co. Portals with listing development companies. There is a division into categories (you need web-developers), a short description, ratings, reviews, contacts and internal messenger.
  3. Blocktribe.com. Freelance platform, sharpened by blockchain projects. Customers can publish tasks for developers (people and companies) and withdraw candidates by level of experience and professionalism.
  4. Upwork, Toptal, BountyOne, Fiverr, Freelancer, Behance and Xbtfreelancer.com. Traditional freelance platforms. Mostly they are private developers, but company representatives are also present.

Compare three approaches (table)

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork approaches

Cost Time Result

With your own hands 60 – 1000 dollars Up to a week Reference solution Hiring a freelancer 150 – 4800 dollars 2 – 7 days High-quality reference solution

Working with agency From 10000 dollars 2 – 6 month Unique quality website
Cost of domain purchase and hosting

Domain name and hosting are essential components of any site, and they are not free (if you do not use a domain of the third order and higher). For this reason, their price should also be considered when calculating the cost of creating websites.

Choosing a type of hosting

Globally, all hosting is divided into two types: self-hosted and hosted. Self-hosted solution (other names - On-premise, Server) implies that you will use your own equipment to operate your site. That is, you need a physical server that needs to be located in a safe place (at the enterprise, in the office, data center or at home) and connected to high-speed Internet. Such a decision will cost you an extra $ 1,115:
  • $ 1000 for server hardware;
  • $ 50 for software installation and adjustment (can be done independently);
  • $ 15 to pay an electricity bill (monthly);
  • $ 50 for internet connection (monthly).

Hosted solution (another name - cloud hosting) implies server rental in the virtual space of a data center created from a cluster of physical servers. If you rent a separate server (VPS hosting), you will pay from 30 to 100 dollars per month, if part of the space of a separate server (shared-hosting), then from 2 to 20 dollars per month.

Depending on the completeness of services, cloud hosting is also divided into:

  1. Completely self-hosted. You make monthly installments and just use server space. The service provider provides the basic settings and features you need. Everything else, except the maintenance of equipment performance, is under your control.
  2. Managed hosting. Providers not only provide web space, but also take an active part in managing your site. Not content, precisely the site: security, caching, updates, and the like. This is an additional service that will cost you $ 15–50 a month.

Buying a domain name

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork GoDaddy
The cost of already registered site names associated with Freelancer on GoDaddy.com
The server is not all that is needed for the operation of your site. It also needs an address - a domain name. Many services provide free domain names of the third and higher levels, for example, “http://yoursite.maindomain.com”, where “.com” is the first-level domain, “maindomain” is the second, “yoursite” is the third.

You can use free options for blogs and home pages, but for a professional website you will need your own second-level domain name (http://yoursite.com), which can be obtained from one of the domain registrars, for example, Domain.com, NameCheap.com, Bluehost, HostGator or GoDaddy.com.

The price of domain registration is:

  1. Registration of a second-level domain costs about $ 10 per year for .com, .net, .org or other standard zones (discounts can be: $ 0 or $ 1 in the first year). Endings like .io, .store, or .global cost 30-100 dollars.
  2. The site name itself can be free if no one has registered it before you, or even $ 35,000 if you want to buy the registered relevant name freelancer.co.
You can buy already registered names on almost all registrar sites. Mentioned freelancer.co sold on GoDaddy.com.

Additional costs and maintenance

In order for your freelance platform to be successful, you will need to allocate funds for several more things, the most important of which is marketing. Depending on your abilities (or desire to acquire them), you should also allocate money for content copywriting and SEO, visual design, SSL / HTTPS, and foresight.

Content Copywriting and SEO

Copywriting is all that concerns the meaningful textual design of your site. From what is written on the main page, and to the name of the smallest and most unclaimed icon in one of the menus. If you do not have the skills or talent, then you need to hire a professional copywriter who will study your target audience and write the text relevant to their needs and pains.

The cost of such services varies:

  • from 50 to 1000 dollars for the text for the main page;
  • from 10 to 100 dollars for text for secondary pages;
  • from 10 to 100 dollars for an article in a blog and / or a post for social networks.

Texts for blog and social pages are needed on an ongoing basis. Usually it is 3-5 texts per week for a blog and several posts per day for social pages. All this costs about 200−500 dollars a month. The use of SEO tools is another 10–50 dollars a month. Hiring an SEO specialist costs from 10 to 100 dollars per hour.

Visual elements

Content is more than just text. Bright high-quality visual effects in the form of photos, pictures, comics, videos, etc. help to highlight your point of view and make your site more enjoyable to view. Fortunately, for most cases, you can pick up something from free photo stock. If you need something unique or to order, it will cost you 1-100 dollars per image and 20-1000 per video.

SSL / HTTPS certificates

Cost to Build a Site Like Upwork HTTPS

What are SSL / HTTPS security certificates for

SSL / HTTPS uses encryption to protect the flow of information between your site and its users. They are required for freelance platforms, since such sites operate with money and business user data. In theory, you can use the free versions of SSL (outdated technology), but it’s better to switch to HTTPS right away, since they trust it more. Paid subscriptions start at $ 15 a year.

Marketing / promotion

All of the above is included in the cost plan for each site, and if you plan to use the created resource as a brochure or visual aid, then you can stop there.

However, if you need a freelancing platform for earnings, then you also need to add marketing costs to your estimate - foreseeing your site.

You need to include in marketing costs all the costs that will be used to convey information about your project and the prospects for its use to the target audience: freelancers and customers. Usually for this use:

  1. Contextual advertising on Google. The cost of such a service depends on the keywords (word forms) that you will use to target the target audience you need.
  2. Content marketing. The use of ticks to increase the priority of search results in Google. Usually, for this, is started a blog and with a frequency of 1-3 text in two days it is replenished. A typical article costs from 10 to 100 dollars. Interviews, analytical texts, research and expert opinions are more expensive.
  3. Social networks. Can be used to increase brand awareness and attract traffic. Activity in social networks requires a lot of time and certain skills, so for this they hire a special person (SMM-manager). The cost of SMM services depends on the level of the contractor and the tasks. Usually it is 200 - 2000 dollars per month. If you use marketing influence (advertising posts on the pages of media personalities and celebrities), then this is another 1000 - 50,000 dollars costs.

Merehead does professional development of create freelance marketplace website like upwork. If you have questions, contact us for a free consultation.

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