People Per Hour (and similar websites) are full of clients who need one-off jobs to be completed quickly. We currently advertise our technical blogging services on the site. But the rates are often poor, so care is needed when you first start freelancing, particularly when there are service fees to over.

Using marketplaces like People Per Hour can be a great way to make connections. We built our technical writing business using it, and we’ve made many great contacts that we continue to work with today.

After three months on the site, I certainly learned a lot about how much technical blogging work I could handle, and I very quickly became pretty proficient at project management. I’ve now been using People Per Hour for six years, and I’ve been in their top 10 numerous times for technical content and business blogging projects.

By far the most common question we’re asked is this: how do you make money on People Per Hour? Here are a few tips that might help you get started.

Get Some Freelancing Experience

Before you begin bidding on People Per Hour or other freelancing sites, get some experience elsewhere. You will be asked to provide examples of your work, whether it’s copywriting, technical content writing, SEO copywriting, design, research – whatever. Prove you can do what you say.

It helps to do a little work for friends before you begin. Ask them to post recommendations on your profile to confirm what you’ve done, and put examples in the Portfolio area of the site.

Be honest with yourself: if you have no experience, you will really struggle to get started.

Set Your Rates Properly

It takes a while to find your price point, as it will be different to the price you charge elsewhere.

You may well need to cut your rate, especially in the beginning.

Sit down with a pen and paper and factor in all your costs (tax, fees, subscriptions, and so on) so you have an absolute minimum in mind.

Remember that People Per Hour also deducts a service fee, and you have to pay to bid. Given that the average rate of bid acceptance is one per every 14 bids, you must budget carefully.

Having acted as a People Per Hour client, as well as a freelance blogger, I can guarantee you this: any client with reasonable standards will not pick a bid that is exceptionally low. A client worth working for will not ask you to produce 500 words for £2. Yes, these jobs appear – don’t waste a bid on them. Don’t waste time complaining and ranting at the client, either. They don’t care what you think! Move on and bid on something else.

You will probably find that you cannot charge megabucks on a site like People Per Hour, but think carefully before you undervalue yourself to such an extent that you are competing with people who are not qualified.

The last thing you need is a £600 job that should be paying you £1,500. You will have no motivation to complete it, and when a better job comes along, your £600 job will feel like a bad mistake.

Prepare a Killer Bid

Some jobs on People Per Hour can receive 20, 30 or 40 bids within a few hours. No client has time to read an essay from each of those people, so don’t waste your time writing one.

Generic bids are a massive turn-off, and so are bids that are not proof-read or don’t address the job specifics. Bids full of links require the client to go looking for a reason to choose you. Why would they do that?

Tip: Write a concise bid which showcases your talents, and tailor it to the job description. Address any concerns or points upfront. Keep it friendly and professional. If you’re a blogger, provide examples of quality content that you’ve produced. We’ve paid over the average for a freelancer because their bid was keen, specific and well-written, and we felt we had something in common with them, which always makes work more enjoyable.

Don’t Ask For Clarification

The Clarification Board is a little area at the bottom of each job page on People Per Hour.

It’s supposedly there for freelancers to ask for more information on a job. It’s usually used by freelancers to place ‘soft bids’ or promote their own profiles. This is supposedly a no-no, but it happens a lot.

Guess what: the Clarification Board isn’t the place for questions!

No client will hire you off the back of a question. By delaying your bid, you are wasting your time, and you’re missing out on a valuable chance to get a bid in early (see below).

Place your bid – address any queries there. Offer different prices for different specifics. A client wants to know what you can do and how much you can do it for: if you waste their time by dithering over small details, they will be far less likely to hire you.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

Clients may accept bids weeks after you put your proposal in. This is always tough, since you get no warning of acceptance. With business blogging, we sometimes get asked to turn things around the same day, which is difficult.

It’s best to be upfront about time constraints in your proposal, or when talking with the client pre-approval.

It can be impossible to leave time to do chores, walk the dog, and have a life if you are not honest about your availability. Be clear, and overestimate the time you need. Google Calendar is a great tool for blocking out time and seeing exactly how much rest you are giving yourself.

Tip: I recommend you give yourself 20% leeway when estimating how much time (and money) you need to complete a blogging assignment on People Per Hour.

Beware of Subcontracting

We have worked with wonderful technical authors on a freelance basis, but there is a risk in opening up a project to other people.

The more freelancers you bring in to help you, the more you are open to people being late, making excuses and wrecking your reputation.

Have a good think about whether you’re ready to be a project manager. It is not easy, especially if you are busy already. Managing people is not everyone’s idea of fun.

You know your abilities. You know the standard you expect. If you don’t know anyone who shares that standard, think carefully before you rely on them.

If you hire through People Per Hour, you must be able to leave honest feedback, too. How honest could you really be? Could you sack someone who submitted late three times in a row? If you wouldn’t have the heart, it’s probably better just to work on your own. There is nothing like taking on a job yourself and completing it to your own standards, and you get to keep the money.

Bid Early, Bid Quick

The People Per Hour website is updated daily, from the early morning right through until the evening. Jobs appear in fits and starts throughout the day, and you can scan back through several days’ jobs if you wish.

This may be a little controversial, but I’d advise not bidding on old jobs. Bidding early on a job is the best way to get noticed, especially if your bid is on the lengthy side.

Keep your eye on the People Per Hour site for fresh work, and bid as soon as you can. If you happen to be online outside normal office hours, regularly check the site and bid early on anything new that appears: there’s less competition then.

Monitor Payments Closely

In general, it takes a few days for each withdrawal to come through. People Per Hour has improved this. But watch out for payments in other currencies. You be be charged fees for exchange and withdrawals.

This is slightly better since the People Per Hour wallet came in, but it can still add up.

Tip: To keep it simple, stick with jobs in your own currency and withdraw cash via BACS. It’s fast, and free.

Leave Jobs Open

Once you find a client (or a freelancer) through People Per Hour, you must continue to use the site as an intermediary ‘forever’. 

I’m not sure how enforceable this is in a court of law. But I highly advise that you continue to work through People Per Hour. If you don’t, the best case scenario is that your account will be closed and you won’t find any more work through the site.

Lots of technical blogging clients have told me it’s inconvenient, and I understand why. But circumventing the site violates their terms and conditions. If the client complains, remind them that you’ll be penalised – not them.

Remember: always create a new proposal for a new piece of work, and get the client to raise a deposit.

Free Samples: Just Say NO!

Clients might ask you do to free samples for them – ‘just to check you’re on the right lines’. They then decide you’re not the right candidate, but not before they’ve posted your free article up on their website.

This has happened to me a few times. I’ve written a very good technical blog for a client, only for them to reject it – and use it anyway.

In fact, there’s nothing to stop a client asking each bidder to write a different test piece, then never accepting a bid at all.

Bidders who work in graphic and web design also have plenty of horror stories to tell. Free samples and test pieces are submitted one day, then mercilessly ripped off the next. If you’re a designer, you may even find your work on a stock photo site with no contract to protect you. Ouch.

If all you do is write test pieces or create free logos, how are you ever going to make money? You could spend days writing and designing for nothing. What’s your time worth? Never, ever work for free!

Conclusion

People Per Hour, and other freelancer websites, are a great way to get started in your career. With these tips, you’ll be able to go ahead and make confident bids without losing too much time or money. Good luck!

This post was updated on 2nd August 2017 to improve clarity and navigation.

 

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Claire Broadley

Technical writer, blogger, and editor at Red Robot Media
Claire Broadley is CEO at Red Robot Media and Lead Editor at Digital.com. She is a professional tech blogger writing for a range of publications on online privacy, consumer technology, and small business services.
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  • Flick

    Great article! 🙂  I think PPH rocks and its really nice to have some good tips – esp. about the one year’s commitment.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Flick. Glad they have been useful for you.

  • I found this article after doing some research on people per hour.  Very helpful – thank you !

  • Hi, thanks for this really useful article. Have been looking at PPH and wondering how best to approach the bidding process. This is just what I needed.

    • redrobotmedia

      Thanks Robert. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • redrobotmedia

    Great, thanks Karen!

  • Anil kumar

    thanksssssssssssssssssssssss

  • Steve Wilson

    I have not fully checked the site. Do you need to deposit? why?

    • Sorry Steve, I don’t understand your question. As noted at the beginning of the article, we stopped using People Per Hour well over a year ago.

      • Steve Wilson

        I’m sorry for not being clear. I meant, as a contractor do you need to deposit some amount? But it doesn’t matter now. I really haven’t got much time to check the site anyway. Thanks for the response by the way. It was really appreciated.

  • solidgoldextra!

    I still think this article is relevant today, and contains some very good advice. Thanks for posting it. The working for free point is extremely cogent. It is a trap, guys, don’t ever fall for the “work for free to prove myself” meme. No pay, No play!

    • Thanks for your feedback. I agree, working for free is a real danger zone for freelancers, particularly those without portfolios.

  • Paul

    I just want to share my story on how I’ve been scammed directly by PeoplePerHour.com http://peopleperhourscam.blogspot.com/2013/08/pph-blocked-my-account-with-my-money.html

    • Your blog is set to ‘invite only’, Paul, so I can’t read it unfortunately.

    • Taylor London

      Please give me access to your blog and let me help you. I want to tell everyone about People Per Hour and how bad they are. I am so fed up of them!

  • louise

    I have just come across this blog and wanted to say I have only had good experiences on PPH and successfully managed to gain lots of work. I usually ask for the full invoice amount as escrow to cover myself. Take a look as there have been lots of improvements http://www.peopleperhour.com/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=outreach&utm_campaign=candidate2

    • Thanks Louise. I have removed your link because the end of the URL looked suspicious (utm_source=social&utm_medium=outreach&utm_campaign=candidate2).

      Are you an employee of People per Hour?
      I’m curious as to why you’re posting tracked marketing links to their site.

  • Ron Jeremy

    My advice. Steer well clear of this site. Any personal details you register with them will be splashed all over the internet. If you commission work, you will across as a temp agent if your name is googled. Furthermore, your details will be locked in and even if you de-activate your account, your details will remain online. Dodgy site, and certainly don’t entrust your money to them.

  • Imran

    PeoplePerHouse is SCAM and rubbish. I am professional designer – They ask you to upload PORTFOLIO, how the hell portfolio can be uploaded?

    You upload your CV they ask you to remove contact info, when you do it they ask you to do it again and after 2 or 3 tries you can not submit your applications again.

  • Hamid

    I cant even begin to say how bad this website is, its so bad its actually hilarious.

    All common sense goes out of the window when dealing with customer
    support they are a bigger joke than some of the freelancers on their
    site.

    Avoid at all costs

  • Tom

    I should say that though PPH can be a struggle especially with people in countries where they can afford to charge 10 quid for a logo. The last job I received was 30 twitter banners for 200 quid. I was asked to design an example to win the job and I did and it definitely helped me get the job. This may seem fruitless if you don’t win but just saying, sometimes it can be worth it especially if you’re new and still building reputation.

  • Christian Champagne

    Thank you for this! Great tips!!!

  • Shallu

    PPH is scam. blocked me without any reason. My clients are in so much trouble. they are willing to move on to other platform 🙂

  • Richard Aldred

    Great article Claire – lots of practical, useable advice. I’ve been with pph for about three years now and although I’ve only dipped in and out from time to time (usually in quiet periods), the comments you make and tips for not wasting your time or bid credits are valuable nonetheless. Thanks!

    • Thanks Richard. We only occasionally use the site now, and this article is out of date in some respects. Glad you found it useful, regardless!

  • M Moore

    Great article, advice applies to more than technical blogging for the site!

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