As a freelancer you’re always on the lookout for legitimate gigs that pay well. It’s tough out there. Am I right? Sometimes it feels like you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Sure, you can find legitimate opportunities. But do they actually pay well? That’s the hard part. If you have any expertise in graphic design, branding, creating and designing websites, Crowdspring could be the right place for you to find work. This Crowdspring review will pull back the curtain on how this company works. Unfortunately, this review may leave you disappointed.
What Is Crowdspring?
Let’s start by getting into what Crowdspring is exactly. Crowdspring is a marketplace for online freelancers based in Chicago, Illinois. The type of work they offer is in areas such as logo design, graphic design, copywriting services and industrial design. The company was founded in May 2007 by Mike Samson and Ross Kimbarovsky. They have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the New York Times as well as Bloomberg, Businessweek and Entrepreneur. Crowdspring have provided work for Amazon, P&G, Starbucks and more. They have a large database of Creatives–over 100,000 from over 200 countries. So far, pretty impressive credentials, right?
How Does Crowdspring Work?
To get started with Crowdspring will take some work. It’s not a matter of simply creating an account, choosing your preferred payment method and applying for jobs like Fiverr or Upwork. Crowdspring screens every person that wants to work as a Creative which is their term for a freelancer. There are strict requirements to the registration process. If you are especially adept in one of their categories and have the tenacity to wait it out, it could be worth it. And this may not necessarily be a bad thing either. It would lead you to to believe that their standards are high. This would naturally lead you to believe that the pay is better than most.
So let’s assume you make it through the registration process and have been verified to work. You can then start looking at projects to see if you can create what the client is looking for. You review the specifications and samples and come up with one or more designs and submit them.
But, you won’t be the only one submitting design work for a particular project. You will be in competition with other people for whatever pay is on offer. The client chooses the design they like the most. Eventually, you get paid into your Paypal or Payoneer account.
The Registration Process
Crowdspring work with some pretty well-known clients. So it would make sense that the registration process would be a rigorous one. Here’s what you’ll be required to provide:
Identification: You’ll be required to provide a mobile phone number and photo ID. This is to verify that you are who you say you are.
Samples: Submit three samples of your best work in each of the areas you want to work in. The work must be your original work. These samples are then reviewed by an experienced panel.
Verification: You will not be allowed to begin work until the verification process is completed. This can take up to 14 days. Once verified, you’ll receive an email that outlines which types of projects you have been approved to work in.
Crowdspring has a number of categories to suit a wide range of people with various skill sets. Categories include:
- Web Design
- Product and Packaging
- Logos and Identity
- Books and Magazines
- Art and Illustration
- Clothing and Merchandise
- Business and Advertising
- Naming and Branding
These categories are further broken down on the website to include subcategories. When you register your interest, you choose one or more categories you have experience in and enter your email address. You’ll then be placed on a waiting list. You’ll be notified when they open registration.
Signup is Free
With all the hoops you have to jump through to even get in the door, it’s nice to know that you are not asked to pay a fee to join. There’s also no monthly or yearly membership fee.
Submit Multiple Designs
You are not limited to submitting only one design per project. You can submit a number of different designs with an explanation about the difference between each. Keep in mind that this will take more of your time.
Check Out The Competition
One good thing is that you’ll be able to view the other submissions to a project. This also means that others can see what you’ve submitted as well. Seeing what the competition is submitting can also help you come up with new ideas.
Work 1-to-1 With A Client
If you manage to make a name for yourself with a particular client, you could find yourself working exclusively with that client as well as others. This is really the best case scenario. You won’t have to spend tons of time working on designs and competing with others hoping your work is chosen.
The Waiting List
There are restrictions around signing up with Crowdspring. They are only open for registration every few months. In the meantime, you can sign up on their waiting list. You’ll then be notified when registration is open again.
My Personal Theory
So here’s my theory on the waiting list. Your information on the waiting list includes your email address and the areas you have expertise in. So my theory is that when they need someone with a specific skill set, let’s say logo designers, they sort their waiting list for people with that experience. Then they send them a link to start the registration process.
Now, I’m not saying this is true or even that it’s a bad thing. In fact, to me it makes good business sense. Think about it. When you have a number of clients all looking for logo designers and you find that your supply has dwindled, you go out and look for people who can meet the demand, right? It’s basic supply and demand from your Econ 101 class.
Now, I did say that I don’t think it’s a bad thing from a business perspective. But from a freelancer’s perspective, it does you no good to hang around waiting for your number to come up on a waiting list.
Working on Spec
This has got to be one of the worst ideas ever from a freelancer point of view. Working on spec means that you do the work upfront for free in the hope that your design is chosen. Most freelancers do the work upfront but they all get paid after the work is done. In this case, the project is open for anyone to work on. Best design wins. If your design is not chosen, you don’t get paid. There goes all your time–wasted. So why would someone want to even consider this option?
Slow to Pay – Don’t Expect Your Money Anytime Soon
Getting paid after you finish a job will take some time. Projects can take up to 14 days and sometimes longer to finish completely. Once you finish a piece of project work, it needs to be signed off by the client. Once you have been cleared to be paid, payments can take up to 10 business days. For your very first project, your payment is held for 30 days. After the 30 days, you can request your payment.
According to the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Crowdspring currently have a B- rating and a 1-star customer review. There are recent complaints from Creatives who have not been paid or have had difficulty getting paid.
It’s important to note that also according to the BBB, Crowdspring are believed to be out of business.
So where does that leave you exactly? When I started writing this review, I was hopeful that there was a great online marketplace for freelancers with a background in design. But there were a few red flags along the way. The BBB was not the only site where freelancers complained about not being paid.
There’s no other indication that the company has moved or gone out of business. Yest Crowdspring still seem to be taking on projects and designers who may not be getting paid. It’s all very confusing. I was ready to give these guys a thumbs up. But now I have to advise you to be careful with this one. You may be wasting your time. I’m genuiinely disappointed that I cannot recommend this company. On the surface, it looks pretty good.
If you have had any experience with Crowdspring, please leave a comment below.