Outsourcing your work to freelancers is a great way to get jobs done faster, but is Crowdspring worth it for hiring? Only about 50% of small businesses survive after their first five years in business. So choosing the right talent can determine the fate of your company.
CrowdSpring began in May 2007, although they didn’t launch the design marketplace until a year later. Since then, the company has become a trusted source of design projects for companies like Procter and Gamble, Amazon, LG, Starbucks, and Barilla.
Here is our Crowdspring review, which will help you decide if this platform can help you with your design needs.
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In a traditional freelancing environment, you hire one person (or, more rarely, a team), and they produce the content for you. Crowdspring asks each of its contributors to submit designs for your project, which can be anything from blog design themes to posters.
The system allows you to rate and review submissions as you receive them. Once the presentation period is over, you can select the design you like best.
Several factors help Crowdspring stand out from other freelance design services. Here are some of the more important ones:
Crowdspring advertises as many as ninety designs for each project submitted, although this can go down to just two dozen depending on how exclusive you make your project. These are finished designs, not merely proposals, which means you can expect a lot more from each submission.
Crowdspring also narrows applicants by their experience and ratings. Only designers above a certain threshold are allowed to make bids on the most expensive projects, which means they’re also incentivized to create many designs and work on many projects. This is a fundamental part of Crowdspring’s business model, and arguably the heart of their operations.
Most freelancing platforms limit the feedback you can give freelancers. This makes sense because it helps protect both you and your designers. However, when you’re trying to decide between dozens of high-quality submissions, an inability to show the designs to other people is a significant inconvenience.
Crowdspring offers several ways to get around this problem, including conducting polls and creating presentations that other people can access remotely. Most of these are password-locked, though it’s still better to shut them down when you’re done in case the password leaks somewhere.
Input is one of the most critical parts of choosing a graphic. This is because the things you like may not be what your audience wants, and appealing to your audience is an essential part of your success. After all, the main reason small businesses fail is that there’s no demand for their products. Proper marketing is a crucial aspect of generating demand.
This isn’t available for every project, but at higher levels, Crowdspring allows you to invite others in to help manage your project. For this Crowdspring review, a search found that few other sites offered features like these. Collaboration is the major theme of the entire site for both you and the designers you pick, and that shines through in the opportunities they offer.
While Crowdspring is an excellent source for getting designs, it does have a few flaws. Here are some of the major drawbacks:
Crowdsource pays creators well, but only when they win a bid. That incentivizes creators to submit many designs to a variety of projects. After all, when you can’t guarantee payment, it can become difficult to scale their business.
For you, this means that the average designer may spend significantly less time on your project than they would if you bought their work through a more exclusive, less-crowdsourced platform. Combined with relatively high fees, you may see less (or lower-quality) work despite paying more.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all the work you see will be bad. However, there’s a significant difference between good work and excellent work.
Participating isn’t fundamentally a bad thing when you’re looking for creative, visual designs. People who actively collaborate with freelancers are usually happier with the final result.
However, when you could evaluate 90 or more proposals, interacting with every one of them could take a significant amount of your time. That’s especially problematic if you’re trying to run the rest of your business.
Let’s not forget that part of the point of hiring freelancers is to reduce the amount of work you need to do. If you just replace one sort of work with another, then you’re not getting all the benefits of hiring a freelancer.
This isn’t a major problem if you’re looking for the best work, and you have the time to spare. Working individually with each freelancer isn’t time-effective, but it is the best way to get the best selection of work to choose between.
You can mitigate this by using their 1-to-1 projects, which allow you to hire a designer directly. This is most useful if you already have someone in mind from previous projects and want to hire them again, but it can also cut down on other waste by having a manager help you find someone.
Unfortunately, this method removes most of Crowdspring’s advantages while leaving their high fees in place, so it’s hard to recommend it.
The price on Crowdspring is generally the same regardless of which design you pick, so you have more control over the fee structure than you would when paying individual fees to creators.
At the time of this review, Crowdspring offered four pricing packages for each category of work. Regardless of pricing, Crowdspring always offers complete copyright ownership of the final design so you can use, modify, share, edit, and otherwise apply it as you see fit.
Other factors of the business model vary by pricing. Options at higher price tiers include using focus groups to poll friends or coworkers about designs, promoting the work to ensure more people see it, and even requiring nondisclosure agreements to help protect sensitive materials.
For normal projects, each category comes with four different payment levels. Most of the money from this goes to the creator you pick, with the rest set aside for Crowdspring, running their systems, tips, and so on.
The important part is that payments are not the same between categories. The most affordable price in one area may be as low as $299, but it could go up to $899 or even more in certain areas. This means that Crowdspring has no universal pricing, just style-specific pricing.
At higher levels, the fee structure includes project managers and access to priority customer support, with most responses made in less than one hour. This is a reasonably fast response time for a small company.
By reading this Crowdspring review, you now know more about the company and how it works.
Overall, Crowdspring is worth it for hiring despite its drawbacks, but only as long as you’re looking for visual creativity in the final design. The company offers far more projects to choose from than almost any competitor, so if you don’t know what you want, Crowdspring is easily one of the best ways to get ideas.
However, it is moderately expensive for the work you’ll get, and it generally won’t be as good as hiring a single top designer directly. If you have a clear vision or need to prioritize quality above all else, Crowdspring may be a good option through its 1-on-1 format, but consider looking elsewhere for a better deal.