Guru Review: Is Guru Worth It for Hiring?

Jason Quey
Updated:
October 15, 2020

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Most work around 52 hours a week on average, compared to just 34.4 hours per week for the average American. Outsourcing your work to freelancers is a fantastic way to redeem your time, many who bring valuable skills to the table.


Freelance websites such as Guru can help you find skilled workers that can complete a wide range of projects. It’s a popular platform, with over 1.6 million freelancers ready and looking for work.


Of course, just because Guru has been around for years doesn’t mean it’s the best choice to hire a freelancer. In this Guru review, you will learn about several issues with this platform that could result in wasted time and money.


If you’re looking to hire qualified freelancers, here are some platforms we recommend:


  1. Toptal: Toptal has a thorough vetting process that leaves you with just the top 3% of candidates. We recommend Toptal because they work with you to match your project to the right candidate. You can find our Toptal review here.
  2. Fiverr Pro: Fiverr Pro is quick, easy, and offers a wide pool of candidates in unique search categories. Fiverr stepped up their game by vetting talent through Fiverr Pro. You can find our Fiverr review here.
  3. Online Jobs: Online Jobs lets you choose from a pool of skilled workers from the Philippines. While talent is evenly distributed, opportunities are not. Online Jobs gives you the opportunity to hire skilled workers for a fraction of the price of western rates. You can find our Online Jobs review here

How Guru works


Almost a quarter of startups end up failing because they don’t have the right team for the job. If you want to succeed, it’s important that you find a way to connect with the best talents for the job.


Guru connects you with freelancers worldwide, giving you access to a pool of skilled candidates that offer the skills you need. You can browse through portfolios or search for specific freelancers. The site divides talent into eight major categories, including:


  • Programming and development
  • Design and art
  • Writing and translation
  • Administrative and secretarial
  • Business and finance
  • Sales and marketing
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Legal


Employers can also post jobs and get quotes from freelancers interested in their project. The site aims to make it easy for businesses to hire the right person.


When you request a quote, freelancers will bid on your post for the chance to work on your project.


Guru praise and pros


Since its start in 1998, Guru has been connecting clients and freelancers with a user-friendly interface. Here are some of the positive features of the platform.


You can hire freelancers with one click


The main goal of Guru is to simplify the hiring process for people and companies who need to contract a freelancer. Instead of reaching out to freelancers to ask for resumes and quotes, Guru provides you with a convenient way of advertising jobs and a streamlined hiring process.


When you find the freelancer you want, Guru helps you save time on the hiring process. With just one virtual signature, job orders automatically go through to help you close projects more quickly and get your team working.


The interface is simple and user-friendly


The interface of the Guru website is clean, sleek, and easy to use, even if you aren’t very tech-savvy. You can use a virtual dashboard to manage all aspects of your workflow, including going back and forth with your hires, checking project status, sharing files, and more.


When it comes time to pay, the site supports a wide variety of electronic payment services, making it a versatile choice. Instead of being limited to credit cards and Paypal accounts, Guru lets you pay freelancers using e-checks, wire transfers, and in-site cash funds. 


All transactions are protected by SafePay at no extra cost. Instead of sharing sensitive information directly, you and your hires share an account where you can deposit funds anonymously. This feature helps keep you safe from malicious third parties looking to steal your funds or your virtual identity. 


There’s a huge pool of potential candidates


Guru has been connecting entrepreneurs and freelancers since its creation some 20 years ago. Now, the site boasts thousands of subscribers looking for workplace solutions. You can pull from a pool of online candidates from around the globe, giving you a huge choice of unique skill sets to choose from. 


Guru complaints and cons


Guru’s user-friendly interface and convenient hiring process don’t quite make up for the negative aspects of this platform. Guru has received a lot more criticism than other similar freelancer hiring platforms, especially when it comes to the pool of freelancers or the rating system.


Guru does a poor job of blocking scammers.


One of the biggest risks of hiring an unknown freelancer is running into scammers. Each year, online scammers ruin countless lives through financial fraud and identity theft. By next year, it’s expected that cybercrime will cost us a collective $6 trillion in damages. 


At the very least, scammers on freelancing sites can waste your time. Sifting through profiles can be frustrating and time-consuming when a significant portion of applications aren’t from serious freelancers.


Scammers come in a variety of shapes and sizes on Guru. Some are simply ghost profiles that accept cash for projects and then disappear. Others use the identity of real and respected freelance workers to earn work and then fail to deliver the promised quality upon completion.


Falling prey to a scammer means that you might lose money, end up with a project that isn’t completed on time, and potentially have valuable data fall into the wrong hands. Guru falls short of expectations when it comes to removing these suspicious profiles from its platform or protecting clients.


The influx of scammers on Guru is the main reason that the site has received a failing grade from the Better Business Bureau. Reviews published on the BBB website reveal that Guru doesn’t offer financial compensation to clients who were scammed and doesn’t take action to remove illegitimate profiles from its platform.


Guru does a poor job of blocking scammers

Customer service is difficult to contact


Guru offers limited contact options for customers looking to ask a question or lodge a complaint. You can reach a representative through an email-based ticket system or reach out to Guru on social media. According to reviewers from the Better Business Bureau, this can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re looking to get an issue resolved fast.


Even if you do reach out via email, it can be tough to get anything other than a “canned response” from customer service, according to a 2019 BBB complaint. Another complaint reveals that Guru never responded to a customer service request regarding a freelancer who never delivered the finished project.


Guru customer service is difficult to contact


The company doesn’t take much responsibility for the actions of the freelancers who use their platform. If you lose your money to a scam, the chances are you won’t be able to get a refund easily. One reviewer claims that Guru “failed to protect [their] interest and [their] money.”

Guru complaints and cons

The rating system is questionable


While most freelance sites use rating systems based on experience, Guru uses a feedback score system. When a freelancer completes a project, their client gives them a rating based on performance. This feature is meant to help you choose a freelancer who has a good track record and who has completed projects successfully in the past.


Unfortunately, Guru’s rating system is easy to abuse. Scammers and con artists can easily ramp up their rating score to garner more interest and land more jobs by creating new accounts with high ratings or by contesting negative feedback on their page to boost their score.


Guru’s rating system is not necessarily a strong indicator of quality work. The rating system can give you a false sense of security and create the impression that the person you’re hiring will meet your expectations, even though their ratings aren’t an accurate reflection of their performance.


Service fees can be high


Service fees can add up and make Guru expensive to use in the long-term. Outsourcing work to a freelancer is often a strategy used to cut costs. Since only 40% of small businesses are profitable in their early years, paying service fees on top of a freelancer’s rate might not be a viable option.


Guru charges a 2.9% fee when handling invoices, though they do offer cashback if you pay using an e-check or wire transfer. While this is on the lower end of fees, charges such as the site’s withdrawal fee can raise costs for users. If you decide to quit the service or simply need your cash for whatever reason, you have to pay a 3.5% withdrawal fee for this privilege. 


It’s not easy to get noticed


There are 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S. and around 179,000 startups. Many end up turning to contractors and freelancers for help, sometimes through platforms like Guru. With so many users, there are often thousands of open job postings available on Guru at any given time. Dozens of new jobs are posted each day, and it’s easy for your project to get lost in the influx. You may not receive a lot of quotes from qualified candidates.


The best way to really get your listing noticed on Guru is to pay to have it “Featured.” Featured jobs are highlighted with a bright green banner and consistently show up on job hunters’ searches, garnering more interest in the position. Getting your posting featured costs $29.95 every 30 days, and isn’t guaranteed to land you a match. 

Guru pricing - What’s Guru’s fee structure?


Guru pricing - What’s Guru’s fee structure?

While Guru typically has higher fees than its competitors, a basic account is free. You can post unlimited job offerings and receive limitless quotes from freelancers, though it isn’t guaranteed that they’ll all be legitimate. 


While a Guru account is free for employers, you should remember that even their free accounts can incur service fees. Be aware that the site takes a 2.9% cut whenever you make a transaction and a 3.5% cut when you withdraw money. If you want to receive more applications for your project, you will have to pay $29.95 to promote your listing for 30 days.


For employers that want a customized solution, Guru Enterprise offers tailored solutions for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to hire freelancers. The Enterprise plan offers superior online support compared to  Guru’s base option along with enhanced security features, including a dedicated compliance team and advanced account monitoring. 


While there are no costs for creating an Enterprise account, users still have to pay the site’s base service fee. However, with an Enterprise account, Guru allows you to choose a flat fee structure, or decide to split fees with the freelancers you hire.


Is Guru worth it for hiring freelancers?


Guru has been around since the late 90s, helping connect employers and freelancers looking for projects that match their skills and experience. As an entrepreneur or business, you can search through candidates, post jobs, and receive quotes from qualified freelancers. 


If you’re looking to hire a freelancer, there are a couple of sites that I would recommend looking at instead of Guru. All of them offer a quick and cost-effective way to find a freelancer for your next project, and you won’t have to worry about scammers or a lack of responsiveness if you run into a problem. Again, my three favorite freelance platforms include:


  1. Toptal: Toptal weeds out the spammers and scammers to leave you with the top 3% of freelancers. I recommend checking out our Toptal review here.
  2. Fiverr: Fiverr Pro is a relatively new addition to Fiverr that helps you to find vetted freelancers. With their search filters, it’s never been easier to find someone to hire. You should take a moment to read our Fiverr review here
  3. Online Jobs: With Online Jobs, you can choose from more than 500,000 resumes of skilled and vetted workers. Our Online Jobs review can be found here.


Guru is not worth your time. 


The site is plagued by scammers looking to make a quick buck. Too many are seeking to prey on unsuspecting entrepreneurs. If you’re unhappy with your project, it can be difficult to renegotiate or get your money back from support. It’s better to look for a freelancing service that genuinely cares about its users and offers more protection.

The Product Marketing Agency Serving Entrepreneurs From Idea to Scale

Jason Quey

I am the CEO and Founder of Growth Ramp. I enjoy helping high-growth startups on their journey from idea to scale.

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