Lemon Review: Is Lemon Worth It for Hiring?

Jason Quey
November 12, 2020

By the time you need to find a freelance software developer, your product is likely already in trouble, and you need solutions fast. However, you can’t choose the first developer available. Instead, you need to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Lemon is a freelance platform that allows you to find a talented and affordable programmer to help complete your project. While Lemon’s structure is similar to many other freelance platforms, they place a special emphasis on speed, offering a guarantee that they’ll find a freelancer for you within 24 hours.

Hiring a freelancer on your own is a time-intensive experience. You have to screen the applicants and then conduct interviews to determine which candidate has the appropriate experience and skills. Unfortunately, when you’re up against a deadline, you don’t have that kind of time to spend. 

Is this the best freelance platform for your needs? 

Note that Lemon was formerly Coding Ninja. At the time of this review, the company used both names equally.

Looking for more information about another hiring website?

  1. For hiring developers, check out Toptal and Codementor.
  2. For hiring designers, check out DesignBro, DesignHill, and 99Designs.
  3. For all hiring needs, including overseas outsourcing, check out OnlineJobs, Fiverr, and Upwork.
  4. You can check out a list of website hiring reviews here.

How Lemon Works

Lemon connects entrepreneurs and startup founders with experienced and thoroughly vetted software engineers.

After explaining your needs to Lemon, they search through their large roster of talent to present you with a single candidate with the specific skills and requirements you need. If the candidate doesn’t seem like a good match, they’ll find you others until you’re satisfied.

They provide freelancers for all types of jobs, including quick one-day programming fixes to large-scale projects that last for months. They have experts available in Javascript, Python, ror, Data Science, Blockchain, Java, Swift, and many other languages.

As an entrepreneur, here’s what you get when you use Lemon:

  • Free estimates with no obligation to hire
  • Four tiers of vetting for all freelancers
  • Fixed rates, clear estimates, and an easy-to-use payment system
  • Fast turnaround times for rush projects

Lemon is built around the idea of fast response times. A team member reviews the details of your project within three to five hours after posting.

Their site design is built for fast, easy communication between business owners, freelancers, and Lemon team members.

Helps you save money

Startups face special challenges compared to other businesses. A startup needs to grow quickly, or they’ll likely fail.

With Lemon, you don’t have time to waste finding programmers. Using a freelancer is often the most cost-effective way to meet your goals.

Lemon Praise and Pros

Lemons has a lot to like if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a freelancer to work on your startup. They provide you with one qualified applicant at a time, so you don’t have to wade through thousands of applicants who don’t have the skills you require.

Lemon account managers work with you through every step of the process to ensure you’re matched with a quality developer quickly. Here’s a rundown of the platform’s major benefits:  

24-hour guarantee to connect you with freelancers

Once you initiate the service, Lemon will connect you with a freelancer within 24 hours. After interviewing the candidates and selecting the freelancer you prefer, work typically begins 24 to 48 hours later.

24-Hour guarantee connects you with freelancers fast

Not all freelance platforms offer such fast turnaround times. Lemon excels at providing support for emergency situations or when a particularly tight deadline approaches.  

Five layers of thorough vetting

Finding the right freelancer isn’t always easy. If you’re not a programmer yourself, you’ll likely have difficulty evaluating the abilities of potential hires. Fortunately, Lemon helps you with the selection process with a five-step vetting process:

1. Thorough CV evaluation to assess the freelancer’s skillset

2. A detailed check into the freelancer’s background, including identify confirmation

3. Proficiency tests to ensure the freelancer speaks and writes in fluent English

4. Completion of a coding test to ensure coding competency

5. Live interviews with the freelancer to gain a sense of their personality

The recommendations you receive are thoroughly vetted, so you can focus on selecting someone who is a good personality fit for your organization, knowing the skillset is already confirmed.

Five layers of thorough vetting

Easy-to-use payment plans

You don’t have to worry about negotiating rates or paying the freelancer directly. Instead, Lemon makes the payment process simple. With a flat rate, you avoid the hassle of bidding on services.

You load money into your Lemon account. They recommend loading about the amount to cover 40 hours of work before hiring a freelancer, as only accounts with a positive balance can hire freelancers. Using Lemon as an intermediary helps avoid payment disputes and similar issues.

Experience with a wide range of coding

Lemon offers a robust selection of coding knowledge. You’ll find plenty of popular languages such as Python, Ruby, and c++. You can also find developers proficient in older, more obscure, and more complicated languages, too. Compared to many other freelance platforms, Lemon offers more coding options.

No-risk services

Security and customer satisfaction are at the forefront of their business model. If you ever have an issue with the quality of the work delivered by your freelancer, contact your Lemon account manager for a quick resolution.

Additionally, you can examine the freelancer’s resume, conduct a personal interview, and receive a detailed estimate without spending a dime. There are no upfront or service fees to get a freelancer recommendation.

Lemon Complaints and Cons

If you search for reviews from people who have used Lemon, you’ll find generally favorable results. They’re considered a reliable and reputable organization with a solid stable of seasoned professionals available for hire.

However, like any freelance platform, not every experience is a guaranteed success. At this point in the Lemon review, you’ll want to take a closer look at some of the potential downsides you might encounter:

Freelancer quality can vary

The vetting process used by Lemon is detailed and selective. For every 1,000 developer applications they receive, only 300 are accepted into their roster.

Freelancer quality can vary

However, keep in mind that freelancer quality isn’t uniform. While you should have no problem finding someone proficient in the major coding languages, your selection is more limited if you need help with an older or more obscure language.

Additionally, the platform is geared toward startups. The freelancers are mainly experienced in building site tools. If you need to hire someone to diagnose and repair a particularly tricky coding problem, you might have better luck using CodeMentor, which is a platform slanted more towards diagnostic issues.

Site quality

Although Lemon offers a professional service, the language on their website is a bit lacking. They’ve loaded their copy with jokes and silly asides. While some levity is appreciated, it’s often used as a substitute for detailed information about the services provided.

Their website makes aspects of the service unclear. Unless you’ve read a review, or have used the platform previously, you might not understand exactly what they offer.

The name change

As long as the company delivers quality service, you likely don’t care whether they’re called Coding Ninjas or Lemon.io. However, their transition from one name to another is confusing. Eventually, the Lemon name is getting removed entirely, but for the moment, the company exists under two different names with two separate sites.

They focus exclusively on startups

The main reason for their name change is to highlight its shifting focus. Instead of providing freelancers to all types of businesses, they now focus exclusively on startups.

That’s great if you’re a tech startup. But it also means that they’re unlikely to meet your needs if your a retail store wanting a new website.

Lack of in-office workers

Roughly 96% of their freelancers reside in Eastern Europe. As discussed above, all freelancers must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. Fortunately, communication problems are rare.

However, the location of their workforce can pose problems if you want someone to work in your office physically. The site has no rules against offering an in-office position, but all expenses are your responsibility. It’s not the platform to use if you’re mainly interested in non-remote workers.

If you feel Lemon is not right for you...

Check out our list of Lemon alternatives.

Lemon pricing – What’s Lemon’s fee structure?

As mentioned above, Lemon acts as an intermediary between the entrepreneur and developer. You load payment into your account and then transfer it to the freelancer weekly. After accepting an estimate and selecting a freelancer, you transfer the first payment so work can begin.

The Startup plan

They offer two plans. The most popular is the Startup Plan, which ranges between $35 to $55 an hour. It includes the 24-hour guarantee, weekly freelancer reports, a replacement guarantee, and more. The Startup Plan is suitable for the vast majority of startups and small businesses.

The Add-a-CTO plan

The other option is their Add-a-CTO plan. For a custom price, you can hire a temporary Chief Technology Officer for your business. Both full and part-time CTOs are available to handle a wide range of tech needs. As with any other freelancer, hiring a CTO includes all standard features such as 24-hour matching, weekly reports, and more.

Refunds and Other Resolutions

Although they pride themselves on providing each client with an excellent match, not every fit is perfect. If your freelancer fails to meet your expectations or misses deadlines, Lemon will match you with a new developer. They promise that switching developers won’t impact your project schedule or total costs.

Lemon says their developers have a success rate of 98.6%. Less than 2% of their clients have an issue with the freelancer they hire.

If a problem does occur, Lemon will examine the situation and issue either a partial or complete refund. Most likely, you’ll experience no issues with your freelancer, who has a minimum of two years of experience.

However, their refund policies, as written on their site, are rather vague. Instead of formal rules, they give themselves a lot of discretion on when they’ll refund your money if an issue occurs.  

Is Lemon worth it for hiring?

At this point in the Lemon review, you want to know the bottom line. Should you use Lemon for hiring a freelancer?

If you’re a small startup in need of a helping hand with software development, Lemon is an excellent option. They offer response times far faster than the competition, with the ability to hire a freelancer and have them start working in as fast as a day or two.

Another area where they excel is with their pricing system. Prices are based on the project and the freelancer’s experience. You don’t have to deal with bidding, which makes the entire selection process faster.

Additionally, another unique element is how they present you with only one potential hire at a time. Most freelancer sites give you about five names to select from. While this sounds like a benefit, a long list of more names typically slows the selection process. Lemon uses your specific needs and requirements to find an ideal candidate, so work can begin quicker.  

As an entrepreneur, you already have a lot on your plate. You don’t have the time to complete everything by yourself. Fortunately, Lemon is a reliable partner, allowing you to hire the developers you need at a price that won’t break your budget.

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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