Below explains the overall workflow using this Freelancer Marketplace Plugin – from user registration up to completing, paying and rating vendors. This is to help you get a clearer view of how this plugin operates and work.
Now, to start discussing the overall workflow, first thing on the list is the User Registration. Parties can register with either roles: (1) Freelancer and (2) Customer.
3.1.1 Freelancer Registration
To register as a Freelancer, simply go to Login > Registration.
There you will see “If you wish to offer your services,kindly register”. Below, click on button Iwant to Work. It will then take you to the Freelancer Registration Form.The important details you must enter in order to proceed with the registrationare:
First and Last Name, User Email, Username, Password, Bio, PayPal Email and Phone Number.
After registering, your Freelancer Profile can either be Auto Approved or Manually Approved by the Site Admins. This depends on the settings which you can change at Freelancer Marketplace > Setting > Permissions. Check/Uncheck the box “Automatically Approve Freelancers?” to configure this.
Once approved, the Freelancer will now be added on the Public Freelancer List on your website so that interested customers can look upon his/her profile. Required information at registration is ruled via the Freelancer Registration Form.
3.1.2 Customer Registration
Registration as a customer happens when you submit a new project as this process allows a better onboarding experience. You will need first need to fill out the details of your new project you like to list and once finished you will have the option to either login or register as a new customer.
Required information at registration is ruled via the Customer Registration Form.
Application ispending for approval: After completing and submitting both userregistration forms, it will take you to the screen which shows that yourregistration is pending for approval (If automatically approving freelancersand customers is disabled in the settings). Once approved, you will be notifiedin your email inbox to get started with checking and submitting projects.
Activating Account: It will also ask you to activate your account first. Go to your email inbox, find the message received and click on the link provided to activate your account.
3.2 Submitting Projects
Even before registering as a customer, you can get startedwith submitting a project by going to SubmitNew Project tab. It will redirect to the Project Submission Form which willrequire you to enter:
- ProjectTitle – This will be the title of your Project.
- ProjectDescription – Explainwhat your project is all about, what needs to be done, how it will be done, andany other explanations that will give light to the freelancers what you requireto do.
- ProjectFiles – You are able to upload attachments necessary for this project.
- ProjectBudget – The drop down menu shows option from Small to Big Projects, withcorresponding and ranging amounts (set by the admins). You can choose whichrange your new project belongs too. But, you can also enter a customize budgetyourself.
- EstimatedProject Duration – This is the estimated duration of your projectcompletion in days.
- SkillsRequired – To easily get freelancer’s attention to take interest to yourproject, it is better to specify the skills necessary to complete it. If youclick on the field, a drop down menu containing suggested skills will appear,but you can also add your own skills by clicking on Add New.
After entering all project details, click on the Submit button. If you are not yet logged in or registered, it will redirect you to enter your login details, or to register as a customer.
But, if you are already logged in, it will redirect you to your Customer Dashboard > My Projects tab.
AcceptingProjects by the Admin
Submitted projects can either be Automatically Approved or Manually Approved by the Site Admins. This depends on the Settings which you can see at the backend settings, Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Permissions, where the admin can opt to turn “Automatically Approve Projects?” on or off.
If enabled, submitted projects are automatically approvedwithout the admin approval. But if disabled, the admins will be notified that aproject has been submitted and will be ask to either approve/decline it.
Project is Accepted: Ifyour project is approved by the admin, you will receive an email saying thatyour project is now live and freelancers can now view and submit bids on it. Thismeans that accepted projects will automatically appear on the Public List ofProjects at “Available Freelance Projects” page where Freelancer can view thedetails and submit their bids.
Project isDeclined: If your project is declined by the admin, you willalso receive an email saying that your project requires some othermodifications before it can be approved.
After successfully submitting a project, the Customer can still make amendments and changes to the project details and information as long as the project status is Open. This is only possible if the Admins allow projects edits or not. This settings can be changed by going to Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Permissions > On/Off “Allow Customers to Edit Projects?”.
Updates made to the project are also either Automatically Approved or Manually Approved by the Site Admins. You can change this by going to Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Permissions > On/Off “Automatically Approve Customer Edits?”. White waiting for project edits to get approved, the Project Status will become Pending until approved.
After the Project becomes accepted, no further changes can be made to the Project Details. Customers can simply discuss further project changes and additional information directly to the Freelancer in charged.
3.3 Submitting Bids
After your Freelancer profile is approved and activated, youcan now visit available projects by going to the Available Freelancer Projects tab. Click on it and you will see thelist of all available projects you can review and submit bids.
If you’ve found a project that you know you’ll do well,click on the Submit Bid button thenfill up the following details:
- Your Proposal– This is also the Bid Description. Discuss why you wanted to take thisproject and what can you do, also further questions you might have.
- BidAmount – Specify here the Bid Amount you’re intending to propose. Thisamount can be less, more or equal to the Project Bid set by the Customer.
- ProjectDuration – Estimation of the number of days you can complete this project.
- CommissionFee and the Amount paid to you – This simply shows the breakdown of theCommission Percentage and Fee and the remaining amount to be paid to you.
- ProposedMilestones (Optional) – Upon submitting your bid, you can now also add yourproposed milestones. Just enter the description and the amount. When thecustomer accepts your bid, he/she will also decide whether your proposedmilestones will be accepted or not.
When you’re done, just click on the Place Bid button.
After the bid has been successfully submitted, the Freelancer can now able to contact the Project Customer for further inquiries and questions. The Site Admins can turn this on/off by going to Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Permissions > Freelancer needs to submit a bid to contact Customer. Also, the Customer can now contact the Freelancer by clicking on the Chat button at the Project Bid list.
After successfully submitting a Bid, the Freelancer canstill make amendments and changes to the bid details and information as long asit is not yet accepted.
You can also change and configure the visibility of the BidAmounts. Go to Freelancer Marketplace> Settings > Permissions > Bid Amounts. There you can see a dropdownmenu to choose how you would set the visibility of the Project Bid Amounts.Choose either Visible to All, Visible to registered users only and Visible tocustomers only (Blind Bidding.)
3.4 Invite Freelancers
Inviting Freelancers for a newly submitted project makes the hiring process much easier and faster. This is helpful for Customers to immediately invite or notify those Freelancers that possessed the required skills or criteria for the project.
The customer can invite freelancers by going to Project View > Invite button. Clicking on it will take you to the list of all Freelancers. Sort the list (A to Z, Z to A, Low/High Rating) depending on what you prefer, search for a freelancer name or scroll down through the list. Then, simply click on the Invite button near the Freelancer’s name. An email will be sent to the Freelancer telling that he/she is invited to participate in a project.
3.5 Hire Me
This is another feature of our plugin that would help makethe hiring process faster and easier. This is helpful for Customers who might alreadyhave a target freelancer that he/she think would be a good fit to work on theproject. So how does this work?
The Customer can directly hire a specific Freelancer thatleads to the creation of a Private Project exclusive for them. Private Projectswon’t show up in the Public List of Available Projects. Only the ProjectCustomer and the Invited Freelancer have access to it, except when the Customerdecides to Invite other Freelancers to the project, like what is previouslydiscussed above.
Visitors and Customers can visit the Freelancer List located on the Top Menu. Search for Freelancer Profiles that you specifically looking for to do your project. You can filter the list depending on the skills, sort by (Default, A to Z, Z to A, High Rating, Low Rating) or even use the Search Bar.
You can also visit a Freelancer Profile and click on the Hire Me button. It will redirect to the New Project Form to create a Private Project. After that, users involved will be notified by email.
When the invited Freelancer visitedhis/her dashboard, new Project Category “Private” will be added. Below the PrivateProject Name, a note in read is written “Bid has been suggested by thecustomer. You need to accept or decline to proceed”. The invited Freelancer canedit the Bid and make some changes before accepting and submitting the Bid.
3.6 Starting a Project
To start a project, a customer needs to accept a bid and paythe full bid amount upfront to the platform operator.
When several freelancers submit bid for a single project,all bids can be located at the lower part of the Project Page. There it showsthe Freelancer’s name, the Bid Proposal, time lapsed from when the freelancersubmits the bid, Bid Amount and the Work Duration in days.
Every bid, the customer has three options:
- Mark the Bid as favorite
- Accept the Bid
- Decline the Bid
Also, even before accepting the freelancer’s bid, the customer can also first have a discussion with the freelancer by clicking on the Chat button on the right side of the bid, below the Bid Amount. This way, the customer can clarify any questions from the freelancer, or ask if he/she can really do the project.
Accept Bid: Whenthe customer clicks on the Accept Bid button,it will redirect to the Checkout page, where will the customer pays for the BidAmount, along with its milestones.
Decline Bid: Whenthe customer clicks on the Decline Bid button, an email will be sent to thefreelancer notifying that his/her bid is declined. But also, the customer canclick on the Undecline Bid if ithappens to be done accidentally or just because of changes in decision.
3.7 Executing a Project
3.7.1 Adding additional Milestones
During Bid Submission, the Freelancer may directly add and propose Project Milestones. Remember, the total amount of the Proposed Milestones should not be the same with Bid Amount. Also take note that if there are no milestones given during bid submission, a Default Milestone will automatically be created having the total amount of the Bid.
After the bid has been accepted, Freelancer and Customerhave the capacity to add more milestones on the project. The main idea is tomake it easy for both parties to extend and amend the project simply byagreeing on additional milestones. These can be added anytime.
To add milestones in an accepted project, go to View Project > Milestones tab.
If the freelancer requests milestone, the status would bePending Payment. This means that the customer needs to pay this milestone firstas a form of acceptance. If the customer creates milestone, he/she must payafterward to confirm it.
3.7.2 Completion of Milestones
After the Milestone has been paid, status will change to “Paid”. The Freelancer can now submit the work required to the Customer then after push Delivered button on the left of the Milestone. This would change the milestone status to Delivered.
Upon checking the delivered work, the Customer must react within a given timeframe which could be set by going to Freelance Marketplace > Settings > Main Settings > Automatic Project Delivery (Days). Here, the site admin can set how many days the Customer has before the project/milestone will be automatically accepted by him.
Now the customer can check if the required work is met and if yes, he/she can now push Release button to accept and if not, push the Reject button instead. When a milestone has been rejected, the freelancer can simply redeliver the required work.
Every time a milestone has been released, it triggers payment to the Freelancers account which increases the Available Amount he/she can request to withdraw in the future. This amount can be seen at Freelancer Dashboard > Payments.
3.7.3 Opening Disputes
Conflicts and Misunderstandings may arise between customerand freelancer of a project. These negative issues might cause serious problemson the ongoing project. Thus, a Dispute Process has been made in order toeasily report any misunderstandings, and therefore take action for it. The ideafor this is that both parties have an opportunity to bring forward theirarguments and that the platform operator will need to serve as the judgebetween the parties.
Either parties can open a dispute. How? Simply go to View Project, and click on the Dispute Tab. Push the button Open Dispute and fill-out the fields. Click again on the Open Dispute, and you’re done!
Note: The site admins can add predefined DisputeReasons on the backend settings which will be discussed later on.
In order to settle the Dispute, both parties, including thesite admin/operator, must come and agree to a fair decision that will help endthe argument. After that, and if they are ready to resume working accordinglywith the project again, the party who submitted the Dispute can simply go to Project View > Dispute > CloseDispute.
3.7.4 Messaging System
This is one good feature of our plugin which help maintainsmooth communication between customers and freelancers.
a) Upon bid submission, customers will immediately have thecapacity to send that freelancer a message. It enables the customer to:
- Ask some questions to the freelancer
- Clarify any misunderstandings with the ProjectInstruction
- Provide further information
- Know if the freelancer is actually qualified
- Answer freelancer’s question and many others
When the freelancer is online, he/she will receive a popupnotification located on upper right corner of the page, which says a newmessage has been received. Also, even if the freelancer is either online oroffline, he/she will receive an email about a new message received.
b) When the bid is accepted, tabs will appear on the View Project including Messages tab. Both users can communicate there and even make attachments.
c) Messages can also be accessed on the users Dashboard >Messages. On the left of the screen, it shows all conversations the users had,on the middle, the message view when opened, and at the right of the screen, itshows the following:
- Name of the user you’re talking to in thecurrent opened message
- Number of reviews this user has
- User Skills
- User Time zone
- User Bio
Right here, you can also see if the user is currently online or offline. Green dot on the user’s profile image means online, and gray dot if offline.
3.7.5 Documentation and Files
When the project was first created by the Customer, he has the option to upload necessary document and files that could be relevant for the project. Take note that the number of files the customer can upload during project submission are set by the site admins at Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Main Settings > File upload limit.
Once the project has been accepted, these documents will be stored and can be seen on View Project > Documents tab. In this tab, you can see details like the Project File Name, Date and Uploaded By.
During Project Execution, the Customer and Freelancer can add more documents and files by uploading through the Chat Message. The site admins can also set the Maximum Upload File Size a user can upload by going to Freelancer Marketplace > Settings > Main Settings > Maximum file size.
The Timeline tab shows the user a visual representation of everything that is happening in the project. It shows updates on every action a party has done such as milestone creation, payment, delivery, accept, reject, rating submitted, dispute opened/closed and any other actions related to the project.
In this tab, you can see the title of the action done, andthe date and time it was executed. This way, the users can have a quick glancewith what happened in a span of time.
3.8 Paying Freelancers
Now, your question might be how would the freelancers getpaid?
When a Customer accepted a Project Bid, the Site Admin willtemporarily safe keep that amount he/she paid during Checkout. The amount donot directly and automatically transfer to the winning Freelancer’s account. Thisis to make sure that the Freelancer will keep his/her promise by working on theproject first before getting paid.
Now during Project Execution, when a Customer releases acertain milestone, the corresponding amount will be automatically credited tothe Freelancer’s Available Amount. This means that the Customer must release ProjectMilestones in order for the Freelancers to get paid.
Anytime, Freelancers can visit and check their AvailableBalance by going to Freelancer Dashboard> Payments. In this tab,you can see the following:
- Available Amount: This amount is the current total balance of your unpaid earnings.
- Request Withdrawal button: Clicking here will send an email to the site admins and requests that you wish to get paid of the available amount you have.
- Withdrawals: This now shows that you have submitted your withdrawal request. It also include the amount requested and the withdrawal status.
- Account Balance: This shows a list of all transactions showing the credit and debit activity on your balance.
If the Freelancernow wishes to get paid, he/she can simply click on Request Withdrawal button, which will trigger an email to besent to site admins that he/she wishes to get paid. The site admins will nowproceed on paying by depositing the amount through PayPal. After that, the siteadmins can now mark this payment request as paid in the Admin Settings, bywhich the Freelancer will be notified once again.
3.9 Closing a Project
When all milestones are paid, delivered and accepted and disputes are all settled, now it may be the time to close the project. This means that all work is done and completed. It is very easy to close a project by going to View Project > Close Project Tab. A popup will appear to confirm whether you are sure or not in closing the project.
3.10 Rating a User
Rating a user after project completion is very importantbecause it gives an idea to subsequent possible project partners of this userof how is it working with them, or any positive and negative experience orfeedback towards them.
Rating a user is possible at any time in principle, forexample, when the Project has just been accepted, during project execution andespecially when the project is closed.
When a project has already been marked as completed, both users will be redirected to the Rating tab on Project View. Here, they can highlight how many stars to give the user they worked with (Lowest 1, Highest 5) and they may add a comment regarding overall experience with the project and towards the user.
Star ratings will appear on every Detailed Profile View of both the customers and freelancers, and mostly near their Profile Image so other users can easily see and check their ratings.