What: ServiceScape connects freelance writers, editors, graphic designers and translators with clients who need their help. Clients range from immigration lawyers to students, book and screen writers to corporations.

Expected pay: You set it

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: 50%

Requirements: Valid credentials related to your profile. (Credentials could be degrees, work experience(s) or both.)

ServiceScape Review:

ServiceScape connects freelancers in writing, editing, translation and graphic design with people who need their help. The site’s clients can be almost anyone — students and academics looking for help with research papers; business people needing proposals and projects written or edited; and/or writers of books, screenplays and other manuscripts.

Pay

Freelancers set their own rates of pay, which revolve around standard terms. For instance, editors, writers and translators set their rates by the page, defined as 300 words or 600 Chinese, Korean (and other) characters. Graphic designers set their rates by product — i.e. $X for logo design; $Y for a business card or letterhead. 

However, the site takes half of the money you earn. So, you’ve got to factor that steep fee into your rates. That said, several freelancers that charge steep fees have copious positive reviews. So, it seems as if the prices are not a deterrent from winning work.

U.S. freelancers are paid once monthly through Gusto.

How it works

Freelancers set up their own profiles and determine their rates for various types of projects. Rates can — and do — also vary by deadline, with short-turnaround projects costing more than those that the freelancer has more time to complete.

Freelancers also determine when they are available and when they’re not. Those too busy to take immediate projects can put themselves on leave. But those who say they’re available are expected to check the site at least once daily for new work. If you’re available for rapid turn-around projects, you’re supposed to check the site even more frequently.

Freelancers also can post sample projects so that potential clients can get a feel for their work.

The good

We were impressed by the fact that several freelancers who reviewed the site on Glassdoor, noted that they had worked with the platform for many years. Several freelancer profiles on the site also indicated that they’d worked with ServiceScape for more than a decade. And many freelancers boasted of completing hundreds, even thousands, of projects through the site.

Long-term relationships and strong demand for freelance work are good signs. 

The bad

The site’s 50% commission rate is high, and only acceptable because it’s highly transparent, so freelancers can price it in.

That said, freelance rates appear to make up for the high fees. When reviewing the site, we checked rates for several different types of freelancers. Editors regularly charged $9 to $19 per edited page. Writers were charging $40 – $150 per page. Translators charged $20 – $25 per translated page. And designers charged anywhere from $50 to $250 per product. Given the time likely required for each of these tasks, these rates should generate a good hourly return even after site fees.

The ugly

ServiceScape expects freelancers to take unpaid “sample” projects. These sample projects cannot be more than 5 pages long; and if the client has asked for more than 5 samples in a three month period, declining the sample request does not count against you.

However, freelancers who want to reach “elite” status, are required to accept at least half of these sample requests. 

Our belief is that freelancers should never be asked to work for free. However, we did not see any complaints about the sample projects, so they may not pose great burden on freelancers working here. (If you have worked with this site and think otherwise, please let us know.)

Nonetheless, the requirement is the primary reason that ServiceScape gets only an “average” Husl$core, despite the generally positive reviews we see from freelancers who have worked here.

Recommendations

If you’re an editor, also check out Reedsy and PenguinFreelancers. If you’re a writer, consider Contently and Skyword. Graphic designers, translators and content creators can also find good work through FreeUp

What their users say (from Glassdoor)

I am a professional book editor, and I was looking for a freelance option to supplement my income. ServiceScape is a convenient way to attract new clients. The company takes care of all of the marketing and the associated costs and headaches. The only marketing freelancers have to do is to market themselves through their profiles. Since there is a good-size group of editors, you need to set yourself apart. It took me a month or two, but I found a good combination of self-description, portfolio, photo, and prices to start attracting a repeat client base. I am paid once a month by mailed check for the editing services I render the previous month.

The best thing about the job was that I could work at any time of the day or night as long as I made the deadline. They also give freelancers opportunities to write articles for them, which pay very well. The cons of working for Servicescape would probably be that you make 50% of what the client is paying per project. That being said, I’ve still managed to have $1,000 months with Servicescape and it doesn’t take too much of my time.

Translator review

Clients choose you so there are no complicated procedures to follow or bidding. Some translation services companies have minimums for transactions which can be frustrating for clients who want a less than one page/short document translated. There are no minimums here, so clients aren’t deterred and I receive more business. Clients submit projects of all lengths, and the smaller ones do really add up. Overall, I’m pleased with the site and how much money I have earned over last 6-7 years.

Flexible

Clients come to me. I don’t have to spend my (unpaid) time putting together a proposal only to be rejected because someone underbid me. All freelancers’ prices are clearly listed on their profiles, along with their verified experience, portfolios of work samples, and past clients’ ratings and reviews. And the company deals with all the financial aspects. which means I don’t have to track clients down to get them to pay. I have recommended four freelancers to ServiceScape, and three of them are still with the company (the fourth decided she was not ready to be a freelancer after all). For me, working for ServiceScape has given me all the freedoms of life as a freelancer without many of the risks inherent in owning my own company.

Sometimes, I want to (and have the ability to) work many hours a day. Other times, I want to take a few days off to take care of my family’s needs. ServiceScape provides me the opportunity to do that. I have been making a solid income for years and I am able to maintain a good work-life balance. I am very grateful to have found this opportunity!