I Hired Two Freelancers at Opposite Price Points – Guess Who Impressed Me More?

I could discuss the intricacies of freelancing and the pricing of freelance services for hours. Having been a solo freelancer, collaborated with other freelancers on multiple projects, and now frequently hiring freelancers for outsourcing work, I've seen all sides of the industry. A major factor in selecting a freelancer is undoubtedly the price. In today's global marketplace, the cost spectrum is vast. For instance, Webflow developers on Upwork may charge anywhere from $5 to $150 USD per hour, with individuals at both ends of this range boasting impeccable ratings and reviews. So, how does one make an informed choice?

In this post, I won’t provide a definitive answer to this complex question due to the multitude of variables at play, including the often unpredictable element of luck. However, I want to share insights from a recent project where I deliberately hired two freelancers for the same task—one at a lower hourly rate and the other at a higher one—to observe the outcomes.

The Experiment

Screenshot with Original job description as it was posted on Upwork
Original job description as it was posted on Upwork

Upon posting the job on Upwork, I received nearly 50 proposals within three days. After the initial screening, I weeded out generic applications and those lacking specific research examples or even a mention of the possibility to provide such examples. After the second round of screening, I weeded out applicants whose keyword research examples were nowhere close to my expectations.

Finally, I narrowed it down to two candidates: one charged $65 USD per hour, and the other $5 USD per hour.

Both were given the same detailed task, with unlimited time to ask clarifying questions and complete the work. I was keen to see the results, not as a competition but as an exploration of differing approaches and communication strategies. I anticipated variances, particularly as the freelancers originated from geographically diverse business cultures. However, I expected the final outcomes to be somewhat similar, given that the research was focused on the same US market.

The Results

The critical distinction lay in each freelancer’s ability to understand my needs. It's often said that successful service providers are those who solve their clients' problems, and this experience underscored that point. In private communications, both attempted to grasp my requirements, but only one truly comprehended the essence: I didn’t just need a plethora of keywords; I needed a manageable, high-quality list that could be seamlessly integrated into blog posts, ensuring each article could rank well.

Freelancer #1 delivered exactly what I needed, providing 50 keywords that could serve as the basis for 50 keyword-centric blog topic suggestions. In contrast, Freelancer #2 produced a list of nearly 500 keywords, many of which were either duplicates with slightly altered word order or meaningless keyword chains. The former presented a near-complete content plan for the upcoming quarter, while the latter's output left me bewildered and scratching my head.

Moreover, while both freelancers offered implementation advice, Freelancer #1's guidance was directly tied to the research, presented as notes within the document. In contrast, Freelancer #2's suggestions were more generalized and less applicable to my specific project.

Despite both being responsive, equipped with the necessary tools, and clearly knowledgeable in their field, the difference in the usefulness of their deliverables was stark.


Ultimately, Freelancer #1 solved my problem, charging $200 USD for three hours of work. Freelancer #2, on the other hand, took six hours and cost $30 USD but left me with information yet unresolved task. When factoring in the additional time I spent analyzing Freelancer #2’s work, the cost difference narrowed significantly and possibly even exceeded the total charged by Freelancer #1.

The global market has undoubtedly shifted our perception of service pricing, offering a broader choice spectrum. However, opting for the cheapest provider isn't always prudent. Companies that do so often expend significant internal resources to refine the work or, alternatively, compromise on quality. My experience illustrates that cheapest options aren't always a cheaper one in the long run.

At Rapid Fire Web Studio, we strive for a balance between cost-efficiency and high-quality output. Leveraging my team's and my own extensive experience, we aim to identify and engage talented individuals for our projects without compromising on quality, embodying our core value of delivering exceptional service that aligns with both budget and high standards. Trust us to find the balance, allowing you to concentrate on what truly matters – your business strategies, not your business tactics.

Written By
Karina Demirkilic
Founder | Lead Developer and Designer