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Free of charge: Freelancers’ Customers Study: Who are the clients?


The Zealancer group analysed who actually requests the project introductions. The majority of inquiries are made by industrial enterprises (19%), followed by the construction sector (11%) and agencies (9%). Other key requesting industries are engineering firms, consulting companies, start-ups and HR. The study also analysed, which type of projects are ordered in the different industries. (PDF, 2 pages, 91 KB).

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Freelancers’ Customers: One-Fifth of all Orders Come From Manufacturers

Who are the customers of freelancers? The Zealancer group analysed the project introductions of a whole quarter. The majority of inquiries are made by industrial enterprises (19%), followed by the construction sector (11%) and agencies (9%). Other key requesting industries are engineering firms, consulting companies, start-ups and HR. Our economy is more diversified than most of us think, which is reflected in requests for freelance work coming from many different sectors. The biggest seven market sectors together make-up just two-thirds of all project introductions.

Industrial enterprises (19 percent of all requests): In this sector, about one-third of all requests come from machine construction, followed by furniture manufacturing and the beverage industry (each one fifth). Further relevant areas are construction materials production and equipment manufacturing. Typical Freelance projects for industrial companies are translations of manuals, foreign language correspondence with foreign offices, technical integration of production systems and support in product development.

In the construction sector, which accounts for 11 percent of all inquiries, half of all orders come from private builders, followed by property developers, architects and real estate agents. The orders are mostly about building planning, refurbishment, interior design services and the creation of architecture brochures.

Agencies account for 9 percent of all inquiries. Customers are predominantly full-service advertising agencies, followed by specialised agencies (e.g. Internet marketing) and design agencies. Typical orders are for the creation of brochures and product visualisations, secretarial services and foreign-language telephone interviews.

Engineering firms provide 8 per cent of all buyers. Most requests come from engineering firms engaged in mechanical, electrical or electronic engineering. Engineering firms are usually relatively small (some of them, for example, are freelancers that are listed on Zealancer themselves) and often have a high need for outsourcing. Therefore many of the orders deal, for example, with the digitising of existing drawings/components, programming of machine control systems or assisting in construction layout.

Consulting firms (consultants, auditors, law firms and certification authorities) are responsible for 7 percent of all inquiries. Typical jobs requested by these companies include consulting work for their clients (subcontracting), the coordination of seminars and lectures, accounting services and receivables management.

Start-Ups make-up 7 percent of all orders. Many of the start-ups are in the area of ecommerce, social media, or retail stores. Some have not officially registered their business yet. Orders typically involve the creation of logos, stationery, brochures and websites.

The HR industry (recruitment firm) is responsible for 6 percent of all jobs. Zealancer does not introduce freelancer to other project brokers (freelancers usually do not like “sandwich contracts"). Therefore the projects here are about internal tasks in administration, event management or office space design.

All remaining industries in our list make-up 28 per cent of all requests. To start with, five other industries each contribute between three and five per cent of all introductions: retail, universities and educational institutions, event industry, beauty/fitness and photo agencies/studios. The five next sectors each account for between one and three percent of all requests: insurance companies, systems integrators, translation agencies, publishers, and restaurants/catering.

Finally, 6 per cent of all projects are coming from private individuals. Their projects are, for example, the maintenance of private computers, legal support, certified translations or the foreign language communication with authorities/companies in the country. Since these projects usually encompass just a few hours or days and follow-up projects are not very likely, private individuals are less popular customers, compared to industrial enterprises, where most orders last between 10 and 100 days.

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