“Pros” and “Cons” of the Best 65 Free Tools for Freelancers

Alexandra Cote

Written by

Alexandra Cote

Read Time

24 minutes

Whether you’re a freelance designer, software developer, blogger, writer, or marketer, you’ll come across the need to use a diversity of tools to solve your problems. Most of these tools have paid versions too, but you should see for yourself if the extra features are worth paying for.

We know that freelance tools are not always free. That’s why we decided to make a list of the best free tools for freelancers and individual users.

We have thoroughly tested and chosen the most useful applications from the most popular categories and showcased our own picks. To make it easier for you to decide which tool to test, we analyzed the positive and negative aspects of each tool.

If you’re looking for a bit of help, here’s our list of the best free tools for freelancers (click on each category to skip directly to it):

Task and Project Management

Task and project management tools can help you organize your individual personal or work-related tasks. This will ensure that you’re on track with all of your task deadlines, clients, and project deliveries.

Our pick: Paymo

Paymo

Project management app with time tracking and invoicing features that supports project delivery from start to finish.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • accounting module
  • timesheet reports
  • Kanban boards
  • desktop and mobile apps for time tracking
  • Adobe CC extension
  • file sharing
  • free community support

Cons:

  • the free plan only allows users to create up to 3 invoices
  • only 1 GB of storage for the free accounts
  • no advanced task management for the free plan
  • integrations only available with paid plans

Get your free Paymo account.

If you want to learn more, read this in-depth review.

Todoist

Create to-do and task lists to organize your work on a daily basis.

Pros:

  • clear UI
  • simple to use
  • available on all devices
  • works offline
  • integrations with tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, and more
  • recurring tasks and collaboration features are included in the free plan

Cons:

  • no labels with the free version
  • productivity charts only with Premium accounts
  • no automatic reminders for free users
  • only Premium members can create their own project templates and custom task views
  • no automatic backup for the free version

Trello

Kanban-board based project management for individuals and teams alike.

Pros:

  • easy to use and add new members
  • simple layout
  • unlimited boards, lists, cards, checklists, add attachments
  • real-time collaboration with unlimited team members
  • available on all devices
  • integrations with tools like Gmail, Google Drive, Salesforce, Evernote, and others

Cons:

  • no advanced features
  • no exporting option for the free plan
  • too many cards and columns can make your board cluttered
  • only 1 Power-Up/board with the free plan
  • free users can only attach files with a limit of up to 10 MB
  • you don’t have much control over security as data at rest encryption, 2-factor authentication, and other custom privacy setting are only available with paid plans

Wunderlist

Cloud-based task management that allows you to create to-do lists and manage them easily.

Pros:

  • available on any device
  • easy to create and share task lists
  • clear interface
  • 256-bit SSL Sync
  • supports collaboration
  • useful integrations with tools such as Slack, HipChat, Zapier, and more

Cons:

  • no geotagging
  • limited collaboration features for free users
  • with the free plan you don’t get any business features like centralized billing
  • limited customization options

Any.do

Task management tool to organize your daily personal or work-related activities and to help you improve your productivity.

Pros:

  • easy to create tasks and sub-tasks
  • user-friendly interface
  • daily review feature
  • push reminders
  • voice recording

Cons:

  • no advanced features
  • few integrations
  • limited collaboration for free users
  • the free account only lets you attach files up to 1.50 MB
  • if you want to use it on more than one device you’ll need a Premium account
  • the theme is customizable only for paying users
  • the free versions is limited to 5 Any.do moments each month

Time Tracking

Your free tools list must include a time tracking app if you want to invoice your clients based on your worked time. A time tracker can be paired with a reporting module and an accounting feature to make the entire invoicing process faster.

Our pick: Harvest

harvest

A time tracking and invoicing tool to ease project delivery and billing.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • visual reports
  • clear interface
  • available on all devices
  • unlimited invoices and estimates
  • project budget alerts
  • bank-level security
  • integrations with over 100 apps including Xero and QuickBooks

Cons:

  • the free version can be used by only 1 person and for 2 projects
  • you can’t upload your company logo, import data, or attach files to invoices if you don’t have a paid account
  • unlimited projects and clients only come with the paid plans
  • all plans have to pay separately for the scheduling feature (Forecast)

Find more about Harvest from this short review.

Toggl

A time tracker that comes with visual reports and team insights for any company size or freelancers.

Pros:

  • visual reports and insights
  • easy to use
  • clear intuitive interface
  • available on all devices, as well as a Chrome extension
  • integrations with tools such as GitHub and Freshbooks

Cons:

  • no time tracking reminders
  • no accounting or invoicing module
  • limited team management for free users
  • limited project management for free users
  • free users get limited reporting

TSheets

A portable time-tracking solution that comes with a facial recognition system.

Pros:

  • unlimited projects
  • available on all devices
  • GPS timestamps
  • real-time, payment, and project report
  • integrations with Xero, QuickBooks, Gusto, and other tools
  • Safe Harbor certified and TLS encrypted data

Cons:

  • no invoicing or accounting module
  • you’ll have to pay USD 1 for scheduling with higher plans

Tomato Timer

Many freelancers use the Pomodoro Technique to maintain their productivity.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • clear interface
  • desktop notifications

Cons:

  • lacks advanced features
  • there are no reports
  • no mobile apps
  • can’t be used for invoicing your time

TopTal TopTracker

For all of you who work on TopTal, here’s their own time tracker. You can use it even if you work on other platforms.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • timed screenshots and webcam shots that can be accepted or rejected by the user
  • activity level tracking and reports
  • entirely free
  • clear UI

Cons:

  • no accounting or invoicing module
  • no mobile apps

Image Editing

Classic image editing software can be costly. However, most free tools are easy to use and will do the photo editing and visual content making job in less time.

Our pick: Canva

canva

Graphic design tool that lets you easily create visual content through quick drag-and-drop actions.

Pros:

  • extremely simple to use
  • quick creation process
  • clean and intuitive user-friendly UI
  • many free templates and design elements that are constantly updated
  • easy to save and share content
  • you can invite up to 10 people within the free plan

Cons:

  • you are not allowed to use the free version for commercial purposes or to get any kind of revenue
  • no advanced features
  • you still have to pay for some templates and design elements
  • the free version doesn’t allow you to resize a piece of content once you’ve chosen its size
  • you can’t save your brand colors or add your own fonts and logo with the free subscription
  • you only get 2 free folders to organize your content

Take a look at this video review of Canva from Neil Matthews.

Pixlr

Free online image and design editor that allows you to create visual content quickly (with Pixlr Express) or in detail (with Pixlr Editor).

Pros:

  • simple to learn and use
  • quick and responsive
  • user-friendly interface
  • extensive list of special effects and filters to choose from
  • easy to share
  • has some advanced features such as blending modes, layers, brushes, curves, or levels
  • full-screen mode
  • available on all devices

Cons:

  • with effects you get no control over the image’s details
  • you need a membership to unlock other transformations
  • you need Internet connection to use it
  • ads if you don’t have a membership
  • non-members don’t get access to certain advanced features like brush masks or influence masks

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe’s free version of their popular Photoshop tool is available online but lacks the complex features on the extensive paid software.

Pros:

  • available on mobile devices
  • easy to use and share photos
  • pre-set filters
  • no registration needed to edit
  • great integration with other Adobe products and Google Photos
  • great integrations with social media and photo-showcasing websites
  • collage feature

Cons:

  • lacks advanced features and special effects
  • you’ll need a Creative Cloud subscription to use some features
  • doesn’t support all raw camera formats

Gimp

Open-source image editor that can be used as a replacement for the paid Adobe Photoshop.

Pros:

  • advanced functionalities
  • multiplatform
  • free upgrades
  • handles most picture formats available for display and export
  • constantly updated and optimized
  • customizable through plugins and scripts
  • can be installed on as many computers as you’d like

Cons:

  • cluttered interface
  • more difficult to learn how to use
  • outdated documentation
  • slow development of features

BeFunky

One-click photo editor to help you create images quickly and save you time.

Pros:

  • easy to learn and use
  • user-friendly interface
  • many photo effects
  • no account required to edit photos
  • multiple photos upload
  • free layouts and clip art images
  • available on all devices

Cons:

  • lacks advanced features
  • no full-screen mode for the free version
  • the free resolution limit is up to 2500 × 2500px
  • not all features and layouts are free (you’ll need a Plus account)
  • ads for free users

Prototyping

Most useful for web designers or front-end developers, prototyping tools help you create UI and UX designs from scratch and collaborate with your team members or clients for better results.

Our pick: ViewFlux

viewflux

Used for feedback, prototyping, and collaboration directly on top of your designs. It helps you organize your entire design process from prototyping to delivery from a single tool.

Pros:

  • get complete access to previous design versions and client feedback
  • easy to use
  • simple interface
  • real-time collaboration
  • connect with Dropbox to store your designs
  • notifications via email to update you on status of your designs

Cons:

  • the free plan is limited to only one user and one active project
  • no custom branding with the free and Freelancer plan
  • not available on mobile devices

Have another look at ViewFlux through this review.

Figma

Tool that allows you to create and collaborate on designs at the same time.

Pros:

  • simple to use
  • no need to download although you can use it as a desktop app too
  • unlimited files and viewers
  • quick and easy file sharing
  • vector networks

Cons:

  • the free plan only allows up to 2 editors and 3 projects
  • unlimited version history comes only with paid subscriptions
  • you need to be signed in to use this tool
  • no plugins and few integrations

Webflow

Online tool that aims to help you design, prototype, and launch responsive websites using working code.

Pros:

  • free staging
  • extensive options for the platform
  • unlimited hosted projects
  • more than 100 templates to choose from
  • you can bill client for hosting and other changes directly from Webflow
  • supports SEO

Cons:

  • complex interface requires software development skills or knowledge
  • the free plan allows you to create only 2 unhosted projects
  • no code export option with the free plan
  • you can’t protect your website with a password with free subscriptions
  • white-labeling available only with the Pro plan

InVision

Create digital products and workflows and collaborate on them.

Pros:

  • web-based so you don’t need to download it
  • easy to use
  • clear interface
  • secured with 128 bit SSL encryption and daily backups
  • integrations with tools such as Sketch, Dropbox, Slack, and more

Cons:

  • slow loading time especially for the mobile version
  • one prototype limit for the free plan
  • no support for wireframing
  • no responsive design features

Marvel

Design prototyping and collaboration for all devices.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • no need to download it
  • unlimited commenting
  • integrations with tools such as Slack, Dropbox Paper, Google Drive, and many more
  • Sketch plugin feature

Cons:

  • 1 user and 2 projects limit for the free plan
  • you can’t download your prototypes with the free subscription
  • the free plan doesn’t let you remove Marvel’s branding
  • with the free subscription plan you can’t protect your prototypes using a password

Writing

If you’re a freelance writer, you know that the right tool can make a difference. That is why writing tools that can make your work easier and more enjoyable will help you create better content for yourself or your clients without much hassle.

Our pick: Grammarly

grammarly

Grammarly is one of the free tools for freelancers that underlines writing mistakes and suggests possible corrections. It does plagiarism-detection and proofreading using more than 250 grammar rules.

Pros:

  • available on all devices and as a Chrome extension
  • you get the explanation for each grammar, spelling, or punctuation rule you got wrong
  • receive stats via email to review your performance and to compare it to other Grammarly users
  • can be integrated with Microsoft Office (only for Windows users)
  • adapts to American, British, Australian, or Canadian English

Cons:

  • currently available only for the English language
  • the Chrome extension doesn’t work on all websites or in tools such as Google Docs
  • the free plan doesn’t correct advanced mistakes
  • no vocabulary or style enhancement suggestions come with a free subscription

Find out more about how Grammarly can help you develop your writing.

Hemingway Editor

Web-based app that analyzes your writing’s readability, mistakes, and sentence structures to make your content clearer.

Pros:

  • no need to install it although there is a desktop app available
  • simple interface
  • very easy to use
  • clear color-coded text highlights and explanations
  • quick text analysis

Cons:

  • doesn’t check your grammar
  • only available for texts written in English
  • suggested word alternatives don’t always match a word’s context
  • not yet available on mobile devices

Google Docs

Online document creation and editing tool provided by Google.

Pros:

  • no need to install it on your computer
  • simple to use
  • automatically saves your files and progress in the cloud
  • easy collaboration feature
  • you can set editing, commenting, and viewing preferences according to each user
  • you can install add-ons to suit your extra needs

Cons:

  • 15 GB storage limit through Google Drive
  • unless you allow offline work from Google Drive, you won’t be able to save anything in Google Docs without Internet connection
  • you must be logged into your Google account to use it
  • no advanced style and formatting options

Apache OpenOffice

Open-source productivity tool for content creation and document writing.

Pros:

  • simple to use
  • no license needed
  • can be installed on as many PCs as you want
  • open source
  • user interface in over 40 languages
  • reads all major files from other text editor competitors

Cons:

  • must be downloaded, doesn’t work in any browser
  • compatibility-wise, formatting won’t always be displayed correctly when sending it to someone who has Microsoft Office

Headline Analyzer

A simple tool created by CoSchedule to check your headlines’ quality and possible success.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • headline history so you can have a second look at the previously analyzed headlines
  • tips to improve your score
  • unlimited searches

Cons:

  • can’t analyze a headline like a human would
  • requires an Internet connection to work
  • not always accurate

Marketing

There are many free marketing tools out there but you’ll need a website or business to start promoting. Alternatively, you can use these online tools to promote your own services and get more clients.

Our pick: Google Analytics

google_analytics

Google’s very own traffic analysis tool for websites, apps, and even offline data.

Pros:

  • detailed data
  • easy to create reports
  • can be connected to an AdWords account
  • you can create custom goals
  • allows data importing

Cons:

  • you must own a domain to install the Google Analytics tracking code
  • limited customization
  • you need to learn how to use it correctly
  • the interface might be too cluttered for a beginner
  • not free for companies with high traffic volume

Find out more about how you can use Google Analytics to grow your business.

Hootsuite

A social media management platform that allows you to schedule posts, curate content, and monitor social media activity.

Pros:

  • easy-to-use interface
  • wide range of social media channels you can connect to
  • weekly analytics reports received through emails
  • no need to install it
  • can be integrated with over 150 tools and apps
  • available on all devices and as a browser extension

Cons:

  • you can only connect 3 social media accounts to Hootsuite with the free plan
  • paid plans might require some learning as they provide more features
  • you can only schedule up to 30 posts with the free plan

Buffer

Web and mobile tool to help you manage your social media accounts through scheduling, content creation, content curation, and social analytics.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • no need to install it
  • simple interface
  • comes with a free image creation tool
  • available on all devices and as a browser extension
  • custom URL shortener and possibility to connect it to Bitly

Cons:

  • you can only connect one social media account with the free plan
  • you can only schedule up to 10 posts for each social account with the free plan
  • even the paid plans limit your social accounts, scheduled posts, and team members
  • you can’t connect the free plan to an RSS feed
  • the free plan does not come with analytics features

TweetDeck

Currently owned by Twitter, TweetDeck is a social media tool that allows you to schedule tweets and monitor your Twitter activity from a single dashboard.

Pros:

  • can be connected to multiple Twitter accounts
  • entirely free tool
  • very easy to understand and use
  • no need to download the tool
  • unlimited tweets scheduling

Cons:

  • only for Twitter users
  • collaboration is not supported
  • no analytics reports or data
  • no image editing option

MailChimp

A tool that helps you create and run email campaigns, landing pages, and ads.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • free reports and analytics
  • templates to choose from
  • can be integrated with tools such as Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, Salesforce, and many more
  • available on all devices

Cons:

  • free only if you have less than 2,000 subscribers
  • you can only send up to 12,000 emails/month with the free plan
  • campaigns display differently for each email service provider
  • limited design features for advanced users
  • your account can be suspended if you get too many spam complaints or unsubscriptions

Google Search Console

Formerly known as Google Webmasters, this tool allows you to optimize your website for search engines and monitor your presence in Google’s Search results.

Pros:

  • can be used to verify your site’s ownership with Google
  • easily upload XML sitemaps
  • an insightful look at the keywords your users search for to find your website
  • can be used to submit pages for indexing
  • can be used for other SEO purposes such as to find crawl errors, duplicate or missing HTML elements, pages blocked from bots, or to disavow bad link

Cons:

  • you need to own a domain to install it
  • requires technical knowledge
  • you can only see the data from the previous 90 days

LSIGraph

An online tool that generates LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords to boost the SEO performance of your content.

Pros:

  • clear interface
  • fast
  • simple to understand and use

Cons:

  • 3-searches daily limit unless you verify your account, 20 searches if you add your email
  • the tools is automated so keywords don’t always relate to the content you’re writing
  • doesn’t do anything else other than suggesting keywords

Organization

If you’re always on the run, you might not have time to do everything you want or to read every single article you see. For this, you can use certain free tools to help you organize important notes and documents that you want to come back to in the future.

Our pick: Evernote

evernote

Mobile and web app created to help you organize your work, take notes, create task lists, and archive your ideas.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • intuitive interface
  • available on all devices and as a Chrome extension
  • shareable notes
  • search for text inside images feature
  • secure the mobile app with a passcode
  • cloud data storage and backup
  • geotagging

Cons:

  • the free version only syncs across 2 devices
  • you can upload up to only 60 MB with the free version
  • you can’t add password protection to individual notes
  • not designed for larger documents
  • no audit trail

Check out this full review of Evernote to find out if this tool is right for you.

Google Keep

Google’s free note-taking and list-making app that syncs the notes on all of your devices.

Pros:

  • available on all devices and as a Chrome extension
  • easy to use
  • clear interface
  • supports collaboration
  • possibility to set reminders
  • geotagging
  • the default language can be changed to any of Google’s supported languages
  • no need to create a separate account as it’s automatically connected to your Google account

Cons:

  • you need a Google account to use it
  • there are no advanced features
  • optimized only for small notes as it doesn’t accept documents like PDF or Microsoft Office files

Pocket

This Mozilla browser extension allows you to manage your saved web pages and articles so that you’ll be able to read them later.

Pros:

  • available on all devices and as a Chrome extension
  • easy to use
  • clear interface
  • recommended content and content exploration features
  • integrates with over 500 apps
  • quick save service so you can save each Twitter post you like directly from Twitter
  • bookmarks can be exported as an HTML file

Cons:

  • lacks advanced features
  • you can’t add notes
  • you can’t access your library without adding the page you’re on with the browser extensions

Feedly

An online tool that compiles articles according to your interests to make sure that you keep up with the latest news.

Pros:

  • clear interface
  • simple to use
  • available on all devices and as a Chrome extension
  • customizable through different layouts
  • content and blog recommendations
  • you can import OPML files

Cons:

  • you only get access to 100 sources with the free plan
  • only 3 feeds and 3 boards can be created using a free subscription
  • integrations only available with paid plans
  • you can’t share collections with the free plan

File Sharing and Storage

Working with multiple files at once can sometimes get messy. This is why it’s best that you use cloud-based file storage tools to securely keep your documents and to make sure you won’t lose any of them.

Our pick: Google Drive

google_drive

Google’s cloud-backup service where all files and data from your Google accounts are stored.

Pros:

  • clean interface
  • syncs across devices
  • easy to organize your files
  • available on mobile devices as well
  • great collaboration and user roles feature

Cons:

  • limited to 15 GB for the free account
  • requires a Google account
  • not all tools integrate with Google Drive yet so adding files can take longer than it would with just a simple click
  • file size limits

Here’s how you can use Google Drive to organize your writing assignments.

Dropbox

File hosting service that helps you get access to your files and data anywhere and from any device.

Pros:

  • easy to access on all devices
  • simple to use
  • you can automatically add photos and videos from your mobile device once you take them
  • scanning option to save physical documents in a PDF format
  • shareable folders and links

Cons:

  • not all tools have an integration with Dropbox so adding files might take longer than with just a simple click
  • only 2 GB of free storage (there are some ways of earning more space)
  • with the free plan you can’t access mobile offline folders
  • you can’t manage the access to files with passwords or expiration dates for plans lower than the Professional one
  • you only get to restore the files from the previous 30 days with the free and Plus plans

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft’s file-hosting service that allows you to store your documents and even your Microsoft information.

Pros:

  • advanced syncing across devices
  • available on mobile as well
  • easy organization
  • you can automatically add photos and videos from your mobile device when you take them
  • shareable files and user roles
  • great integration with Skype
  • choose the tool’s language from the various Microsoft default languages

Cons:

  • 5 GB storage limit with the free plan
  • you only get to restore the files from the previous 30 days with personal accounts
  • privacy concerns as there’s no at-rest encryption for home users
  • you need a Microsoft account to use it

WeTransfer

A tool that helps you send files via email or through public file links.

Pros:

  • user-friendly
  • simple interface
  • files are sent without the need for you to sign up or even log in
  • multiple file submission
  • non-intrusive ads for the free version
  • file messages

Cons:

  • you can only send up to 2 GB at a time with the free plan
  • password protection only with the Plus plan
  • the free plan doesn’t allow you to customize channels
  • only available in English
  • no encryption for free users
  • free users can’t create an account
  • mobile apps only for free accounts

Tresorit

A cloud-storage tool with enhanced security through data encryption.

Pros:

  • excellent security and client-side patented encryption tested by hackers
  • available on all devices (the free plan limits you to using only one device)
  • modern design
  • available worldwide

Cons:

  • you can’t create more than one folder with the free (Reader) plan
  • 1 GB free storage space with the free plan
  • password-protected links only with business accounts
  • you won’t be able to share folders or change user permissions with a free plan
  • to access folder links you’ll need an account
  • expensive pricing for the paid plans

Invoicing and Expenses

No freelancing job is complete without invoicing your client. For this, you’ll need a tool with an accounting module to keep track of your payments, expenses, and estimates. Finally, you’ll need to create invoices based on accurate time reports. This is why the best invoicing tools are paired with time tracking feature.

Our pick: AND CO

andco

Recently acquired by Fiverr, AND CO is a resource and expense management tool created to suit the needs of freelancers.

Pros:

  • no subscription fees
  • no extra transaction fees
  • easy to use
  • no hidden paid plans

Cons:

  • standard transaction fees still apply
  • limited integrations so far

If you want to learn more, read this complete review of the tool.

Wave

Web-based financial service that provides invoicing and personal finance management to business with 1-9 employees.

Pros:

  • everything (except payroll for small businesses) is free
  • customizable invoices
  • receipt scanning tool
  • safe through 256-bit SSL encryption protection
  • available on mobile devices too
  • new recurring billing feature

Cons:

  • payments and credit card processing fees are applied
  • can’t make payments or use account without Internet connection

Mint

A complete online money manager for your credit score, budget, and bills.

Pros:

  • quick and simple to use
  • lets you pay your bills on the go from your PC, Android, or iOS device
  • integrated with the majority of US and Canadian banks and other financial institutions
  • secured with VeriSign scans

Cons:

  • doesn’t work outside of the US and Canada
  • its electronic payments are not accepted by all commercial agents

Invoicera

Online invoicing software that comes with time tracking, project and staff management, reporting, and more features.

Pros:

  • unlimited invoices and estimates
  • TSL security & firewall protection
  • multi-currency support
  • multiple language invoicing
  • unbranded emails
  • automatic reminders for payments and late fees

Cons:

  • only 3 active clients with the free plan
  • no API access for free accounts
  • no live customer support
  • the free plan is for only one user

Momenteo

Online quote, accounting, and invoicing software designed for freelancers.

Pros:

  • simple to use
  • calendar to visually display all activities
  • available on all devices
  • unlimited invoices, estimates, and expenses
  • track your travels to bill them or add them to your expenses

Cons:

  • the free plan doesn’t let you connect your account to PayPal or Stripe so payments can only be done offline (check or cash)
  • Momenteo branding displayed on invoices created with the free and Start plans
  • the free subscription plan only allows 2 active clients associated with an invoice

Payments

Other useful free tools for freelancers are payment gateways. For some, using traditional bank services for sending or receiving money can be too expensive. Online payment tools are cheaper alternatives that allow you to get paid on time with fewer costs.

Our pick: PayPal

paypal

Online payment system that allows you buy things, send money, and get paid from anywhere around the world.

Pros:

  • free account opening
  • you don’t pay additional fees when you use it to buy something
  • you don’t need to pay when you send money to someone with a PayPal account from your own PayPal account
  • free to receive and send money to family and friends in the US using your PayPal balance
  • access account from all devices
  • 24/7 account and data security
  • can be integrated with eCommerce shopping carts

Cons:

  • fees apply when you receive money into your account
  • additional withdrawal fees apply depending on your country or region
  • additional fees apply when you send or receive money using a credit or debit card
  • in the event of suspicious behavior, PayPal can freeze your account for several months
  • chargeback fees apply

Read more advantages and disadvantages of using PayPal.

Stripe

Online software that automates payments and can be used to create personalized payment flows.

Pros:

  • can be integrated with your website
  • allows you to customize your website’s checkout
  • supports payments on all devices
  • secured with the encryption of sensitive data and communication
  • no hidden fees

Cons:

  • available only in 25 countries at the moment
  • transaction fee charges apply
  • additional fees apply for international, credit, and debit cards
  • support for ACH and other global payments methods is offered for an additional fee
  • disputed payments incur a fee

Transferwise

Online money-transfer service that provides worldwide multi-currency accounts.

Pros:

  • bank-level tested security
  • user-friendly
  • regulated according to each country
  • no minimum transfer amount
  • informative online platform
  • real exchange rates
  • no hidden fees

Cons:

  • not all currencies are supported
  • fees for online transfers apply
  • transfers are not instant as they depend on a series of factors such as security checks or payment methods

Payoneer

Payment service solution that allows your clients and customers to pay you regardless of their location in the world.

Pros:

  • free to sign up
  • no hidden costs
  • clients are able to pay you in their own currency to avoid currency fees
  • customer assistance in over 35 languages
  • supports automated payments
  • Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard certification – Level 1
  • direct bank withdrawal

Cons:

  • you need to wait for your account to be approved
  • not all countries are served
  • additional fees apply depending on your account type

Skrill

Tool to help you make payments and transfer money through the Internet.

Pros:

  • free account creation
  • email and credit card transactions included
  • receiving money is free of charge
  • available on all devices
  • VIP programme levels with extra benefits
  • 2-factor authentication and information encryption according to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS Level 1)

Cons:

  • additional costs apply when you send money
  • fees apply for the withdrawal and upload of funds
  • a service fee of EUR 3.00 is applied if you don’t use your account for more than 12 months
  • limited language support

Customer Communication

Keeping track of communication with your clients has evolved from traditional emails and phone calls to complex tools that allow you to collaborate with them in real time and store your messages securely.

Our pick: Inbox by Gmail

inbox_google

A simple email aggregator that organizes all of your emails in bundles to remove the clutter.

Pros:

  • add reminders to ensure that you’ll always remember an important task
  • available on mobile devices as well
  • makes it easier to search for a specific word, subject, or person through all of your emails
  • helps you quickly identify spam and useless emails
  • after sending an email, you get 15 seconds to change your mind, click Undo, and therefore stop the email before it leaves you send the email

Cons:

  • only works with Gmail accounts
  • if you have multiple accounts, you have to switch between them as it doesn’t put together the emails from all of your accounts
  • limited storage – you won’t get additional storage space (the current storage limit for free Gmail accounts is 15GB)

See the results of this 8-month review of Inbox.

Calendly

Scheduling software that can help you save time and improve your service quality. You’ll no longer need to use emails and phone calls to schedule interviews, meetings, events, and more. Just send your calendar link to your clients and they’ll schedule an event during your suggest free times.

Pros:

  • calendar integrations with Google Calendar, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud
  •  unlimited events
  •  you can personalize the invitation links you send
  •  receive automated event notifications via email

Cons:

  • it’s not a conventional tool so customers who are not accustomed to it might find it difficult to use
  • no customization options for the free plan

Google Hangouts

Google’s very own communication tool can be used for live messaging, voice, and video calls.

Pros:

  • simple to use for 2 people or larger teams alike
  • browser-based so that all users can get quick access to the chat
  • invite even clients who don’t have a Google account to a Hangouts call
  • free Wi-Fi calling to any number in North America

Cons:

  • doesn’t support calls to certain countries
  •  video and audio quality issues might occur

Slack

Cloud-based team collaboration tool that aims to organize your communication through a shared workspace regardless of your employees’ location.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • can be connected to any app that has a Slack integration
  • on-screen notification settings
  • customizable workspace
  • fun emojis

Cons:

  • no possibility to invite temporary members (guest accounts) to your company’s Slack workspace with the free plan
  • search limited to up to 10k messages with the free plan
  • no groups calls with the free plan

Skype

Telecommunication tool that offers instant messaging, voice, and video calls for computers, laptops, tablets, phones, smartwatches, and Xbox One.

Pros:

  • simple to use
  • easy to install
  • clear UI
  • screen sharing option
  • unlimited message archive

Cons:

  • connectivity issues might occur
  • high bandwidth requirement
  • emergency calls are not supported, making traditional phone calls more reliable

World Time Buddy

A world clock and time zone converter that allows you to set accurate meeting times with people across the world.

Pros:

  • intuitive and easy to use
  • can be connected to Google Calendar
  • results can be shared via links

Cons:

  • doesn’t consider holidays unless you connect it to Google Calendar

join.me

Video conferencing tool for screen sharing, video communication, and online meetings.

Pros:

  • one-click screen sharing
  • personalized URLs for sharing
  • customizable meeting background

Cons:

  • 3 meeting participants and 3 video feeds limit for the free plan
  • connectivity issues might be a problem

Google Calendar

Manage events through a calendar that’s connected to your Google account.

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • available on any device
  • multiple calendars can be added to a single dashboard (including those of your co-workers)
  • can be used to send invitations

Cons:

  • you won’t receive event reminders if you’re not connected to the Internet
  • by default, you won’t receive notifications for flight events added from Gmail

appear.in

Video collaboration tool for remote and distributed teams. Freelancers can also use it to talk to up to 4 people at once with the free plan.

Pros:

  • easy setup
  • guests don’t have to register or download anything
  • screen sharing
  • available on any device
  • integrations with Trello, Slack, and YouTube

Cons:

  • connectivity issues might occur from time to time
  • the free plan doesn’t come with the branding option

Contracts

To stay on track with your government’s laws, you’ll need a tool to help you legally sign contracts with your clients. These tools for freelancers will also ensure that you’ll get paid the agreed-upon sum of money and that the client will receive the work they request.

Our pick: HelloSign

hellosign

Share contracts and sign them from anytime, anywhere. Contracts can be signed using your phone, by uploading a picture of your signature, or simply by drawing it with your mouse. You will then receive a copy of your contract and see it whenever you want to review its content.

Pros:

  • fast and easy-to-understand tool for contract signing
  • all plans come with Google Drive integration to stored files in the cloud-
  • you’ll get status notifications each time a change is made to the contract so that you’ll know exactly who has viewed or signed it
  • all documents are encrypted
  • all communications done through HelloSign come with SSL encryption to keep your data secure
  • available on mobile devices too

Cons:

  • the free plan allows only 3 documents to be sent each month
  • only one person will be able to send these contracts-
  • the other plans available are more expensive than the rest of the market alternatives.

See another brief review of this tool to find more about its advantages and disadvantages.

Bonsai

Keeps track of all your proposals, contracts, time tracking, invoices, and accounting from a single place.

Pros:

  • nice intuitive design that makes it easy for most freelancers to create and manage legal documents even if they don’t have experience with this
  • the content of the documents is automatically created once you answer a series of guided questions
  • a contract’s details, such as currency, adapt to your chosen country.

Cons:

  • currently only allows you to create documents in English
  • with the free plan, you’re allowed to have only one active project at a time and a maximum of 3 projects/year
  • you’ll get no branding possibilities and no reporting option unless you buy a better plan

Shake

Create legally binding documents according to their purpose. Some of the templates you can choose from include Freelance Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, Buy-Sell Agreements, Personal Property Rental Agreements, and more.

Pros:

  • simple to use
  • unlimited storage, number of contracts, and signatures with any plan
  • available on mobile devices

Cons:

  • the contracts are not as detailed as the ones provided by Shake’s alternative
  • no branding possibility
  • no status notifications

DocHub

Edit and sign PDFs and documents with DocHub’s eSignatures or Sign Requests.

Pros:

  • easy Google or Dropbox authentication
  • keep your data secured with 256-bit SSL encryption, OAuth 2.0 authentication, and encrypted storage
  • you get your own DocHub Public Page to share documents with the general public or a larger number of people (always check to see if your private contracts are not displayed on this page)

Cons:

  • the free plan supports only 5 documents/month, up to 3 signers/month, and only allows you to send 3 documents/day
  • you’re limited to a total number of 2000 documents/account
  • there are no predefined templates (you can import these from external sources)

Concord

Cloud-based tool that allows you to manage and automate your contracts’ entire lifecycle.

Pros:

  • clean modern interface
  • deadline alerts to make sure you don’t forget about a contract
  • detailed editor

Cons:

  • no analytics, advanced controls, data export, branding option, or integrations for the free plan
  • no predefined templates

Do you have any tool category or free tools for freelancers you’d like us to review? Drop us a line and we’ll get back to you. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and followers. Happy freelancing!

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pitrak

For client communication, I don’t like email at all. I use GLIP and it’s a great platform for (visual) communication with clients! While email is static, this is interactive communication, with remarks added to images. You can copy paste screenshots straight into glip, so it’s lightning fast as well.

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