BEIRUT: Freelancing is taking the region by storm. Currently, seven out of ten professionals in the MENA region think freelancing is a good option to earn more revenue while 55 percent of professionals see freelancers as having the ability to earn more than full-timers, according to Bayt.com a leading job site in the region.
Ramzi Jreidini decided to take advantage of this trend to launch Handiss.com, an online hiring platform dedicated to freelancers in the construction market. "The market is lacking a sort of bridge between independent professionals and companies with pending projects and that's where we come in," Jreidini told Annahar.
The platform, launched in January 2017, acts as a direct link between independent engineers, architects and other technical professionals with companies and projects on a freelance basis within the construction industry.
"Most engineers and architects seek freelance projects in addition to their full-time job. However, companies rarely hire freelancers and only those whom they can trust," he said, adding that "our platform aims at solidifying trust between companies and freelance engineers, and giving these freelancers a chance to market themselves."
The process is rather simple, there are two sections found on the website when applying, one for freelancers and the other for the companies. For independent professionals, all they have to do is create a free account, fill in their information, resumes, work portfolios or examples of their work and start browsing for jobs within their area of expertise.
When they apply for a certain project a popup will allow them to input their bid price and with a brief cover letter to send to companies. If the client likes an application and profile, the freelancer can be contacted through Handiss' integrated messaging system where both parties can discuss the job requirement, negotiate terms, and exchange contact information.
Freelancers can even look deeper by filtering their search for required skills and services, while the website will also recommend freelancers to projects that are related to their fields of expertise which would pop-up on the platform's home page.
For companies, they also have to create a free account and provide information to complete their profile. Then, they can start posting job opportunities in one or several projects.
The platform, which was initially funded by its three founders, managed to secure an investment of $15,000 from Kafalat – a Lebanese financial company that assists small and medium companies to access commercial bank funding – which then paved the way to its quick launch and implementation.
Currently, Handiss is available free of charge. However, its team intends to introduce a monthly registration fee proportional to the number of project bids submitted by each professional. The founders are also considering charging a commission per completed online transaction.
"Right now, companies and freelancers are dealing with payment on their own terms but soon enough we will integrate a payment method on the website which will be powered by Bank Audi," Jreidini said.
The platform, which currently hosts more than 250 freelancers, also offers both companies and freelancers the ability to review and rate each other based on previous work experiences, work portfolio, software skills, educations, location, years of experience, and other factors they may deem required.
The Handiss team is looking to acquire additional investments in their platform and will be looking to use the funds to enhance their marketing strategy, develop a new mobile app and research new ways to monetize on the platform.
"We want to expand the Handiss community by featuring new projects or products, and by introducing new tools aimed at career orientation and education," Jreidini told Annahar.
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