The freelancer experience has until now been typified by making contacts and hoping that they require your services on a regular basis. And while this approach has seen freelancers make ends meet for generations, it isn't best case scenario for any of the parties involved. Freelancers are often left without work for long stints while agencies and clients might only have a limited list of potential workers, who might not always be available.
So, in a bid to make freelancing in the local market more accessible and practicable, Greig Cranfield, who has until now served as digital specialist recruiter at Razzbri, launched Yudoozy, an online recruitment service that links freelancers to clients.
“It’s a platform for contractors or freelancers to go onto and start up a profile, and it will allow them to update their availability and the skills they’ve been working on recently,” explains Cranfield.
This means that potential employers could gain instant access to the skill sets and schedules of available workers, streamlining the process of finding someone to fulfill a specific role on an ad-hoc basis. It's essentially based on a similar premise to Freelancer.com, with the key difference being that it will specifically target the local market here in New Zealand.
Yudoozy is free to freelancers and requires employers to sign up on a subscription model to access the talent registered on the system. Cranfield explains that other online services are based on a ‘bid for work’ overseas model or alternatively add a commission—and both these systems work against the freelancer charging a fair rate.
"Yudoozy is aiming to enable more people to go freelance without the fear of work drying up believing this will solve the skills issue facing a lot of New Zealand startups," Cranfield says.
Cranfield told StopPress that he has been thinking about launching the company since he lived in England several years ago, but progress was limited by funding. However, with the assistance of co-founder Trudi Batson (who also founded Razzbri six years ago), Cranfield has now been able to bring the idea to fruition.
When the company was still in its formative stage, Cranfield mentioned that it would be called Yudoo, but this has since been changed.
"Yudoo was very similar to 'YouDo', which is a Wellington software company we discovered before launch," explains Cranfield. "We'd been calling a few tricky features 'doozies' in development so as soon as we decided to change the name 'Yudoozy' felt right. It also allowed us to get the .com URL."
Another major advantage of the Yudoozy system is that it cuts out the recruitment agents’ fees, and thereby facilitates a more affordable means for employers to find freelancers. And while this advantage could also potentially lend itself to permanent recruitment, Cranfield doesn't see Yudoozy encroaching on the traditional recruitment market.
“The fees that go into permanent recruitment are still warranted. There’s a lot of time and investment that goes into getting to know a client and then being able to sit down with someone and then map out their personality and strengths and whether they’ll get on with that client. When it comes to freelance, there’s not so much a need for culture fit, because they’re just there for what might be two weeks. In freelance, it’s about skill, availability and the hourly rate charged.”
Despite only recently launching in the local market, the Yudoozy model has already garnered international attention, with the team being invited to exhibit the concept at the Collision tech event scheduled to be hosted in Las Vegas in May (the event has previously also exhibited Uber, Intercom and InVision).
To get into the show, Cranfield had to take Yudoozy through the show's rigorous application process, and had to pitch the product to Collision’s panel over skype at 11pm one night due to the time difference.
And should Yudoozy prove successful, Cranfield believes that it could have a positive knock-on effect for the Kiwi start-up industry as a whole.
“There has been some great Kiwi tech companies going global and expanding rapidly which is awesome and well deserved. The only problem is they soak up all the great talent, leaving the earlier stage startups struggling to hold on to staff or offer competitive wages. If more people freelanced and contracted local freelancers for projects rather than outsourcing it overseas, then the skills would be shared creating a much healthier market here in in New Zealand.”