Nomad Now

Cool factor 4/5

Usability 4/5

Value for money 3/5

Nomad Now is a new freelance services platform in SA that aims to connect independent service providers (writers, developers, designers and so on) with possible clients.

The site (nomadnow.co) calls itself the "professional freelancer platform", and freelancers or contractors looking to list themselves are required to have a degree to their names.

MD Ross Paton believes that freelance and independent contract workforces in SA are primed for big growth — as seen globally — and says he hopes Nomad Now’s timing is right to ride that wave.

The platform is currently open in beta form: independent service providers can sign up, while clients will have to wait until April 16 to join.

The profile set-up is fairly arduous, requiring lots of detail, such as self-rating your skills, specified rates and availability calendar. There are 10 detailed sections in this space. A nice touch is the ability to link your LinkedIn profile to populate the "work experience" section if you’d prefer not to do this manually, but it appears to only import the most recent entry. There is also a section for you to upload multimedia, so you can showcase your work.

The home screen when you sign in is a dashboard that provides clear metrics of orders pending, orders completed, earnings and star ratings.

Though the profile population process is (necessarily) fiddly, the user interface is simple and easy to use.

In the fortnight since launching, more than 550 freelancers have signed up. And about 65% are in the financial services sector. In future, Nomad Now will also allow freelancers to offer services as teams. Once it’s fully up and running, clients will be able to search the freelance database and contact listed freelancers directly, rather than have freelancers pitch for project work (as some international platforms are structured).

Nomad Now takes a fee from both sides of an interaction — charging the client 4% plus Vat on top of the project rate, and taking 4% plus Vat from the freelancer’s earnings.

The company is responsible for invoicing for work — a boon for small businesses and independents, who often struggle to get paid or to complete the administration associated with their primary services.