Freelancers launch new website for freelancers

Two Toronto freelancers have launched Crral, a website and app to help agencies find freelance creative talent quickly and efficiently.

Founders Rich Cooper and Chris Harrison describe Crral as a “a real-time rolodex” of creative talent. It will always be free for freelancers, while agencies will pay for the service. However, at launch—in the midst of so much pandemic-induced uncertainty—agencies will also be able to use the service for free.

Though freelancing has been a rising trend in the industry for years, most agencies lack the necessary tools to find and hire freelance talent, said Cooper. Crral—pronounced “corral,” as in where prize horses are housed—is designed to be that tool.

Cooper created a version of Crral called GoTeamFreelance 13 years ago, but it never really took off. When Harrison got packaged out of his agency job in late 2018, he and Cooper started working on a newer, more modern version.

Crral is designed to be simple to use and doesn’t require any sort of change to agency processes. “It’s just like ‘Show me who’s available,'” said Cooper. The colour-coded interface is intended to let users see best options at a glance.

“Other talent sites have complicated profiles, algorithms, project descriptions, bidding schemes,” says the site description. “Worst of all, many sites try to get involved with the money. Agencies don’t want that and freelancers (especially the good ones) hate it when websites try to muscle in on the relationship.”

The site still has some bugs to work out, but the pair decided to launch now because they’re certain the need for freelance work will increase significantly in the months ahead.

This seems a lot like the financial crash of 2008, said Cooper. A contraction of the industry, with lots of people suddenly laid off and looking for freelance work.

“This feels like a more extreme instance of that. So you’re going to see a lot of a lot of people suddenly needing to be a contract worker,” he said. “When the pendulum swings back and jobs start up again, it’s going to be more and more contract work. Agencies will be very cautious to apply a long-term solution to short term needs, so they will be hiring freelancers.”

David Brown