Lemon Review:
the no-filter selfie

Lemon goes against the rules and reviews its own services. Learn the platform’s ins and outs. Lay hands on some inside info about Lemon.io. Do your best to convict us of lies.

Here’s a table of contents to help you quicker get to the section that interests you the most.

One stop freelance platform review

Disclaimer!

Yep, we’re reviewing ourselves.

You might think we’re pressing the Like button under our own selfie. We did our best to stay objective and unbiased in this Lemon review. We are perfectly capable of critical introspective analysis (whatever that means).

Our content department interviewed other Lemon team members about their work. Whenever we make a bold statement about ourselves, there is a quote by another team member to support it.

Now, see how Lemon ticks from the inside.

The 911 for your project

Hiring on regular freelance platforms is often like a Russian roulette. If you are unlucky, you hire the wrong person who can potentially ruin your entire project.

That’s because generic freelance platforms rely on bidding. When freelancers registered on it start applying for your job, you have to manually review their bids (rates, terms, portfolios, and testimonials from other users). This is time-consuming and there are chances you run into a scammer, or mis-hire.

Contrarily, when you recruit on platforms for vetted developers, it’s like calling 911:

You have a problem
You make a call
Trained professionals
solve your problem

When you submit your job description, there is already a tested, qualified freelancer ready to work on it. The platform just needs little time to find them in its talent pool.

Lemon.io is an illustrative example of such a platform.

Small but efficient

So, what is Lemon, exactly?

Unlike our bigger competitors, we are a small company of just 17 people who work and hang out together.

Our talent pool currently consists of 350+ freelance developers whose personal and professional skills have been verified prior to hiring.

Someone would say it’s not much. That is true. lemon.io honest review We know all of our freelancers personally. We know what they are great at and what they suck at. We know what inspires and concerns them. When you submit your job description to us, we know which one of our freelancers will be the perfect match for it.

Besides, if you’ve ever played video games, you know that smaller size often means great agility. We believe we have the fastest matching among other vetting platforms.

What we promise you

You get a freelancer within 24 hours

Minimum actions needed on your end. Just submit your order description and tend to other matters. Next day, you will have a freelancer for your project, ready and able. Their experience and skills will be the perfect match to your project needs.

Sometimes our standards can get us into tight spots. Zhenya Kruglova, our Head of Talent Acquisition and Strategy, recalls one of the many cases when we were in a pinch:

We had a case when one of our React devs was finishing a project, and got booked by another customer. Suddenly, the first project our dev was working on got prolonged, and we had no suitable substitute for the second customer.

This was completely out of the blue. A real emergency, with alarm sirens and all that. We had to launch our secret freelancer referral program to fix the situation. Basically, we asked our devs to recommend other good devs to us.

We found a developer, and within half a day, we tested and interviewed them twice. The next day we introduced this dev to our new client. They have been working together ever since, the project is still in progress.

Yevgeniya Kruglova
// head of talent acquisition

No hiring or management experience needed

Even if you have zero experience in hiring and managing freelancers, our developers got you covered. They work proactively, and don’t need to be instructed on every little detail. They can also consult you on how to make the best possible use of their talents.

And we’ll be there to back you up if something doesn’t go as planned.

Perfect price/quality balance

The study we did in Feb 2020 – Jun 2020 shows that American companies hire freelance developers in Eastern Europe as often as in the US and Canada combined.

Download study report

Why is it so?

Because Eastern Europe means quality of work standards that are close to American. It also means decent rates and Western work ethics. 27% of the companies repeatedly hire devs from this region because of the great previous experience.

  • 1.They have the best rates
  • 2.They have the biggest pool of talent
  • 3.Because of the language spoken/communication specificity
  • 4.The location is in the most convenient time zone for me
  • 5.I have great previous experience with developers from there
  • 6.I’ve heard only good references
  • 7.I have no preferences
  • 8.Other

This Lemon review covers the prices in detail later.

No hidden catch

We aren’t a big platform. We have limitations. Sometimes, there might be no freelancer available to work on your project. Or, no developer with a required skill set in our talent pool.

In such cases, we will honestly inform you about it. If it’s the only way we can help you, we will direct you to other platforms that might have the candidates you need.

How Lemon makes it possible

Better safe than sorry

So, how does Lemon work?

We never hire people based on their portfolios or recommendations alone.
Lemon.io is a freelance platform that matches customers with verified freelance developers. The verification is done through the special Lemon screening process and is called vetting.

Freelance developers who want stable workloads and decent payment apply to cooperate with us. Before we recruit them, we test our candidates on multiple criteria. Those developers who successfully pass all vetting stages get hired.

When you submit an order to us, we select one (or several) of our champions and assign them to your project.

A weird genius? Give us two, we hire

So, who are the devs we recruit?

Mostly, Lemon freelancers are from Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. During the vetting process, it often turns out many of them are workaholic fanatics of programming. Also, half of the devs in our talent pool obsess over pet projects of some sort: games, apps, websites, etc.

// roman, senior python developer

Together with our freelance acquisition team, our CTO Anvar Azizov personally interviews every freelance dev applying to work with us. Here are some things that sunk into his mind:

People code all kinds of weird stuff. Like, an AI that can predict the results of Dota2 games. Or a chess clock that can keep track on the turns players take. We even had a guy who created himself a smart house –– something about automating the heating system with Arduino micro controllers. Or, there was a dev who created a messenger specifically to chat with his wife.

Anvar Azizov
// co-founder, CTO

We pay so much attention to pet projects because we believe they are a good indicator of a developer’s dedication. You must really like to code if you do it apart from your work duties, for free.

Our developers speak good English, and both their hard and soft skills have been approved by our freelance acquisition team.

The insides of our vetting process, revealed

For the sake of making this Lemon review even more credible, we’re unveiling our Holy Grail – the vetting process.

To make sure we hire the best of the best freelance developers available, we make them undergo a series of testing procedures:

Daria Ampilohova, our Freelancers Acquisition Specialist, knows how important it is to always check the backgrounds:

I was outreaching for WordPress devs on LinkedIn, and found this guy named Aleksandr, a graduate of Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute. He passed the initial English test, and I scheduled a video call to interview him and check his soft skills.

When it’s the call time, I wrote Aleksandr in Ukrainian, “Okay, are you ready?” And he’s suddenly like, “Sorry, I don’t speak Ukrainese.”

Turned out his name was not Aleksandr, and he was Chinese.

Daria Ampilohova
// Freelancers Acquisition Specialist

Well… nope. Usually, the questions we ask are rather typical, because we want to get a grasp on the candidate’s capabilities. Like, we ask if they ever had experience freelancing, working in different time zones, stuff like that. We also want to know how they can manage time and cultural differences, what technologies they prefer to use, and why.

// Daria

Knowing what books they like to read, the methods they use to study new technologies, or what their hobbies are can really help, too. We also have fun asking devs from Upwork why they started to look for alternatives. Usually, it gets them triggered and they demonstrate their true IRL communication skills instead of polite rehearsed answers. Also, we ask them about their daily routines during the quarantine. It gives us a better understanding of when they are most productive, how they manage their free time, and what are those creepy sounds in the depths of their apartments.

// Zhenya

However, many candidates never reach the Lemon interview stage. On average, out of 100 candidates, we distill 4 worthy champions this way.

How much does it cost?

What’s the average Lemon hourly rate?

So, what’s the Lemon salary for the devs?

Our developers are ready to work for $43–$47 per hour. We have many senior-level devs working with different technologies. Here are Lemon rates to facilitate your calculations:

$42-$47
React Native, React, Node.js, Ruby
$45-$50
Python
$37-$42
PHP
$42-$45
Swift, Java
$40-$45
Flutter

As you can see, Lemon pricing is rather affordable. For comparison, developers working for industry leaders tend to charge about $60–$150 per hour.

Fees and commissions

Lemon is a mediator between customers and freelancers. For the time and effort we make to distill the best freelance developers within our reach, we take a 20% commission.

Think of us as of your sidekicks on a small salary.

In the time of need, when the COVID-19 pandemic threatened small businesses around the world, we cut our commissions and encouraged our devs to lower the prices, too. We called it a Don’t Panic! offer and focused it on biotech, med, and logistics startups, to contribute to the global fight against the virus.

Is Lemon legit?

It would be strange if Lemon review written by Lemon authors blatantly claimed, “Yes, Lemon is legit.”

We believe testimonials and references from satisfied customers work better than anything we say about ourselves. We’ve gathered a small collection of reviews from Trustpilot and G2Crowd to illustrate the claims we made in this review.

Some of them mention Coding Ninjas – this was our old name before the rebranding. The team, the freelancers, and the quality of service remain the same.

The good

So, to start with, we are proud to have 98% of positive reviews on Trustpilot (out of 60), and 100% of positive reviews on G2 Crowd.

Lemon.io trustpilot review
Lemon.io review 2

We have many returning customers and clients who have been working with us for years.

Honest Lemon.io review 3

Customers often commend us for fast matching, good rates, and qualified developers that we provide.

Honest lemon.io review 4
Honest lemon.io review 5
Honest lemon.io review 6
Honest lemon.io review 7

The bad

Yet, to achieve true perfection we will probably have to meditate for 20 years high in the mountains (not now, though, we’ve got tons of work to do). Two of our customers had poor experience with us – at least, poor enough to leave negative reviews.

For example, this person on ProductHunt thought we were a scam because we failed to get back to them.

Honest lemon.io review 8

We really messed up there, but only because we had too many clients at that moment. We are a small team, and our sales system could not handle the unexpected flood of orders that we got. Since we’ve launched Lemon, we’ve been experiencing a rapid and constant growth, which sometimes highlights our weak spots. We’ve learned from our mistakes and restructured the whole sales process.

Another person complained about the quality of our services:

Honest lemon.io review 9

We believe the problem occurred because of miscommunication, and worked hard to avoid it in the future.

These two were the only negative reviews we could find regarding Lemon.io/Coding Ninjas. If you find more, please let us know.

The ugly

Honestly, we couldn’t find any. To make up for this, here’s our content writer’s cat.

Lemon.io review  11

How safe is it to use Lemon?

Lemon pricing is more affordable due several factors.

Most of us live in Ukraine, but we are an American corporation registered as a Delaware C Corp under the name Coding Ninjas (the way we called ourselves before the rebranding). We own the Lemon trademark and the lemon.io website.

We work under the terms of use which fully comply with the existing laws of the United States. Freelancers who register on our platform agree to work according to these terms. They regulate how our developers work with clients and how they charge them. They also state that all the intellectual property belongs to the client as soon as they pay for the job. Freelancers have no right to disclose any information related to the client’s project – even if they’ve just looked through the order details and chose not to work on it.

Vasyl Dzesa
// co-founder, COO

We do our best to provide you the best possible customer experience. Here are the four major ways in which we do it:

  • thorough vetting of freelance developers
  • quick and precise matching
  • responsive customer support
  • free replacement guarantee (if you do not like working with a developer we provided, or if they cannot continue to work on your project, we will provide you with a free substitute).

How come Lemon is so affordable?

The main ace up our sleeve is that Lemon is located in Ukraine. The costs of living here are by 40% lower than in the US or Canada.

About 90–95% of our maintenance costs are salaries. We also manage to save quite a lot of money by bootstrapping marketing costs and expensive operations.

And, we don’t need an office (who does, anyway?)

And, Lemon fees are way lower than our competitors’.

As of August 2020, our overhead expenses equal $60,000. This is super-low compared to our competitors, and this is why we can afford offering you such low rates.

Slavic names look unpronounceable

That’s because we call each other with moose roars and owl hoots.

Lemon review TL;DR

Lemon is a freelance platform for vetted developers, which mostly recruits its talents in Eastern Europe. Geographical location and well-organized remote work allows the company to set reasonable prices.

Lemon consists of 17 people who work to match its 350+ freelance developers with customers. The huge part of the platform’s work is vetting – the process of verifying freelancers’ skills to cull the weak and weed out scammers of all sorts. Only 4 out of 100 developers get into Lemon’s talent pool.

The company operates under the terms of use which comply with the US laws.

A service does not have to be originally American in order to be good. Give Lemon.io a go, and you will see how fast and safe hiring freelance developers can be.

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