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Sortlist for Clients: How does it work?
Sortlist for Clients: How does it work?

What can you expect from working with the Sortlist platform, how it's 100% free for clients, and how do we choose our service providers.

Anne-Gaëlle Sy avatar
Written by Anne-Gaëlle Sy
Updated over a week ago

💡 If you are based outside of Belgium, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, or the MENA region, please refer to our other article describing the Sortlist Client Process for our International market.

Just like 78,000 before you, you are on your way to finding the perfect service provider with Sortlist.

But maybe there is something holding you back for now.

In case you have any doubts or hesitations, we’re here to break down the process for you. Here’s our guide to explain to you how finding the right service provider works with Sortlist, what you can expect throughout the process, how to make the final choice, and best of all explain to you how this is all free.

6 Steps To Finding Your Service Provider With Sortlist

Finding your provider with Sortlist can be done in 6 easy steps:

  • Creating your brief.

  • Publishing your brief and receiving applications from providers.

  • Reviewing providers' applications and meeting with them.

  • Asking for quotes.

  • Rating the providers you've met.

  • Making your choice.

Let's go through each of these steps.

Creating your brief

We start by asking you the right questions to introduce you to the right providers.

Answering these questions will allow us to create a brief, that will then be shared with the most relevant providers active on Sortlist.

Once you've answered all the questions, your brief is ready and you can either keep it as a draft or publish it.

Here’s what those two options mean for you:

Keeping a project in draft

By keeping your project in draft, you’ll have access to your new Sortlist account where you can take your time to finish your brief.

Here you’ll also be able to read and watch a few testimonials of some of our previous clients as well as navigate through our FAQs for any doubts you may have.

If your brief is not complete enough, you may be contacted by one of our advisors to help you complete it or to answer any questions you may have.

Publishing your project

By publishing your project, you’re just a few clicks away from finding your perfect match! Our advisors, along with an AI algorithm, will select a shortlist of service providers to present your project to.

Reviewing providers' applications and meeting with them

Within 6 hours after publishing your project, you will start to receive applications from providers interested in collaborating with you. You will be notified both by email and SMS.

From there, take the time to review the providers' applications, which include:

  • A brief introduction

  • Their contact information as well as a link to book a call

  • A link to their Sortlist profile

  • A few examples of previous works

  • And some latest reviews from previous clients

Convinced by an application and interested in meeting with the provider? Just confirm your interest and the provider will come back to you with a meeting time that matches your availabilities.

Please note that this is not a fixed engagement nor are you under any obligation to the providers. Our services for you are 100% free of charge and any meeting you have with a service provider has no cost, we only ask you to respond to the providers that get in touch with you.

Furthermore, if you have any meetings set up with a service provider, please try your best to attend said meeting, and if for any reason you can no longer attend, make sure to re-schedule in advance.

Asking for quotes

Once you've met with a provider, you have the possibility to request a quote from them:

If you've been convinced during your meeting, asking for a quote will allow you to have a better idea of what the provider can do for you and at what price.

Rating providers

Furthermore, once you've met with a provider, you have the possibility to rate them on different aspects:

Giving a score of 1 to 5 for the human fit, the expertise, the budget fit, the creativity and the methodology of each provider you meet through Sortlist will help you in choosing which one to work with.

You also have the possibility to leave a comment in order to keep a written note of how your meeting with each provider went. Again, the goal being to help you choose your next provider more easily.

The final choice

You have found your perfect match! It is time to hire the provider you've chosen:

If you are having a hard time making the final decision, you can always discuss things with your advisor. They can give you further guidance or present you with other agencies if you are not yet fully convinced.

Meeting your advisor - if you wish

Every project that comes through our platform is assigned an advisor. They are there to provide you with personalized assistance to help you find the perfect match.

You can make the choice whether to seek help from the advisor or simply navigate the process by yourself.

Your advisor is there to help you at any part of the process. You can ask them to:

  • Help you to better understand your needs and fill out your briefing

  • Advise you on the type of partner, budget, and strategy you should aim for

  • Prepare you for the next steps to start meeting service providers

  • Etc.

To book a 15-minute call with your advisor via Google Meet or phone, you can do so directly here.

If you are not quite ready yet, you can do it at any time by:

  1. Selecting the option directly in the briefing, (you may already see the option to “Get free assistance” before publishing the brief).

  2. Clicking on the button “Get advice, it’s free” on the homepage of your Sortlist account.

  3. With the link at the bottom of the confirmation email you received after publishing your project.

Who are the Sortlist service providers, and how do we choose them?

The Sortlist service provider

With more than 53,600 service providers in over 150 countries, Sortlist offers an extensive range of options from which you’re sure to find the perfect match.

We have a service provider for every need; expertise, size, specialized industry, budget, and location.

This number may seem overwhelming, but with the personalized guidance from advisors as well as our AI algorithm, we filter out the ones that are perfect for you and provide you with a top 4 list.

The algorithm

The purpose of the algorithm is to help you filter through the service providers that fit certain criteria of your project brief.

It evaluates providers based on certain factors and assigns them a ranking score. These factors include:

  1. Whether or not the provider is specialized in the expertise of your brief (e.g. graphic design, online advertising etc.)

  2. If they speak at least one of the languages you have requested

  3. They are located in a limited radius of your preferred location (if specified)

  4. They have previous works in your budget range

Role of the advisor

Although seeking help from your advisor is optional, they can greatly help you in selecting the best service provider for your project.

Our advisors know our agencies well. They are in constant contact with them and know which fit best for each project.

They are there to provide you with personalized help by providing you with a list of service providers that they believe could be a good match, in addition to those generated by the algorithm.

But not only that, they are also there to guide you through any part of the process, from clarifying any doubts about the brief, to booking calls with service providers or helping you make the final choice.

Remember that you can always book a call with them via a link at the bottom of any e-mail you receive from Sortlist and that this entire service is free.

Your list of service providers

Your list of service providers is unique to your project. The list only displays poviders that meet the criteria you have specified for the project.

As mentioned before, your complete list of providers will be selected by our advisors with the help of our AI algorithm.

The service providers chosen have been directly contacted by the advisor themselves and presented with the project. Providers can either accept or reject the project, but must pay a fee to be considered a candidate. This ensures that only the providers who are truly interested and capable of delivering will accept the project.

This approach saves you a significant amount of time, as you can be confident that the service providers on the list are well-suited to the task.

They will be introduced to you personally via e-mail with a personalized message and their application for you to take a look at.

How and why Sortlist is 100% free for clients?

Is it really free?

Our platform is 100% free for project holders like you. At no part in the process of selecting a service provider will you be charged nor asked for payment details.

So how does Sortlist make money?

Sortlist charges its service providers for the service we provide them with. They can receive two kinds of benefits from being a Sortlist-verified service provider for which they pay:

  1. Visibility - Providers can decide whether they would like to appear on our directory for which they pay on a CPC basis.

  2. Opportunity - The service provider is presented with opportunities (projects) by advisors and pay for the ones they wish to be considered for.

How does the client benefit from this model?


With the opportunity model, service providers are only required to pay a fee if they would like to be considered for your project and have a meeting with you.

This ensures we get specialists for your project.

How? By charging a fee for this opportunity, providers are incentivized to only pursue projects they are confident they can win because of their expertise, and they match your criteria.

To illustrate, let's consider an extreme case: a graphic design agency would never apply for a web design project. Not only would they be unlikely to win your trust, but their fee would also be lost. The same applies to the finer details of the project brief. For instance, if you're looking for influencer marketing, a non-specialist agency would be unlikely to apply. They would find it challenging to compete with agencies that specialize in this field and have extensive experience in it. In such a scenario, non-specialist agencies would also risk losing their fee.

We always limit the number of service providers that can apply per project as not to overwhelm the client with options. With this limit, it is in our best interest as well to select the right providers for the projects for them to apply to the opportunity.


With the visibility package, service providers pay to be seen, but you have the control to make the choice. The directory provides a full list of verified providers that have paid for increased visibility. If you find a service provider that meets your project requirements, you can send them a direct briefing from their profile.

How Sortlist can help you find a service provider in 72 hours

Our history

Since 2014, we've been committed to helping businesses find their perfect service provider match. Last year, we had the privilege of helping over 78,000 project posters, just like you, to find their ideal service partner.

Our clients have included some of the world's leading companies, such as Nescafé, KAYAK, Al Jazeera, Grammarly, and Air France. But also some more local enterprises trying to get started such as Outboxe, a small boxing studio in Paris, or Aimmoz, a start-up real estate agency.

Time saver

Over the past few years, we have worked tirelessly to develop the best possible product to connect businesses with marketing agencies. By combining the knowledge of our experts and data analysis, we help both sides save valuable time and money on fruitless searches and unsuccessful collaborations.

By telling us your specific needs, you can skip the tedious task of scrolling through Google to find a service provider that meets your needs. Instead, we'll do the research for you and present you with a tailor-made list of agencies that are perfect for your project.

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