For new writers on a budget and looking for critiquing services, beta readers, and first-pass editing services:
If you are using one of the freelancing platforms online, it’s important to know what you want/need from the freelancer you’re considering hiring. Especially if it’s your first manuscript. The freelancers on these platforms are competing for jobs and will promise anything to get them. I know because I’m one of those freelancers, and I’ve seen it in some of my clients who’ve been burned.
So, if you need developmental editing (an early-stage big-picture edit), it won’t help you if someone corrects your grammar. Because eventually, you’ll figure out what changes need to be made to the story, and you will be rewriting all that corrected grammar, anyway.
Lastly, too many freelancers on these sites simply use online editorial tools like Grammarly to edit manuscripts. If that’s all they’re offering, buy a subscription and do it yourself, because this is not what a real editor should be doing. Look for someone with a writing history of their own. Someone who has been in the trenches of all aspects of a book’s life. Most of all, look for someone who loves books.