Upwork is the baby of Elance and o-Desk since they merged in 2015. It currently has a whopping 12 million registered freelancers and 5 million registered clients. There’s also approximately 3 million jobs posted annually worth a total of $1 billion. It’s no surprise then that it’s the largest freelancer network on the market.
Upwork is the longest running freelancer website portal. However, the size of the platform comes at a cost. Charging clients 2.75% and freelancers up to 20% for any work. Despite all that it's still my personal freelance website of choice when it comes to more difficult and long-term projects.
Upwork Review: For Clients
Let me start by saying Upwork has recently changed it’s fee’s. They now charge both the client and the freelancer. Client fees are set at 2.75% per payment. Unfortunatly the fee’s don’t end there as they also take between a 20% and 5% cut from the freelancer too.
Upwork has been designed for all job sizes. However, I’d choose Fiverr over Upwork for smaller jobs – it’s just easier. Assume I’m wanting help from a web designer, I’m looking at about $300. Well Upwork are going to ask for an additional $8.25 it doesn’t sound a lot, I know. However, it just seems wrong when they take a further $60 in this instance from the freelancer too.
In fact that cuts the $300 you’re putting up by almost one third, down to $231.75. It starts to make you question whether you might save money, or in fact get more for your money by going to an independent freelancer outside of a freelancing platform such as Upwork.
Fees aside, Upwork is the largest of all the freelancer networks. It’s therefore no surprise that it has some of the most established and experience freelancers with a vast array of skills. This means if you want a job doing, and you want it doing right, you’re going to find the right person for the job on this platform.
As for finding the right person for the job. Well Upwork’s website functionality and ease of use has been well developed over time making it simple and straight forward.
Upwork Review: For Freelancers
If anything the merger of Elance and O-Desk two years ago has actually had a negative impact on freelancers. I now see more complaints from freelancers than I do positive comments. Why is this?
It once again comes down to fee’s. By charging the client fee’s the clients are going elsewhere. Which equates to the freelancers getting less work. The fee’s don’t end there… Upwork has allowed for multi-currencies – sounds great right? Except it charges a markup to the freelancer when converting currencies… – not so great.
Remember, this is per client relationship. It’s not based on your lifetime earnings on Upwork.
Unfortunatly the negative changes of Upwork don’t end there. Upwork have also reduced their service offerings. Worse still they’ve done it quietly providing zero information before, during or after to the freelancers. With this I’m talking about client invoices now being sent in the name of the freelancer rather than Upwork.
This in turn creates additional tax burdens for the freelancer. These burdens take time, and time equals money. Taking away a service like this should equate to a reduction in fees. Unfortunatly it’s the opposite.
Personally, I believe Upwork’s redeeming feature is in it’s thriving customer support. This is backed up by a vast forum section complete with FAQ and members helping members. This means that common, basic customer queries can be resolved in a matter of minutes.
In conclusion, I honestly believe Upwork seems to be the only freelancer platform that’s struggling. It’s at a crossroads, it’s got too big for it’s boots and it’s starting to fail. That’s not to say it’s not a great place to find a freelancer or become a freelancer. If anything it’s the best time to become a freelancer as many of the top freelancers will be leaving due to rising fee’s – however it’s also highly likely they’ll be taking their long-term clients with them.