Are you a freelancer deciding between Upwork vs. Fiverr? Both platforms are popular for gig work, offering tons of buyers you can entice to get your side hustle or freelance work started. And when we say tons, we mean tons. Fiverr had 3.42 million active buyers from more than 160 countries last year, and Upwork has 145.4 thousand active clients that spend at least $5,000 per year.
So, when it comes to Upwork vs. Fiverr, which is the best platform for freelancers? It depends! Ideally, you’d be giggin’ on both just so that you can attract customers on each platform. However, each has their own pros, cons, fees, and rules you have to follow. It’s also worth noting that each platform caters to different kinds of clients.
You’ll find certain types of gigs on Upwork that you won’t find on Fiverr, for example, and that’s good to know before you invest time and energy into creating a profile and offers on either one. Here’s what to know about the Upwork vs. Fiverr debate. Read through our breakdown of each freelancing platform to figure out which is going to be the best for you.
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What is Upwork?
Upwork is a freelancing website that allows you to find work online. More than that, though, Upwork is a freelancing website that connects employers and contractors (i.e. side hustlers like you!). And, if you’ve been freelancing for a while then you’ll know that Upwork was the result of a merger between Elance and oDesk, two other old school freelance platforms.
On Upwork, you can sign up and create a profile as either an employer or an employee, and then search for or post jobs in your area of expertise. Freelancers can search for jobs, post profiles, and connect with other freelancers to find work. Upwork also offers features like billing and payment processing to make the job easier for both parties involved.
The site also has reviews from past work that a freelancer has completed or offered. So, as a freelancer, if the company seems sketchy, you can check out their profile reviews. It helps to see what other freelancers have thought about working with them.
Is Upwork Free to Use?
On Upwork, it is free to create a profile, search for jobs, and create projects. However, with the free version of Upwork, you are only given 10 free Connects each month. Connects are what Upwork calls their virtual currency. What do you do with those? You have to use Connects to reach out to potential clients.
To reach out to more potential clients, you’ll have to purchase more Connects. Those cost 15 cents each (you purchase them in bundles of 10, 20, 30, etc.). However, if you opt for the Freelancer Plus account (which costs $14.99 per month), you receive a total of 80 Connects monthly. This includes 10 free and 70 as part of your premium plan. In general, we suggest reading more about Upwork Connects. Why? Well, there are some unique ways you can earn Connects for free!
On top of 80 total Connects monthly, those with a Freelancer Plus account can keep their earnings confidential, stand out with a customized profile URL, and gain a competitive edge by gaining access to competitor bid ranges on jobs.
Is everything else on Upwork free? You do have to pay a service fee when you receive or send money on the platform. Upwork notes that “our service fee is based on your earnings with each client and the sliding scale rewards long-term relationships.” This means that you get charged a fee based on your lifetime billings with each non-Enterprise client.
This fee is as follows:
- $0-$500: 20%
- $500.01-$10,000: 10%
- $10,000.01 or more: 5%
So, to lower the service fee you’re charged on Upwork, it does actually make sense to develop long-lasting relationships with clients over time.
Pros & Cons of Using Upwork
What you’re looking for in a freelance platform is the ability to find high-quality clients who you can pitch to for free. That’s really what it comes down to, and that’s where the first con of using Upwork comes into play. You always have to use Connects in order to pitch to a client. This makes submitting yourself for jobs a paid feature essentially.
However, it is important to note that Upwork at least offers you the ability to pitch yourself and your services to potential clients. That isn’t something that occurs on Fiverr. The ability to pitch yourself to potential clients allows you to be more proactive in your freelance job search and also makes it somewhat easier to get your first job.
Speaking of first jobs, that’s actually the second con that gets mentioned most by freelancers using Upwork. Because the platform is so well-known, there’s a lot of competition between freelancers these days. However, that being said, it’s also important to note that the jobs on Upwork are often longer and more well-paid than those on Fiverr.
And, finally, perhaps the biggest disadvantage of using Upwork as a freelancer is the fact that they do charge a pretty hefty service fee if you’re only doing one-off or short projects with clients. A 20% fee on a $300 project is quite a bit of cash, especially considering that you’re also going to have to pay freelance taxes on top of that.
What is Fiverr?
When people compare freelance platforms, it’s usually Upwork vs. Fiverr as they’re two of the largest and most well-known websites where you can find freelance jobs. And, honestly, at its core, there’s not a huge difference between Fiverr and Upwork.
Fiverr is more of a marketplace, however, where freelancers and service providers sell their services. You’ll find everything, from graphic design and phone greetings to voiceover work and full web design. If you're a freelancer looking for some extra money or someone who has been thinking of starting their own side hustle, Fiverr is a great place to start.
Fiverr has been around for 10 years. In that time, they have paid out over $300 million in payments to freelancers worldwide. There are plenty of examples of people who have found success on Fiverr. This includes one woman who earns $60k per year by selling her art prints on the site!
Is Fiverr Free to Use?
As a freelancer, Fiverr is totally free to use. That includes creating your account, creating gigs you want to offer, and messaging potential clients back and forth. So, unlike Upwork, you never have to pay to contact potential clients. However, that’s really just not a thing on the Fiverr platform either. Clients contact you first based on the gig you’ve created.
For clients looking for freelancers on Fiverr, there are now paid plan options. You can pay a subscription fee monthly in order to access Rising Talent, Fiverr Choice, and Fiverr Pro accounts with ease. However, becoming one of those types of accounts as a freelancer won’t cost you a penny.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that Fiverr does also charge a service fee to freelancers. And, unlike Upwork, they charge per transaction, which means that you’re always stuck forking over 20% of whatever you charge the customer. Keep this in mind when pricing your projects!
Pros & Cons of Using Fiverr
Perhaps the biggest drawback of using Fiverr as a freelancer is that the gigs are often cheaper than the work you’ll find on Upwork. This is due to the highly competitive nature of the platform. If you want to earn more money, we suggest you apply to have your account switched over to a Fiverr Pro account, which will require you to submit some proof regarding your experience and expertise along with a video of yourself.
As well, as mentioned, clients contact you first based on the gig you’ve created. This means that you, not the client, has to be thinking about how to create a gig that stands out among your competition. Using the right keywords, and writing a great description of what you offer in a way that really sells it is important when using Fiverr as a freelancer.
Now onto the pros of working on Fiverr as a freelancer. You’ve got so many options! Literally, you can design gigs however you want and even create unique add-ons that’ll allow you to earn extra cash on each order. For example, you can create a logo design gig and then create add-ons (also called upsales) so that the client can pay $50 for a faster delivery or an additional $100 for a 3D mockup of the logo. This way, there are quite a few ways you can earn extra cash on each project without doing much more work.
Upwork vs. Fiverr: Which is Better?
So, you’ve read our Upwork vs. Fiverr comparison. Which is better? It depends on what you’re doing! Ultimately, they’re both great platforms that you should take a look at and use if you’re just getting started as a freelancer.
However, when it comes down to Upwork vs. Fiverr, here is our professional opinion....
Fiverr is better for shorter, smaller gigs where you can make good money performing smaller tasks. These tasks include writing a blog, creating a simple logo, or even designing a social media post. If you’re building a business out of your side hustle, Fiverr can also be a great place to outsource those smaller tasks.
Upwork is better for longer, more complex projects that require more expertise. These kinds of projects might be like a total rebrand for a company. You know, the kind that involves copywriting, graphic design, and branding expertise.
Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to figure out what works best. Try both and see which one you prefer. Don't decide to continue using one or both of them? You can use the experiences to build your portfolio.
Do always keep in mind, though, that you’re going to have to pay your freelance taxes from the money you’re earning on each platform! Not sure what that means for you? Check out our guide to freelance tax deductions here.
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