Upwork vs Freelancer

Upwork vs. Freelancer: What’s the Difference?

Do you daydream about being your own boss? Are you interested in putting your skills to use in the freelance market? We bet you’ve heard about various freelance job sites, but you aren’t sure where you should start.

There are so many of these platforms to choose from it can make your head spin, but in this post we will compare two of the most popular sites and let you decide which one is right for you.

If you are familiar with our philosophy on freelancing sites, you know that we actually don’t encourage getting on them in most cases, but they have their use and can be a great way to get your name out there.

These platforms can be great as you are getting started as a freelancer, especially if you don’t have a huge network and are having trouble finding work within you friends and family. It will take time to build a portfolio, and get gigs, but if you want to stick it out then they have their advantages.

So here we go—Upwork vs Freelancer. Should you choose one or the other, or both?

What Is Upwork?

Upwork is an online freelance job site that connects clients to freelancers of all niches and expertise. You must complete an approval process to become a registered freelancer on the site.

When you set up your profile, you’ll be able to include a lot of personalized information including a photo, resume, and work samples. This puts almost all the information a potential client would need in one place.

If you don’t have a portfolio, it is important to create one first. With so much competition on these sites, you will need to stand out. This can be difficult if you are just getting started, but it is best to have them before setting up your profile.

Upwork employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help find jobs that are right for you. Search through the potential projects, and submit a proposal for any that interest you. Clients may accept, reject, or negotiate your offer.

What Is Freelancer?

Similar to Upwork, Freelancer is also an online freelance job site connecting clients to freelancers. Anyone can register. You only need to supply some basic information.

Projects are posted by clients looking for freelancers to complete the task. Once you are a registered freelancer, you may search or browse the available projects.

When you find one that interests you and matches your skillset, you may place a bid and send samples to the client. If the client likes your samples and bid, they may award the project to you.

How Do I Get Paid?

Upwork and Freelancer are two of the best freelancing websites available today. Sites like these only succeed if their freelancers succeed, and that means getting paid well and on time. Let’s take a look at the very different fee structures for the two.


Upwork has an interesting fee structure. The site fees are withheld from your project payments.

  • 20% on the first $500 earned with a client
  • 10% for earnings over $500 with the same client
  • 5% for earnings over $10,000 with the same client

As you may have noticed, there is an incentive to continue working with the same clients. This seems pretty obvious from Upwork’s perspective, they want people to stick around and for the best freelancers to rise to the top and keep using the service.

Based on their pricing model, if you are just dipping your toes in and are not sure if using Upwork is right for you, it is best to go with Freelancer because the upfront fee structure is better.

If on the other hand, you plan on sticking around with Upwork, finding a few strong long-haul clients then it may be for you.


Freelancer is completely different and slightly more complicated. More complicated, but it does not take as much as Upwork when you are getting started.

  • 10% or $5, whichever is greater, of fixed-price projects
  • Flat 10% for hourly projects
  • 10% or $5, whichever is greater, for contest wins
  • 20% for services

Freelancer will also charge a $10 per month maintenance fee if you don’t log in for six months. However, fees can be eliminated altogether for a specific client when you successfully refer that client (employer) to the site.

Upwork vs Freelancer: Which Is Right for You?

Both of these sites offer a safe place to find clients for your freelance business no matter your area of expertise. Upwork vs Freelancer? We hope this article will help you decide which is right for you.

As we mentioned above, when you are just getting started, we usually recommend going it alone, and simply finding your own clients through your existing network, setting up your own invoicing software, and building your own portfolio site.

With that said though, there are cases when setting up an account with these two or any of the other platforms can be a great experience. There are thousands of freelancers on Upwork and Freelancer that are killing it and making great money so it really just depends on what feels right to you.

If you’d like to learn how to get started as a freelancer, apply for School for Freelancers. The knowledgeable staff is ready and willing to teach you how to be a freelancer starting today.

We greatly appreciate you taking the time to read our blog! If you found this useful please be sure to share it with your network! If you have any questions about our program be sure to contact us. Thanks again and happy freelancing!

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