Upwork vs Freelancer vs Fiverr Comparison – Honest Review

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Many people worldwide, lost their jobs due to the pandemic after which, the world saw the biggest ever rise in the number of freelancers available online. If you are a client looking to hire someone for your projects or if you are a freelancer looking for projects to work on a project, this Terminal Stack post is for you!

I have freelanced for numerous businesses worldwide and I have used all three major Freelancing platforms, namely Upwork, Freelancer and Fiverr. Thus, I consider myself qualified enough to share my views on this topic. 

So let’s analyse which platform out of Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer is the best and which one to avoid. If you find this post helpful please do share it with your friends who might be interested in entering the freelancing world.

Before we dive into reviewing these freelancing websites, first let’s talk about what is freelancing and how freelancing platforms work.

What is Freelancing?

Freelancers are self-employed people, who are not-necessarily committed to an employer or organisation for the long-term.

Why do companies/people hire freelancers?

Below are some common reasons why companies or businesses usually hire freelancers:

  1. Low Budget: When a company has a low budget and has to get some work done like, setting up a website, getting an android/IOS app for this business, etc. it is expensive to get a full-time employee, as they will have to keep paying him even when the work is done. In these cases, hiring a freelancer is the best way to go as you don’t have to pay anything after the job is done.
  2. Expertise: It can be difficult to hire a full time employee who has expertise in multiple skills and hiring them can be quite expensive. Freelancing platforms offer experts from every field, from search engine optimization of your website or logo designing, who can be hired for your business at a much cheaper rate. 

Who do people freelance?

People may wonder why people would choose to work on temporary contracts rather than working full-time at a company. Some major reasons why people freelance are:

  1. Flexible work hours: Freelancers can work at time of their choice, go on a vacation when they wish, spend time with their family and don’t have to wake up every morning and go to offices. Many people love this time flexibility and choose freelancing over full-time jobs.
  2. Challenges: Every new freelancing order is a new challenge and a new adventure. People who love taking on new challenges and don’t like to do the same thing everyday choose freelancing over normal jobs.
  3. Being your own boss: Freelancers have the freedom to decide who they wish to work for and who they don’t. You don’t have to be involved in any office or corporate politics and you don’t have to live under any superior body which is a great feeling in itself.

How freelancing platforms work?

When clients visit any freelancing platform, they are asked for the type of work they need to get done. Then they are shown a listing of freelancers to choose from, all these freelancers usually have their ratings shown alongside. Clients can then choose any of these freelancers from the platform. Once they have contacted that freelancer and reached a deal, they can then make a payment. After this payment is made, the freelancer can start working on the project, he will receive the money when he submits his work. Till that time, the money paid by the client will be kept by the freelancing platform. This provides safety from fraud to both seller and clients.

Now that we have a brief idea on what is freelancing, let’s compare the three major freelancing platforms i.e. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.

Upwork:

Upwork is one of the biggest freelancing platforms that was founded in 2015. It has a huge number of freelancers, clients need to list the type of job that they want done after which freelancers start applying for that job. Upwork lists the rating, order completion rate, etc of these freelancers so that it is easier for clients to choose from. Upwork is more professional when compared to Fiverr but lesser when compared to Freelancer

Pros:

  1. Upwork payment protection, which makes sure freelancers don’t get paid without doing the job.
  2. Millions of freelancers to choose from.
  3. Freelancers can apply for jobs which suit their area of knowledge and skills.
  4. Large number of clients, which increases the chances of getting hired.

Cons:

  1. Upwork takes 20% of the money paid by clients, which means, if a client pays $1000 for a work the freelancer will receive only $800 on completion of order.
  2. Millions of freelancers exist on the platform, thus not every freelancer will be an expert. This can mean poor experience with the platform.
  3. You need to buy tokens to submit proposals for jobs when applying which further decreases your profits.
  4. Difficult to get an order as a beginner on this platform, unless you are exceptionally good at what you do.

Fiverr:

Fiverr is a freelancing platform founded in 2010, it is less professional when compared to the other two platforms mentioned. Fiverr claims that they receive a new order every 3 seconds i.e. 29,000 orders a day. On fiverr, freelancers are required to make gigs, which is basically a skill showcase page. Freelancers don’t have to bid for offers, clients are shown gigs of their interest, after which they contact the freelancer and discuss the deal.

The minimum cost of gigs is just $5, most newbies start gigs with $5 and increase the gig price as they progress. Fiverr offers are usually small and less professional, as you sell more and more work, your level increases. When a seller levels up, they get to display more gigs and their views increase too.

Pros:

  1. Fiverr promotes new freelancers, so you will have more chances of success as a beginner.
  2. Fiverr has a huge number of clients so getting more orders is easier if you have a good track record on the platform.
  3. You do not have to pay or bid to get offers, you post gigs after which an interested seller will contact you.
  4. Gigs can’t be promoted within-ads, which ensures a fair competition.
  5. You can start a gig even if you don’t have any professional skills.

Cons:

  1. Fiverr takes 20% of the money paid by clients, which means, if a client buys your gig worth $1000, you will be paid only $800 for it.
  2. The orders on Fiverr are small size projects and therefore don’t pay as much as other two.
  3. There are too many sellers, thus there is a huge competition. 
  4. If your track record isn’t excellent, there is very less chance that your gig will be featured much.

Freelancer: 

Freelancer is the most professional freelancing platform on the list and the oldest of all three platforms. Clients are allowed to post job offers, after which clients start bidding on it, after which clients can contact the bidders and decide who is fit for their job. You can find long term projects to work on. There is also an option to get paid hourly for a project.

Pros:

  1. Freelancer takes only 10% of money paid by clients, which is half of the other two platforms mentioned.
  2. You can find long term projects to work on.
  3. If you are an expert in your field, it will be easy for you to get hired.
  4. Clients can decide to work on hourly wage depending on the project size.
  5. Freelancer has contests in which freelancers submit their entry and the best one (decided by client) gets the award, this gives a wide range of selection for the clients.

Cons:

  1. There is a limit on how many job offers you can apply for, every month. To increase this cap, you need to pay the platform and become a premium user.
  2. Freelancers bid on here, so prices go too low most of the time which can be a red flag.
  3. Paying freelancers hourly can be expensive for the clients.

Also Read: 20 proven ways to make money online

Conclusion:

Freelancing is a great way to make money if you are a student, if you don’t have a full time job or if you need a side income. I have freelanced myself and I had both positive and negative experiences. I would recommend students to freelance for a few months and get some projects under their belt. After working on a few projects that they can add on their resume, they should stop freelancing. Freelancing is well and good but there are disadvantages too. There is no job security, there is a very high competition, you have to work on your own which can get overwhelming at times and finally, you have no work friends to discuss your problems with. Keeping these points aside, freelancing gives a real work experience to newbies and one should definitely try it out.

Make sure to share this post if you find it helpful!

Arpit Pandey

Hey there! I am Arpit Pandey, a full stack web developer, SEO specialist, C++ programmer and Co-Founder of this blog. I love to code and write articles!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Arti Manputra

    Nice explanation. Any newbie can got all the doubts clear from here.

  2. Sakshi Bele

    Very helpful

  3. Sahil Kandarkar

    Awesome blog, I wanted to ask you about freelancing since long time thought I would when we will meet, But got to know everything before our meeting And that too in very much detail, Thank You ♥️♥️

    1. Arpit Pandey

      Thank you for your kind words Sahil! Do let me know if you want to know anything else about freelancing!

  4. Sahil Kandarkar

    Wanted to know if freelancing could be considered as a part time job or one can pursue it as a full time job?????

    1. Arpit Pandey

      Yes you can pursue it as a full time job as well, it completely depends on you but as I have mentioned choosing it as a full time job has its own risks.

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    Thanks Arpit Pandey for this wonderful Blog , its really helpful !! Keep posting such informative blogs .

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