Well-known freelancer platform for many, many fields.

Upwork is an online freelancing platform that was formed from two older platforms; oDesk and Elance. It is one of the most well-known online freelancing platforms, and has a large database with millions of professionals registered from all over the world. There is a massive range of work on this platform, from data entry to web design and marketing to thermodynamics calculations. It facilitates finding work as an independent contractor and for companies or individuals to find talented freelancers for a wide range of projects.

Recommended For

Professional freelancers of all kinds who are willing to put in the time required to build a profile with great ratings and work history.

How To Use It

Expect competition, and know that effort is needed to build a profile with good ratings and job history.  Freelancers worldwide use this platform.

The Upwork registration process is as follows:

  • Register on the Upwork website as a freelancer. You will be asked to add the following to your profile:
  • Select up to five “skills” from a list, these can be quite specific (i.e MATLAB or C++) through to more general skills such as Data Science.
  • Write a personal overview, effectively a very basic CV or cover letter. There are plenty of examples and hints available to help write these.
  • Select an hourly rate, an approximate number of hours you are willing to work per week, skill level and spoken language(s).
  • Add qualifications, work history, an introductory video, portfolios and a few extra things as you see fit
  • Once you have set up your profile you are able to search and apply for jobs that you feel you can achieve. It is still an application process and some employers may receive large numbers of applications, so you will still be competing for work most of the time.
  • Bid on projects or offer services. Pay is negotiated between freelancer and client.


Upwork’s fee structure favors freelancers that work with the same clients over time.

  •  Freelancers are charged 20% of their earnings, for up to $500 total billings with a client.
  • 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000.
  • Can make a lot of money if you can secure good contracts.
  • Work in your desired field.
  • Gain relevant experience and get to work on a wide range of fascinating projects.
  • Very hard to start out due to high competition.
  • Be prepared to take some jobs for very low pay just to get your ratings up and some good reviews.
  • With competitors worldwide bidding for the same projects, it can feel like a race to the bottom regarding rates. Freelancers in developing countries can obviously offer lower rates than freelancers in developed ones. Make sure to position yourself well.
Things To Know
  • Making a good profile is important. Build a stunning portfolio. In a market that is entirely virtual, employers are going to want to see some hard evidence of what you can produce before hiring – especially when you are competing against people who do. You can upload what you want, so it can be stuff from previous jobs or personal projects, it does not have to be specifically from Upwork.
  • You need to get some good reviews under your belt.
  • You can take tests for specific skills within Upwork itself that prove you have the skills that you say you do.
  • There is the occasional report of fake/scam jobs being posted. If you are concerned, you are able to contact the employer and discuss things as well as be interviewed before being contracted to ensure legitimacy.


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Have experience finding clients with Upwork? Rate it below!

18 reviews

  1. A very professional website

    Upwork is a very professional website to find freelance jobs. There are varieties of job available in many different industries and fields. You have to be hired in the beginning, but after you make a contract with a few clients, earning is constant.

  2. now days upwork is the best for freelancers but every new freelanceh have to strugle a lot to get on track on every platform. among all freelancer platforms upwork is the most professional and well managed,
    if you get good ratings no this you can earn handsome amount from upwork.

  3. Good for your first gig, but spec work might be a better option

    This is a nice platform if you’re just starting out to build your portfolio, but it’s definitely a race to the bottom regarding rates.

    That said, if you’re just starting to build your portfolio(especially if you’re not from the USA), I might recommend UpWork. I used it for my first content writing gig and got lucky–my piece was published online in USA Today.

    Now, if you’re from a country where there is a lot of demand around you and you don’t have any portfolio yet, I’d suggest avoiding UpWork and just doing some spec (free) work for a more reputable brand to boost your portfolio. Spec work that you can add to your portfolio is more valuable in the long run than doing a low-paying gig that doesn’t add much to your portfolio.

  4. First of all, I want to share my personal experience with Upwork.
    It took me almost 9 months to get my first client on this platform.
    Every day I was spending my time sending proposals to anyone who was looking for an Italian copywriter or a translator…but because I didn’t have any review yet, nothing was happening.
    Then, I’ve decided to invest my time in making my profile much easier and smarter, and after one week I got my first job!
    I keep my portfolio focused only on the skills and previous jobs respect of which I want to get customers. So far (after 1 month) I got two customers.
    Talking about the platform.
    It works very well, and it’s quite easy to find job offers, make a keyword research, see the reviews of every single customer, and set up a nice profile. Once you get the job, you’ll be able to start a private chat with your customer.
    I love how this marketplace works….but only once it starts working!
    In my opinion, there are 3 cons:
    – Upwork charges to the freelance the 20% of the earnings (up to 500$ made up with a single client), which is a lot, especially for those who are working for the very first time with a marketplace.
    – There is a massive price competition, and quality takes second place really often. It’s really frustrating.
    – You have to invest a lot of your time going through all the job offers, sending several proposals and details. At the beginning it will be all about that.

  5. Super easy to get started, but it’s very competitive. To win business, you often have to lower your rates and earn a reputation with your clients. Make sure to have your customers write you a review!

    Also, starting out they take a significant commission on your hourly rate, so make sure to adjust either your budget or your rate accordingly.

  6. Could be better but it works!

    I arrived to Upwork from Elance, a really great platform (once you understood it: it was really complex!). Upwork is simpler than Elance in that way but is harder to get good contracts, at least at first. The great amount of candidates force you to lower your cost per hour or to be flexible about the implications of the contract. But, when you get more experience and more stars, it’s easier. Though you may need to invest a lot of time to get good jobs.

    It’s an alternative that works but it’s not THAT easy!

  7. Very Professional

    Is a very professional platform! Better than others! The jobs are interesting but is difficult to get one. I am looking for a job in this platform since 4 months ago, and I am still looking for one. I had to admit that I get more proposal in Upwork than in others. A disadvantage is that the fees are more expensive than in other sites.

  8. best platform to get work

    I have worked in Upwork since the Elance days. It’s a very good platform to find jobs but you have to know how to do it, it’s not so easy. It’s hard to start because you have a lot of competition. You have to be a great profesional and show the difference between you and your competitors. The only really bad thing are the high fees (20%). You also have to bid a lot to get good gigs.

  9. Love it or hate it

    While I don’t particularly love their user interface, I can’t deny it’s one of the best platforms for freelancers out there (if not the best).

    The good: It’s better than other platforms to build a relationship with your clients in the long term.

    The bad: It takes a lot of time negotiating back and forths with clients, even for low-paying gigs.

  10. Very Good platform.
    I have had positive experiences there, because clients have the chance to talk with you about their projects, you can share your samples and website or blog where they can see how is your way of working. Also, there is minor details about bad issues, but after all you can move inside with confidence and just worry about deadlines… I can´t say anything wrong, because for me it was the best platform to send your proposals online.

  11. Totally Recommend It

    Is my first experience with Upwork and I totally recommend I have the opportunity to work for an American company. I am glad to find my first remotely job via Upwork. I totally recommend: )

  12. Terrible for transcribers.

    Upwork sucks for transcription rates, and there’s a ton of transcribers that don’t speak English competing with you. I’ve been a transcriber for 8 years and know my worth, the low rates posted on this site are simply not worth it.

  13. The Worst

    Upwork is the worst. I think there’s a certain benefit to it, assuming you even get approved, for killing time and building a portfolio if you have nothing else going on.It seems odd that you have to be approved to have a profile when the jobs on there pay crap. The rates are incredibly low.

    I’ve been doing a writer for 14 years, I have expectations. I know where to look for better gigs. I still have a profile on Upwork, but I don’t waste time looking for work there anymore.

  14. Arbitrary system

    A lot of Upwork’s practices favor the client, no matter what. I’ve been active on Upwork for about 7 months, and I’ve been waiting for this client success score. It finally comes, and it’s 75%… I’ve NEVER had a bad experience with a client on this platform. I started to read into the Upwork forums. Turns out that if you have an open, inactive contract then it negatively impacts your score. Two clients had kept contracts open in case they had more work for me. I closed those contracts, and my score jumped to 96%.

    I was lucky. There are many people who struggle trying to increase a low score for a long time if they get a bad beginning score

  15. One of the best business decisions so far

    I’ve been working as a web developer for few years in 2 companies. After I gained enough experience, I decided it’s time to go to next step – freelancing.
    Starting to work on upwork as a freelancer happened to be one of the best business decisions I’ve made so far.

    The hardest part is to get first few jobs. Once you complete first few jobs and get first clients feedbacks and grades, you’re in!
    It has been exactly 1 year since I started to work on Upwork. Since then, I have doubled/tripled my earnings, built long term working relationship with several clients and opened upwork agency few weeks ago.

    It is true that there is a lot of low quality, iresponsible freelancers with small prices, but that is actually not so big problem, because clients are also aware of that problem, so if they have option to choose, they usually choose more quality freelancer, even if that’ means they will pay more (not all of them though 🙂 …).

    You can really find all types of jobs and clients, but Upwork has nothing to do with that. It simply depends on clients.
    Sometimes you will have client that will drink your blood like a vampire for few bucks, and sometimes you will have clients that will pay you really good, and will pay you extra bonus fee if they are satisfied with the work you did.

    Also, I wouldn’t agree that Upwork is only client oriented. After you complete several jobs successfully and get “raising talent” or “top rated” status, you are really being treated nicely.
    I have extremely pleasent experience with upwork’s support.

    But I have to agree, they are charging their service fees too much in my opinion.
    20% of your earnings goes to them, but after you earn 500$ (per client) their service fee is lowered to 10%, which is acceptable.

    My experience with Upwork is only related to web developing world. I am not familiar with the situation in other fields (like writing, marketing , etc..).

  16. I hate Upwork.

    I hate that you’re competing with people in countries with much lower costs of living. It’s not their fault, where they’re from it might be a fair price, but as someone living where I am it’s very difficult. I think you waste a lot of time and a lot of energy for little pay.

    Upwork basically scared me off from using any other online platform. Now when people suggest sites to me I say “no thanks.” It killed my first business.

  17. Rat race

    My experience with the platform has been very short. I am still trying to figure out how to start my freelancing so Upwork was one of the first destinations.
    I did the first steps – registered, created a profile and searched for possible jobs, but very soon it became clear, that there will be plenty of frustration and discouraging experiences ahead.
    So my early lesson has been that without a clear strategy and plenty of patience, it is better to start somewhere else.

  18. A huge pool of opportunities

    It’s probably the biggest freelance marketplace out there, so whether you are a freelancer or looking for one, the opportunities are countless. That said, it also requires certain dose of patience, as being a huge pool indeed, Upwork requires serious filtering. I’ve been on both sides, as a freelancer and as a recruiter, and there is everything on Upwork, from marginal projects and offers, to super serious businesses and professional. I guess it works the best for us who are in tech, but I’ve also managed to find copywriters etc. quite easily. The logging tool and guaranteed automatic payments mean a lot to a freelancer, but also for a business owner it’s nice to have the full overview of you team’s worklogs, costs etc. , all in one place. As somebody who hires on behalf of a client, the hiring manager permission feature is very convenient for me. It gives me the full liberty of posting jobs, interviewing candidates, starting&ending contracts etc., without having to take care of the legal and financial aspects of hiring (the invoices go directly to the company who is paying for the freelancers’ work).

    I like the system of reviews as well, which is present on both sides (a freelancer to the company and vice versa) and the possibility to see the details of the previous jobs and the freelancer’s involvement, which helps me significantly when screening candidates.

    As a freelancer you can apply for jobs or be invited. As a company you can wait for candidates to apply or invite them specifically (as I always do, and in most of the cases I end up hiring people I’ve found via search).
    Practicalities as payments, customer support etc. worked fine for me so far.

    As mentioned, it’s huge, so it takes some patience to find a good project (for a freelancer) or the right candidate (for a company), but it goes easier with time as you build your profile.

    The fee that the freelancer pays decreases over time spent on one project. In my opinion that’s not the best idea, as there are roles (like consulting, or design) where experts don’t spend many hours on one client, but rather have multiple clients at a time. Would prefer the fee calculated based on the overall hours worked on a platform and the success score etc.

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