Upwork vs Freelancer: Which is Better?

By: Rafal Reyzer
Updated: Oct 5th, 2023

upwork vs freelancer - featured image

Upwork or Freelancer? It’s the age-old debate for those diving into the freelance world.

The rise of remote work has spotlighted these two giants in the freelancing sphere, with both platforms boasting their legion of fans. Each platform has its merits, from quality service to user-friendly dashboards. But how do you pick your match in this popular duo? Delving into the nuances of Upwork and Freelancer, and understanding their unique strengths and weaknesses, will guide you in making an informed choice tailored to your needs.

freelancer organic-min

As you can see, upwork.com is a much larger platform, but it doesn’t mean that freelancer.com isn’t worth your try!

Upwork vs. Freelancer: An overview of the platforms:


Upwork is a prominent global platform that boasts clients like Microsoft and GoDaddy. There are several projects accessible, including a diverse range of creative labor. Registering to the site is free. All you must do is go to the site and fill out a profile information form. You may also have to take some tests to measure your skills and English proficiency level to get approved before you can proceed with applying for jobs. You can browse hundreds of potential jobs on Upwork that fit your profile and expertise once they approve your application.


Established in 2009, Freelancer is yet another well-known freelancing platform. Besides providing assignments, it enables freelancers to take part in different contests. These contests will not only allow freelancers to show their abilities but also the chance to win considerable cash prizes. It also links employers and freelance operators in hundreds of cities, provinces, and countries around the world.

platform popularity

Upwork vs Freelancer: Comparative Analysis:


In terms of numbers, Freelancer has a slight edge, having attracted over 15 million freelancers and having already posted 7.4 million projects. The total worth of the posted jobs on Freelancer is about $2.2 billion per year. It has a big turnover because of its several subsidiaries, such as Escrow.com, SydStart, and Warrior Forum.


Both Freelancer and Upwork have millions of registered employable individuals. This ensures employers will never be short of talents to choose from. Both platforms provide advanced search options, making it easier for employers to locate and hire the most skillful candidate. Upwork, however, has the advantage in this category. For starters, it is more flexible in terms of the recruitment process. It is interesting to note that Upwork’s gig system is like that of Fiverr. It also uses certain criteria for the vetting procedure. That is why the pool of candidates seems smaller at first glance. It is because they make the most qualified freelancers float to the surface for the sake of the employers. They even give top-rated freelancers a gleaming emblem shown next to their profile.

Convenience of Usage

I will also give this round to Upwork. They simplified every step for freelancers, from the registration, to form submissions to the entire screening process. It possesses a clean interface with excellent search terms and exploration tool structures, thus providing a better user experience. Though there are several categories available, a keyword search automatically turns up qualified freelancers that fit the employer’s requirements. Conversely, freelancers can also easily search for job openings that suit their skills. While Freelancer’s UI is also straightforward, it takes a little longer for the users to familiarize themselves with the buttons and menu options. Nonetheless, it is a feature-rich system with a minor flaw. The overwhelming quantity of responses after posting your first query will surprise you. Unfortunately, Freelancer is suffering from a bot problem. Some slave-driver companies posing as individual contractors usually creep their way into the system. Both Freelancer and Upwork provide you with tracker apps to record your work with task notes and screenshots. They are compatible with almost any operating system. Collecting information and keeping track of employees is also a breeze on these platforms.

convenience in using a freelancer platform

Fees & Charges

It’s hard to compare the two job portals’ differing payment and commission schemes, so let’s just call this category a tie. One notable thing to say, though, is both Upwork and Freelancer provide advanced payment protection plans for freelancers. A different payout system is in place on Freelancer’s platform for projects and contests. For fixed-price projects, it charges an introduction fee of 10% of the total project cost with a minimum charge is about $5. Ten percent of the project’s total cost is levied as a fee for hourly projects. Submissions for contests are completely free. However, they collect a 10% fee of the total prize money or $5, whichever is higher. Premium members can join the Preferred Freelancer Program. According to the site, you are subject to the third tier of fees, but they will only charge you once the system receives the payment.

Upwork, on the other hand, charges fees in three tiers:

  • 20 percent for the first $500 you make
  • 10 percent between $500 and $10,000
  • 5 percent for billings that surpass $10,000

Upwork’s payment structure, as you can see, encourages you to become a long-term member of the platform. Increased earnings through the platform result in decreased fees.

freelancer working at a desk

Use freelance platforms to work from anywhere.

Recruiting and Selection Procedure

There are similarities in the hiring processes between Upwork and Freelancer. So, again, I would say that they have an equal footing on this one. Using the Upwork method to explain the procedure: After an employer opens a job opportunity, you can make a bid to be considered for the position. The person who posted the position checks the bids to shortlist the right applicants. In its user-friendly interface, you can use the search bar to narrow down the list of positions that match your preferences. You can keep track of new job opportunities through your job feed. You may submit an offer to the client whenever you identify a suitable employment opportunity. The first requirement is a proposal letter that is tailored to the specific job you are applying for. The prospective employer may also ask to see samples of your work, and any other material relevant to the position. They may even schedule an interview and require you to take a test or a trial of the actual job. Most employers would pay you though for the trial period. If the employer wants to hire you, he or she will send an offer. Once you accept it, then the contract will start.

There are two primary methods of payment:

  • The by-the-hour payment scheme
  • The specific price agreement scheme

Regardless of what scheme was agreed upon between you and the client, Upwork will make certain that you get compensated. The Freelancer method or procedure is quite similar. Except, they also hold contests where the winners get paid in cash prizes. Both sites act as a go-between or a bridge between the clients and the freelancers, even if the parties involved are living in different countries.

freelancers in a co working space

Are you ready to join one of the platforms and start getting paid as a freelancer?

Upwork vs. Freelancer – Bottom Line

Upwork and Freelancer are both well-known freelance markets. Making an apple-to-apple comparison between the two is quite difficult. My advice is you analyze the terms and conditions and select the platform that best suits your needs. That depends on your professional status and the projects you choose to embark on. As an employer looking for talent, Upwork is a better choice. The fee structure is more transparent, and they have a vetting procedure that Freelancer.com lacks. For this reason, the latter is more prone to spammers who access the platform. Some freelancers claim it is difficult to win a project in Upwork. However clients pay better on this platform and are more likely to provide long-term work opportunities. Plus, Upwork guarantees “an hour worked is an hour paid”. Next up, you may want to explore a guide on how to manage your finances as a freelancer.

Rafal Reyzer

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time entrepreneur building two companies, a digital marketer, and a content creator with 10+ years of experience. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient digital marketer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Explore my journey here, and don't miss out on my AI Marketing Mastery online course.