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If you’re not a freelancer or self-employed right now, chances are you will be at some point in the future. Self-employed, non-traditional workers will soon comprise more than one-third of the overall workforce.
If you’re a freelance worker right now or plan to be one, using an online platform to connect with clients and build your experience is a great way to jumpstart your career. Or make even more money than you already are as a solo freelancer.
One of the most popular freelancing platforms available right now is Upwork. Here is a great rundown on Upwork, so you can determine whether or not it should be your freelancing platform of choice.
Onto our Upwork review!
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What is Upwork?
Upwork is an online marketplace for freelancers and the companies that hire them. The company was formally established in 2015, after previously being named Elance-oDesk. Upwork allows companies or individuals to place tasks they need completing in fields like writing, editing, coding, and graphic design, after which registered freelancers can bid to complete them.
All payment transactions are completed within Upwork as well, and the site takes a percentage of the overall payment for the work the freelancers do.
How it Works
Upwork is easy to use. As a freelancer, you create a profile describing the work that you do; you can upload or provide links to some of your past work if desired as well. You also link your Upwork account to your bank account, so that you can get paid within the Upwork system.
Then, you can use the search function in Upwork to find jobs you’re interested in doing. When you find a job you like, you can submit an offer. If the client selects you, you then prepare and submit the work for review; if the client approves the work, you then get paid, and Upwork takes a percentage of the payment.
There are both fixed price and hourly jobs on Upwork. If you do an hourly rate assignment, you’ll install an app on your computer to track your time; as you work on a given assignment, the app will randomly take screenshots of your computer to verify you’re doing the work.
While freelancers typically search for and submit offers to do jobs posted on Upwork, clients often solicit work directly from freelancers as well; after finding a suitable freelancer through the search function, clients send unsolicited work proposals, which the freelancer can either accept or reject.
Clients and freelancers alike can give each other feedback after completing a job, which is added to your respective profiles. This feedback can help clients decide whether or not they want to take a chance on you, and it will also let you know whether or not you really want to work with a client, too.
The Upwork platform functions somewhat like other social capital internet platforms, such as eBay; the more positive feedback you receive and jobs you successfully complete, the more visible and likely you are to receive and/or win additional work from Upwork clients.
Upwork Customer Service
Upwork has physical offices in Santa Clara (its global headquarters) and San Francisco, California, and also in Chicago.
The company can be reached by phone for inquiries at 650.316.7500. Freelancers can contact Upwork’s customer service for inquiries through their user dashboard. Additionally, the platform has a comprehensive customer support center.
Freelancers can either read about using the site there, or use it as a means to address billing, payment disputes, or deal with any technical problems they may be having with the Upwork platform.
Upwork Reviews & Complaints
Upwork has a rating of 4.4 on Trustpilot, with over 4,100 reviews, which is considered excellent. Of those reviews, 75 percent rated Upwork as excellent, while 15 percent gave the platform a bad rating.
In a cursory search of the bad reviews, most of them seem to relate to the fees that Upwork charges for the completed work freelancers do within the site. Upwork is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau but carries and “A+ rating from the BBB.
Upwork Review Pros and Cons
Here are some of the key pros and cons for Upwork you should consider:
- Easy to Start on and Use. The Upwork platform is great for freelancers who are just starting out and need to get themselves established. Since many clients are looking for work that can be done as cheaply as possible (which is also a disadvantage of the site, see below), the site allows newcomers to prove themselves and build their reputations by completing simple, modestly paying jobs and then build themselves up to more lucrative work.
- Reduces Marketing Time and Costs. You can use Upwork to find clients who already need work done right now and have posted jobs in order to find freelancers to complete them; this will save you time, effort and perhaps money that you’d otherwise spend elsewhere looking for work.
- Enables Remote Work. If you want or need to work from home – and who doesn’t these days, with the Coronavirus Pandemic still going strong – the Upwork platform will enable you to find work, do jobs, and get paid, all from the comfort of your dining room table.
- Upwork Fees. The biggest complaint about Upwork from most users is how much it charges freelancers for work completed within the platform. Upwork charges a 20 percent fee for the first $500 of work billed to a client. So, if you do a job that pays $100, you’ll take home $80 and Upwork will get $20. After you’ve billed the client $550 the service fee drops to 10 percent and it decreases to 5 percent for any clients billed more than $10,000. However, freelancers who use Upwork will continue to be charged fees for work no matter how long they stay with a certain client.
- Low Pay. While there are many opportunities on Upwork for high paying freelance assignments, the platform allows clients to post nearly any job on the platform regardless of price. As a result, there are tens of thousands of low paying jobs that, if taken on and completed, would pay far below what most people consider a living wage. Those low-paying jobs far outnumber the more lucrative job postings. So, if you’re an established freelancer, or absolutely need to make more money to support your living costs, it may make sense to look elsewhere for work.
When it comes to online freelancing, Upwork is far from the only game in town. There are a variety of different online freelancing platforms worth checking out. Some Upwork competitors include Fiverr, Freelancer, Toptal, and Guru.
Each of these sites works differently; some of them are better for established freelancers with highly sought skills that can charge higher fees; others are good for freelancers just starting out.
Additionally, if you’re searching for work as a freelancer, it is always worth checking out Craigslist as well; people often post job listings there that may be in your area of expertise, and you’ll be able to avoid the service fees of the aforementioned freelancing sites, too.
Review Of Upwork: Parting Thoughts
Is Upwork legit? Yes, Upwork is a legitimate freelancing platform offering a broad range of services to both businesses and freelancers. If you’re a freelancer or want to be one, you should definitely check out Upwork. This online platform has everything you need to find work, do jobs, and get paid, and you can do the work remotely.
Upwork will allow you to cultivate lucrative long-term relationships with clients and build a reputation as a freelancer that enables you to pursue consistently higher-paying work. So, check out Upwork as soon as you can, and see if this freelancing platform is a good choice for you.
Thanks for reading our Upwork review.