Reviews and expert opinion Upwork

Lucas Turner
Lucas Turner
Freelance Jobs Expert
With a clunky user interface, fake freelancer profiles and an unreliable rating system, Upwork is no longer what it used to be.The good news is that there's a great alternative out there. Read on to find out more.



Upwork Is No Longer What It Used to Be

Upwork is one of the biggest freelance websites online today, but bigger doesn’t always mean better. In fact, that is why it has been downgraded. If you need a freelancer, we recommend you hire a freelancer on Fiverr.

Besides its size, Upwork offers several other advantages. Advanced search filters make it easy to find what you’re looking for. You can view freelancers’ past work history and feedback to get an idea of their professionalism, and the messaging system makes it easy to communicate with potential candidates. There’s also a convenient mobile app and desktop time tracker.

That said, Upwork might not be what it seems. In recent years, the quality of work has gone down. In many cases, the positive feedback you read on freelancers’ profiles isn’t really true – past clients leave high ratings and glowing reviews just because they’re afraid of retaliation.

I’ve even come across quite a few freelancer profiles that were fake. You hire someone for a job, thinking they’re from London or Los Angeles as stated on their profile, only to later discover they’re from a different part of the world and hardly qualified for the job at hand. This can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention a waste of time and money.

With the new pricing, Upwork is no longer suitable for you if you are not a big corporation looking to hire dozens of people. They limit you with invitations of up to 15 people, and if you want to invite more (and of course you do, as many won’t accept the invitation and you want to get a few offers for your project) you need to pay $500 a month for the expensive plan, or trick Upwork and open multiple identical projects, which is annoying. Fiverr is a much better option for starters.



Keeping Ahead of a Fast Developing Market

Upwork is not new to the scene. However, they are growing at an accelerated rate, primarily due to the variety of gigs on offer, the quality of freelancers showcased, and their user-friendliness.

One issue that every freelance site faces are spammers and whilst Upwork does an excellent job of fending them off, its popularity exposes Upwork to spam techniques that have corrupted other sites.

Despite the fact that freelancers need to really apply themselves before they gain the highest verification level on Upwork, many persistent unskilled newbies from Third World countries are flooding in on this site. Hopefully, Upwork will sort out the problem of unskilled workforce and remain a safe harbor of respect for skills, not cheap deals. Our advice is to only hire freelancers with complete verified profiles, positive feedback and at least some Upwork test badges. If you are willing to try out a novice freelancer, we advise you offer him/ her a test assignment to begin with and if you are satisfied with the quality, then go for it.

The quality of the work at Upwork is heterogeneous. However, the general stats are in favor of moderately-priced fine-quality work. This is not a site where A-list freelance pros make money on the side. But some lucky finds for your projects are possible. The demographics of Upwork’s population are rather tilted towards the different sides of the planet. The most classic schemes on Upwork are USA or UK employers hiring a European or Eastern European freelancer.



All You Could Wish for and More

The Upwork team does not limit its developing features. You can find anything, from promotional badges for your private website, to advanced time-tracking software and a Master Card issued by Upwork especially designed for foreign workers.

The hiring scheme on Upwork deviates slightly from other sites and you can hire  or interview a freelancer to discuss the project’s details. Bear it in mind that Upwork will most certainly conceal your e-mail details submitted through private massages, due to its direct contact non-disclosure policy. But a Skype account address will go unrecognized. Freelancers and employers’ performance alike is rated through a 5-star based feedback system. Only completed and paid projects can get feedback.

Registering as a freelancer, there’s quite a lot you need to do to setup a noticeable profile, like upload portfolio items, take skill tests that prove your abilities, verify your identity and add personal information. While this can take you a while, Upwork makes the entire process very easy, by sending you email reminders and notifying you of missing profile elements.

Contract can be made on a project or hourly basis. Hourly contracts require freelancers to download a time-tracking software, that allows employers to see what the freelancer is working on in real time. While somewhat controversial, it does help to build trust between the 2 sides of the deal, so you don’t have to worry about being scammed.See full list of features

Ease of use


Fresh And Polished

Upwork’s visuals are glossy, colorful and stylish. The active designers’ team has changed the site’s layout 3 or 4 times within a few months.

The navigation is perfectly intuitive, except for the “See my profile as others do”. It keeps migrating with each design makeover on UpWork. The neat private messaging box is also an advantage that UpWork has over other freelance sites. The initial registration process requires nothing but your e-mail, password and a desired username, which you can always change as an employer – however, beware of making this mistake when registering a freelancer’s profile. You must use the name that is written in your passport to register.



They Are Really There for You

Customer support is where Upwork truly delivers – you can get help 24/7 using any one of the many contact means available. There is also an extended and well-written FAQ section where you can find answers to just about anything.

  • 24/7 Live-chat
  • Support ticket system
  • Comprehensive FAQs
  • Phone support line
  • Direct phone calls might turn out pricey



The Beauty of Simplicity

Unlike some other sites with undecipherable payment policies and multiple membership-based discounts, Upwork has a set rule – 20% – 5% of the freelancer’s pay is charged to the client. Additional fees are charged when freelancers withdraw funds from Upwork. Upwork funds’ withdrawal fees amount to $2.50. Freelancers are allowed to withdraw amounts no lower than $20 + the withdrawal fee).

There are no premium accounts on Upwork, given their advanced scam-proof verification procedure for making the freelancers’ profiles more attractive on the site.

The payment system is easy – you deposit money from PayPal or your credit card into your Upwork account and begin the hiring process. Upwork only provides dispute arbitration and resolution for hourly-billed projects that had been tracked through the Upwork Team application on the freelancer’s side. Upwork does not resolve disputes over fixed-price projects.

For clients using the Enterprise Upwork Plan, prices vary according to needs.

  • Payment System – Credit card or PayPal
  • Payment Protection – Upwork Team time and performance tracking software is responsible for securing your project and money.
  • Payment Disputes – Only available for hourly-billed projects tracked through UpworkTeam application

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Thomas Jin
Upwork employees are all robbers.

They are taking too much money from freelancers. If the account was suspended with 10k of money in the freelancer account, the upwork does not return the money back to the client, but they have it. When it comes to one freelancer, it's not a big deal, but if you think it's 1000, it's a lot of money. So I am going to put Upwork on trial.

March 31, 2020
Complete garbage

Most people I hired on up work were either incompetent or with personality issues, sometimes both. To lure you to hire freelancers, the website tries hard to make freelancers look good.I just had a horrible experience working with someone. Spent lots of time and money and received a bad outcome. I took an hour to write a completely truthful review, all of it can be backed up with chat history, but the review is removed. He still looks like an excellent freelancer. Turns out he can remove every 1 out of 10 reviews. He can just take some simple jobs to fill some numbers and keep looking awesome. Plus, lots of hirers afraid of retaliation so they have to leave good reviews.

March 01, 2020
Gabriel Ionut
Terrible platform / terrible service

Worst experience ever, totally waste of time, and when I was trying to get in touch with the customer support I only got an answer from bots. I will make sure I will tell my friends the truth about this platform. Totally Not Recommend it. Thank you, Upwork for wasting my time, again.

February 27, 2020
Ted Ferris
Many Fake Profiles - Upwork is a Very Deceptive Platform

I thought I was hiring a freelancer from the USA, it turns out he was from an African country.Upwork allows fake profile images, fake country locations and fake work skills to be displayed on their platform.This cost me big on a job that was completed not to the specified request.Upwork does not care when the work is of low quality or does not meet the contract specs, they say they are not responsible for this and I just have to work it out with the freelancer who refuses to refund my money.This will not make any judgments if the customer is not happy with the work, so you are stuck with no satisfactory job completion and no refund.

February 16, 2020
Michael A. T.
not worth it

Defiantly not worth it!So if you use the time tracker, the freelancers can just use as much time as they want and you pay the hourly rate no matter what they do and how much they decide to use.They say they have a low activity policy but this is a lie because they do not do anything about very low activity ratings.The support does nothing as well.If you leave a review and the freelance does not like it and is top rated, they can have it removed so are they really top rated lol.

January 22, 2020
Jacob Archer
Upwork Is A Complete Joke

No serious business owner should use Upwork. They suspend your account without warning or notice, they tie up funds in escrow, and they basically legally steal your money.If you want to use upwork at all, I suggest just finding talent on there, then messaging them OUTSIDE of upwork, and paying them via PayPal.Upwork tries to convince freelancers and clients that it's "safer" to go through Upwork escrow. But again, they take ridiculous fees, and PayPal works just the same where you can dispute things, etc.At the end of the day, there's just really no reason at all to give Upwork your money.

January 08, 2020
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How does Upwork match up to the competition?

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Bottom line on Upwork

I was asked to compare Freelancer to Upwork. I asked my editor to allow me to tell user to ignore both and simply use Fiverr which is much better, but he insisted on these two, so read here to find out more.

Upwork is the best freelance website available today, serving both employers and freelancers. It is totally intuitive and free and stands out among other platforms which charge extra money for every action you perform on the site. The motto of the site is: Changing the World of Work. It is a real change to look forward to and we wish all other freelancer sites adopted this steady, competent and work-alike approach. Upwork is a significant starting platform for hiring freelancers, as well as a pleasant surprise for people who have dealt with other freelance websites in the past.

Lucas Turner
Lucas Turner
Lucas is a full-stack web developer. He serves as an essential part in the creation of various startups from the proof of concept to acquiring market leader positions.

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