Table of Contents
- What Is Upwork?
- How Does Upwork Work?
- Upwork for Clients
- Upwork for Freelancers
- Is Upwork Legit and Safe?
- Payment Protection
- Fixed-Price Protection
- Can You Get Scammed on Upwork?
- Upwork Pros & Cons
- Genuine Upwork Reviews From Customers
- Upwork Reviews on Social Media
- Upwork’s Assessment on Consumer Review Sites
- Final Words
Currently, freelancers contribute $1.4 trillion to the US economy alone and have a much more significant economic impact globally. The number of freelancers has been increasing steadily, especially with the pandemic confining people to their homes.
Freelancing platforms facilitate the connection between clients and freelancers, often offering safe payment options, client project managers, and much more. Among all other freelancing websites, Upwork is arguably one of the most widely known sites.
But how good is Upwork? This article will examine Upwork reviews from freelancers and employers to help see both sides of the coin and determine if the platform is ideal for your requirements.
What Is Upwork?
Upwork is a freelancing platform that was produced as a result of the merger between oDesk and Elance in 2013. Later, the platform rebranded to form Upwork in 2015 and has grown substantially since then.
According to Upwork’s data, 59 million Americans were freelancing from the platform in 2020, which was forecasted to rise in 2021. Over the years, the freelancing site has become expansive enough to include various categories across different industries, such as tech, legal, writing, software development, mobile app development, design, and more.
How Does Upwork Work?
Upwork facilitates growing businesses in working with top-rated talent from around the world. As a client, you simply have to sign up, post a job and then review the proposals you get to choose the best offer.
On the flip side, freelancers also need to create their profiles, upload their portfolios and start bidding on projects. Upwork has many tools to help both clients and freelancers communicate, pay, and collaborate efficiently with each other.
Upwork for Clients
Upwork has two options for clients — Enterprise and basic. The basic plan is ideal for beginners who don’t have specified needs and don’t mind taking the added responsibility of finding and interviewing talent.
On the other hand, the Enterprise plan is suitable for businesses or individuals who need additional help from the platform to manage and hire talent.
Here are the steps involved in hiring a freelancer through a basic plan:
- Sign up for an account on Upwork.
- Write a job post.
- Specify if you want the project to have a fixed price or be priced hourly.
- Review the proposals you receive from freelancers and interview the talent you have
- Hire them and get your job done.
Meanwhile, the steps in the Enterprise plan are:
- Sign up for an account and get it configured.
- Alternatively, you can email a Talent Specialist on the platform and tell them about your project.
- You may also post your job directly on the website.
Since Enterprise users have access to pre-vetted talent, you don’t have to go through the laborious process of interviewing a dozen freelancers who have sent you proposals.
Upwork for Freelancers
Freelancers can create their accounts for free on Upwork. The platform allows you to decorate your portfolio with your history, skills, work experience, an introduction video, and much more.
After that, you just have to start bidding on projects. Some clients might interview you, while others — impressed by the reviews on your profile and your portfolio — may get right to assigning you work.
Upwork’s fixed-priced protection means the client payments are released as soon as you reach a project milestone. You can also choose to get paid for the hour — whatever rows your boat.
Is Upwork Legit and Safe?
Yes, Upwork is undoubtedly legit and safe. In fact, it has been the bread and butter of many freelancers for years. The platform takes great measures to ensure the safety of both the clients and the freelancers.
Upwork has Trust and Safety programs that safeguard the interests of both parties involved. Meanwhile, the Hourly Payment Protection feature ensures that the freelancers getting paid by the hour receive their payments in due time.
As for other threats like malicious emails and phishing, Upwork has complete guides on how to stay safe from them. You can also report any security threats or issues to Upwork by reaching out to the support team.
Upwork’s Payment Protection allows safe and secure payments, whether they are fixed-rate or by the hour. Therefore, freelancers and clients can collaborate on projects without any monetary concerns.
Upwork has fixed-price protection for both freelancers and clients. Clients and freelancers agree on the project deliverables and set milestones. The client then has to deposit an amount, minimum $5 for a milestone, into escrow. The freelancer submits the work for approval, and the payment is only released when the client approves the payment.
If the work is not satisfactory or requires changes, the client can ask for an escrow refund or request the freelancer to make the necessary changes before approving the payment.
Since the client’s money is held in escrow, freelancers are guaranteed payment for their satisfactory work. If the client doesn’t request any changes or approve the work in 14 days, the money is automatically released to the freelancer. Likewise, if you have submitted a milestone, but the client refuses to approve the project, thereby withholding your payment, you can file a dispute.
Can You Get Scammed on Upwork?
Although Upwork goes to great lengths to maintain security on the platform for both clients and freelancers, there are still instances where you can get scammed. Upwork has detailed guidelines on practicing safety measures to prevent circumvention, account fraud, phishing, check-cashing fraud, shipping scams, and more.
Here are some pro tips to keep yourself safe from scams on Upwork:
- Don’t accept payment or pay someone outside Upwork. You increase your risk of fraud and scams this way. Also, Upwork’s Payment Protection does not apply to payments taken or given externally.
- Don’t allow anyone else to use your account. Identity theft has become a huge issue these days, and you should be cautious to prevent fraud.
- Remember that an actual client will not ask you to work for free or give them money to begin working for them. Therefore, if someone asks you to do this, you should immediately report it as suspicious behavior to Upwork.
Upwork Pros & Cons
Since Upwork has ample opportunities for freelancers and gives clients access to top talent, it’s an attractive platform for both parties. However, before you start working or hiring on this platform or any for that matter you need to weigh the pros and cons.
- Plenty of Work: Upwork is a goldmine for freelancers who have marketable skills that they want to capitalize on.
- Payment Protection: Upwork’s payment protection features give both freelancers and clients peace of mind, allowing them to focus more on work rather than money.
- Messaging: You can stay in touch with your client or freelancer through all Upwork fronts, including mobile, browser, and desktop.
- Periodic Screenshots: Upwork takes screenshots of a freelancer’s work every 10 minutes for hourly rate projects. Thus, the client can monitor the work in progress and make sure they are being charged for the hours spent on their project.
- Filtering Ability: Upwork lets you filter freelancers by geographical location, which is particularly helpful if you’re looking for someone in the same time zone as you.
- High Fees: Upwork charges both clients and freelancers. The bigger the project, the higher the fees.
- Increased Competition: Landing your first job as a freelancer on Upwork is quite expensive since the platform is highly competitive. Freelancers from outside the US, who have lower costs of living in their countries, often bag projects by bidding low rates. That can leave more qualified and professional freelancers with little to no jobs.
- Lengthy Process: Hiring freelancers on Upwork can be a lengthy process since you have to interview several applicants. Upwork reports that it takes three days on average to hire a freelancer.
- Poor Customer Support: Many users have complained about Upwork’s poor customer support. Their support team is unable to solve complex issues and is too slow to respond.
- Lenient Selection Process: Upwork’s freelancer selection process is a bit lenient as there are no skill tests involved to vet the applicants.
Genuine Upwork Reviews From Customers
Who could possibly know better about a platform than the people who use it? That’s why we have compiled reviews from all over the Internet, answering all your questions about the site. Since Upwork caters to both freelancers and clients, we’ll show you reviews from both parties.
When the pandemic struck, many companies started laying off their workers without any prior notice. As a result, a vast number of people had no means to sustain themselves. Many users joined Upwork during this time and found online work to sustain their homes.
Part of the reason many people are reluctant to work online is that they are worried they may not be paid for their work. However, as this review confirms, you definitely get paid on Upwork since the platform has strict payment guidelines in place.
Many people have a life-long dream of working in different countries around the world. However, lack of funds and pandemic-based restrictions have put this dream on hold. But Upwork allows people to work for anyone regardless of geographical limitations and barriers.
This review tackles something most individuals experience. They want to keep doing their nine-to-five jobs, but they also want to start a side hustle with flexible timing. Upwork allows you to do this by deciding the number of hours you want to work and the projects you want to take.
Some clients reported that they couldn’t see negative reviews of the freelancers who have bid on their proposals. Instead, they can only see positive reviews and are often misled into choosing the wrong person for the job. As this reviewer mentioned, Upwork is misleading clients by doing this.
Upwork Reviews on Social Media
You can also find several Upwork reviews on social media channels, such as Quora, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit.
Freelancers on Reddit don’t seem to have any luck on Upwork as most of them have some sort of complaint about the website. Here are some good and bad Upwork reviews on Reddit.
We find this review to be very well-balanced. On the one hand, the reviewer admits that Upwork is problematic since many projects go to freelancers who bid low rates. However, if you know your worth and have realistic expectations, you’ll have better luck on the platform.
Like freelancers on other websites, Reditters also complain about the tough competition on Upwork and how this makes finding work a challenge. Freelancers have to be okay with many low-paying and awful jobs in order to get better ones. Beginners can rarely bag high-paying jobs.
Even on Twitter, people are complaining about getting scammed on Upwork. Sadly, it goes both ways. Clients scam freelancers and freelancers scam clients — it’s a vicious cycle.
Since Upwork does not appropriately vet freelancers, clients are often stuck with people who don’t have the knowledge required for the project they are bidding on. On top of that, when clients report these freelancers, they end up getting in more trouble.
It’s almost a bit too common how many people get their accounts suspended by Upwork. To make matters worse, Upwork hardly ever gives a reason for suspending users’ accounts. Their support team doesn’t respond in time, leaving the complainants hanging.
While it’s true that finding your initial gigs on Upwork can take time, once you start getting clients, your earnings increase substantially. Many freelancers from smaller countries state that they earn more from Upwork than they were getting from their nine-to-five jobs.
Like many other sites, freelancers on Quora have also complained about the tough competition on Upwork. Getting projects is quite difficult, especially if you’re looking for long-term tasks or clients that keep coming back with more work.
Many clients are concerned about the new bidding and freelancer selection process on Upwork. Previously, the platform only allowed freelancers to join if the category wasn’t saturated enough. However, they currently allow pretty much everyone to enter the platform and bid on every project.
On the one hand, this has led to a saturated market. On the other hand, it makes the selection process laborious and difficult for clients — they have to go through a lot of useless and irrelevant bids before finding the right person for their task.
The reviewer talks about how many freelancers sign up on Upwork expecting to land a project the very first day. But since the platform is very competitive, it can sometimes take freelancers months to get their first project. Plus, Upwork has a client-first approach, which can often put freelancers at a disadvantage.
Upwork may have its flaws, but it has allowed many people to earn thousands of dollars sitting at home. You just have to decide if the pros are worth bearing the cons.
If you put in your heart and effort, you can make Upwork work for you. However, bear in mind that the process will be rocky, and you might have to wait for weeks — sometimes even months — just to get your first reply from a client.
Upwork’s Assessment on Consumer Review Sites
Now that you’ve read specific reviews from users on different sites, let’s assess the overall sentiment towards Upwork on popular consumer review sites.
Upwork has a rating of 1.5 on BestCompany, receiving negative reviews from many users who claim the platform doesn’t provide value, quality, or service. However, there are also some positive reviews from freelancers and clients who have found their matches on the platform.
Upwork isn’t accredited by Better Business Bureau, and it has a terrible rating of 1.1 on the platform. Upwork has only closed 46 complaints in the past year and 150 in the past three years.
Many users have reported getting their accounts suspended and being victims of scams. The trends seem to be similar across all consumer review sites. Here are some user reviews on BBB:
Upwork has 82 reviews on Capterra with a solid 4.5 rating. Most users have highly rated the ease of use and overall efficiency of the platform. However, customer support has the lowest rating of all metrics, just like all other consumer review sites.
Upwork has a rating of 4.0 on ConsumerAffairs. Although most users seem happy with the service Upwork provides, the same complaints of scamming and accounts getting suspended plague ConsumerAffairs. More importantly, the inefficiency of the support team has been highlighted by many freelancers and clients.
With that, we’ve come to the end of this article about Upwork reviews. We mentioned Upwork reviews for freelancers to determine the desirability of working through the site.
We’ve also compiled Upwork reviews for clients from different consumer review sites and social media to alert job posters of the hiccups they may face on the platform.
All things considered, this comprehensive guide should have prepared you for your freelancing or hiring journey on Upwork. Upwork provides a relatively easy entry barrier for individuals looking to start their freelancing careers. Its guarantee of payments and intuitive UI makes it easy to sign up and find clients.
However, unfortunately, Upwork doesn’t make a strong enough case to be the first choice for experienced freelancers. Negatives like paying money upfront to bid on projects, poor emphasis on matching a freelancer’s actual skillset with a suitable project, and poor customer service make it a less ideal choice.
So, if you’re new to freelancing and are looking to start your career, Upwork can be a good place to start gaining insights and get a feel for the market. Maybe, you can even get your first client on the platform.