Upwork and Freelancer.com are two of the most popular freelance marketplaces out there. On the surface, both the websites may appear the same — clients post jobs, you search and bid for the ones relevant to you.
But when you are deciding which website to focus your efforts on, you have to look deeper than that. As a freelancer, time is money, spending it on the wrong platform can cost you.
A brief overview of the two websites
Upwork was formed after the merger of two freelancing platforms, Elance and ODesk, in 2015. They market themselves as the largest global freelancing website for businesses to find and work with highly-skilled freelancers.
In 2018, Upwork enabled over $1.66 billion worth projects, and they have around 16 million freelancers as users.
Upwork is a general marketplace, you can find jobs in all sorts of fields, from software development to architecture.
Freelancer.com was founded in 2009. They claim to be the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace by the number of users.
They have around 29 million users from over 247 countries, regions and territories.
Like Upwork, they too are a general marketplace. You can find jobs in niches such as marketing and data entry as well as local jobs and services.
In this post, we will evaluate the two on various aspects to help you decide which website to go for.
Here’s a quick comparison of the two:
1. Range of projects
You can find all kinds of projects on Upwork — hourly to long term projects and entry-level to complicated technical projects.
It is the same on Freelancer.com. But, a vast majority of the projects on Freelancer.com are short-term ones.
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Winner: The quality and variety of projects on Upwork is overall much better than that of Freelancer.com. You can find hourly projects as well as more lucrative, complex, and long-term projects on Upwork.
2. Vetting process
How Upwork does it
Upwork’s profile approval system is quite strict. Complete all of the steps listed below to ensure that your profile is approved.
- Complete your profile to 100 per cent Be descriptive, and add as much information as possible.
- Be sure to complete a few relevant skill tests on the platform.
- Add your portfolio to your Upwork profile.
- Link your Upwork profile with your social media accounts.
- Submit your Government-issued ID card or passport and Residency verification document.
- Complete a video verification call with an Upwork agent.
Your profile won’t be visible on Upwork until they are completed and verified.
How Freelancer.com does it
Compared to Upwork, Freelancer.com’s profile verification process is more lenient and simple. All you have to do is submit a valid government-issued ID card, keycode verification, and 2 recent utility bills or bank statements or 1 of each.
Additionally, you can link your social media accounts with your Freelancer.com profile to improve the Trust Score.
Winner: Because Freelancer.com’s verification process is simpler, you tend to see more scammy and low-quality profiles on the platform compared to Upwork. This often stops deserving candidates from getting projects. So, Upwork is the clear winner in this category.
3. How the platform works
Upwork operates on bids. You will have to bid for a project, and then draft a project proposal, set the price, and submit it.
Learn more about the whole process below:
To bid for projects, you need to have something called Connects. They are tokens that you have offer every time you bid. Most projects will require you to offer up to 1-5 connects. It varies depending on the size of the projects. You won’t need it if you are being rehired or approached by a client themselves.
Every Upwork member is credited with 60 Connects at the beginning of a month. Freelancer Plus members get an additional 10 also with the ability to purchase more and roll over unused Connects to the following month.
If you get shortlisted by the client, you will be contacted by the client for an interview. This would be on Skype, Upwork Messages or on Phone. Sometimes, they may even send a test project to evaluate your capabilities.
Should they think you are good enough, they will send you the offer letter. If you are to accept the offer, you will have to create a contract on Upwork.
In the case of hourly contracts, you will receive your earnings within 10 days of the completion of the billing cycle (every Sunday). You will have to download their timesheet app called Team App. It tracks your billable hours and also maintains transparency by taking screenshots.
As for project-based contracts, you will have to discuss the payment structure with the client and come up with milestones. Then, for every milestone, the client will prefund your payment which will be accessible only after the completion of the milestone.
Once you finished the project or completed the required number of hours, the client has 14 days to either approve the work and release payment or to request revisions. The status will change to close only when the client reviews the work and pays you.
Like in Upwork, Freelancer too works on a bidding basis. Besides projects, it also lets clients organize Contests where freelancers can submit their entries. And the winner will receive the prize money.
With a free plan, you can submit up to 8 bids per month. The paid plans let you make a minimum of 15 bids to a maximum of 1500 bids per month. The bidding process is similar to Upwork.
If they are impressed with you, they will send you an offer. You will have to respond to that within 36 hours.
Freelancer.com has two pricing options, hourly and project-based. For project-based contracts, clients don’t require to pay you upfront. So, you can request clients for milestone payments. Only the client can turn this on.
As for hourly contracts, you will have to download the Freelancer Desktop App. It is Freelancer.com’s version of Team App. The invoice will be generated automatically on every Monday for the previous week. The payment will be processed by Wednesday.
Project-based contracts will be marked as complete only when the final payment is made. And for hourly contracts, the client has to manually do it.
Winner: Upwork’s job search filter is far more detailed and easy-to-use compared to Freelancer.com, making it easier for users to find relevant jobs.
As far as the bidding process is concerned, you can make a lot more bids on Freelancer.com compared to Upwork. But, this also means you will have more competition.
On the whole, Upwork is more streamlined and hassle-free when it comes bidding and project management.
4. Service Fees
How Upwork charges you?
Upwork charges service fee based on the total amount you bill each client for. Here are the rates:
Example: If you land a project worth $400 with a client, they will charge you 20% of it. Then, if you land another project with the same client worth $600, they will charge you 20% on $100 and 10% on the remaining $500. Besides that, an additional 2.75% will be levied as Processing Fee.
How Freelancer.com charges you?
On freelancer.com, the service fee is charged based on the type of the project. Here are the rates:
- On hourly contracts, 10 per cent is charged.
- On fixed-price projects, 10 per cent or ₹250, whichever is greater is charged.
- The transaction fee is ₹15.00 + 2.3% of the transaction
Winner: Freelancer.com is clearly cheaper than Upwork. On Upwork, if you don’t have repeat clients, you might end up paying 20 per cent service fee on every project.
5. List of special features
- Payments are protected by Upwork Payment Protection
- A mobile app that supports chat and file sharing
- Ability to add video intros to your profile and create a visual portfolio.
- Private and public feedback
- Badges like Top Rated Program and Rising Talent Programs
- Payment verification for clients
- Global payment system
- Lets you participate in Contests
- All transactions are secured with DigiCert 4096-bit SSL encryption
- Contest entries are covered by Intellectual Property Rights
- Zero commission clients who join the platform on your referral
- Offers a free trial
- Ability to sponsor bids
- Bid Quality Score
Winner: On the whole, Freelancer.com has more features compared to Upwork.
6. Membership plans
Membership plans available on Upwork
Freelancer Basic is free for all, while Freelancer Plus is priced at $10 per month.
Membership plans available on Freelancer.com
Winner: Freelancer.com is the outright winner here. They offer more features and choice. On top of that, they even have a free trial which is not there on Upwork.
7. Billing options
Upwork currently accepts Visa, Discover, Mastercard, and American Express. A Verified PayPal account is required.
You can use your verified credit card, PayPal, Skrill or Moneybookers account to withdraw funds.
Winner: Upwork’s billing options are supposed to superior both in terms of choice and payment security.
What is the alternative?
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