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About Upwork

Upwork allows clients to interview, hire and work with freelancers and agencies through the company's platform. The platform now includes a real-time chat platform aimed at reducing the time it takes to find and hire freelancers.

Upwork collects 10 percent of the payment to the independent professional—no fee is charged to those offering jobs. Payments can be made using credit cards, PayPal, or bank transfer. Payments are made through Upwork's escrow system, which transfers the funds to freelancers after a 6-day period.

As of May 2014, Upwork reported $1B in annual billings, 10 million freelancers and 4 million clients worldwide. Freelancers can be hired for jobs on app and software development, engineering and data science, creative services such as graphic design and writing, business and administrative. The company provides voluntary skills tests in various disciplines from English aptitude to specific programming skills, and profiles include a feedback mechanism.

To ensure the freelancers are billing fairly for jobs billed hourly, the platform offers a timesheet application that tracks time and takes screenshots while the freelancer is billing.

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    1 Critic Reviews

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Features & Specifications


Supported languages
Serviceable Area
Canada,  United States
Supported Platforms
  • Web Based
  • Mobile Web
  • Desktop Windows
  • Desktop Mac OSX
  • Mobile App IOS
  • Mobile App Android

Ratings Summary

Domain Authority 83
Alexa Rank 466
Platforms 88

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User Reviews

  • 7 In total

  • User review from

    Sean Caruana

    Upwork is the result of a merging which took place between Elance and oDesk, which were originally two competing freelance platforms. oDesk eventually became Upwork, and support for Elance has now ended, with new jobs being redirected to Upwork. Upwork is, therefore, the new direction for this company, and the new platform for freelancers to use instead of Elance and oDesk, with a fresh user interface, and brand new features. There are a number of improvements over oDesk and Elance, However, there are also a number of disadvantages and changes which were surely not in favour of the freelancers. First of all, the biggest disadvantage and change from Elance, is that Upwork charges freelancers a commission/service fee of 10%, as opposed to the 8.75% which was present in Elance. This is a big disadvantage, as loyal Elance users have no choice but to increase their rates, while not actually pocketing anything extra. Similarly, freelancers are forced to migrate to Upwork, so one cannot argue that if users do not agree with the service fee, they simply do not have to move - on the contrary, freelancers are forced to move as Elance is shutting down and all new jobs are being redirected to Upwork. This in itself is a huge disadvantage, as many freelancers have made an investment on Elance, only to be told that they must move on to Upwork and pay a larger service fee, otherwise, there is no more work available for them. Upwork's marketing team give the impression that there is a lot more work available on Upwork, but the reality is that there are now two communities fighting for the work - the community of freelancers which was present on oDesk, and the community who used Elance. It is therefore quite crowded at the moment, and supply exceeds the demand of jobs. It is not all negative though. While the service fee has increased, there is no need to pay money for an account, and the concept of escrow has been retained. Furthermore, the customer support is quite decent. Besides this, aside from a different user interface, the functionality of Upwork is similar to Elance, which is definitely an advantage.

    Pros :

    • Free account.
    • Escrow.
    • Decent customer support.
    • Most advantages of Elance have been retained.

    Cons :

    • Service fee higher than Elance.
    • Elance users forced to move to Upwork.
    • Very crowded.

    • November 30, 2015
  • User review from

    Elinor Zucchet

    Upwork is my favorite freelancer platform, mainly because the quality of the offers tends to be better than on the others. The design is pleasant and very easy to use, and all skill tests are free, which is not the case of the other freelancer platforms. The time tracker is a great tool if you get paid per hours, as the employer can track your work. The only drawback is limited number of bids, but you can buy more for a decent price.

    Pros :

    • The biggest pro for Upwork is the offer quality, from a freelancer point of view. I quickly found some very good jobs from the beginning, and two companies still send me some work on a regular basis. Many daily offers directly correspond to my skills and interests, and it does not happen with other freelancer platforms.
    • The menu is very simple to use, and they guide you at the beginning.
    • I also like that you can schedule monthly or quarterly payments and set a threshold.
    • Skill tests are free, and you can take as many as you want while with other platforms you pay for each one.
    • You can get the payment per hour or per task, and your payment is secured in both cases thanks to the time tracker or milestones.
    • You can get an idea of what employers expect to pay before bidding, as they need to indicate the level of expertise they are looking for.

    Cons :

    • Bidding credits are rather limited, but they need to make money :-)
    • You can buy more for a decent fee, and I'm thinking to upgrade as I'm convinced of the quality.
    • Some offers remain open forever, which is a bit frustrating as you don't know if the employer chose another freelancer, or what happened. They could ask employers to close offers after a certain time.

    • October 28, 2015
  • User review from

    Maryna Bondarenko

    Being a freelancer for 15 years I began my Upwork career not so long ago. The most challenging about it is that you have to present yourself each time as if you were just the graduate. However, it is exciting to find the appropriate words for building profile, to pass the tests, and to find the right job. The competition is high (especially in the popular fields, e.g. the translation), but it is possible to win even if you are the novice here, and there are 30 applicants already. The most nice thing about working here is the Escrow protection for the payments. When your contract starts and the client sets the milestone the service charges him. Therefore, you can be confident in the solvency of the client. It is the great motivator — to look at the work in progress report and feel that the money are almost in your pocket. There are two types of projects at Upwork. Some are fixed price, and some are hourly. If you work on the hourly basis, you need to download the time tracking app. During the each 10 minutes interval, the app makes the screen capture and uploads it to the server. The client then may review the images and decide if the freelancer was working on the project. But the real great thing about it, is that you always can check these images before they go to the client. If the app had caught something, you don't want to show you may delete the inappropriate screenshot. These 10 minutes are not count then.

    Pros :

    • Guaranteed payment.
    • Thousands of work offers to choose from.

    Cons :

    • The messaging platform is buggy, so it's better to chat with the clients using Skype or email 10% of the freelancer's earnings go to the Upwork.
    • The site sometimes down.

    • October 22, 2015
  • User review from

    Leonardo Andrés David Zerón

    Upwork, formerly Odesk, is among the most popular freelancing sites, and its recent upgrade improved it considerably. One of the best features of Upwork is the wide range of search options and filters available, which makes it easier to find jobs that are an exact match for your skills. There is a full variety with respect to job types, which makes it an attractive freelancing platform for anyone. In addition, the Escrow system and time logging app make sure you will be paid for your services on time. If you are hiring, the same system also guarantees you pay for the exact service you get. After upgrading from Odesk, minimum hourly rates were implemented to make sure it is a well-paying freelancing marketplace. Perhaps the unique area of improvement is that the web interface tends to slow down sometimes, but this is probably due to the large amount of clients and freelancers who are migrating over from Elance.

    Pros :

    • If you are a specialist on a topic, you can be sure there is a client in Upwork who needs your skills and is willing to pay well for your services. Filtering by categories and keywords helps find these jobs.
    • The first level of paid membership offers all categories for just $10/month. This is a very small investment for all the jobs made available to you. You can also check the price range of competing bids when you have a paid membership, which is an advantage for winning jobs.
    • Both the freelancer and the client are protected through the Escrow and time tracking system.
    • The Time Tracker is very stable and accurate.
    • There is a phone app to receive immediate notifications from potential and current customers.

    Cons :

    • The 10% commission fee is somewhat high, although it is only charged on top of received payments. You will never pay commissions upfront.
    • A privacy option to hide your income would be welcome, like in Elance, who is now their subsidiary.
    • The web interface sometimes becomes slow.

    • October 17, 2015
  • User review from

    Nick Thorsch

    I've used Upwork, and it's prior incarnations (Elance and oDesk) for many years. I've typically been on a budget and gone towards the lower bids with high-quality scores. High-quality scores are not necessarily reliable as most developers tend to have high-quality scores from gaming the system in a way. As a result, hiring the lower cost, high-quality score developers tends to result in slow work being done... it's hard to find developers who REALLY know what they're doing and get stuff done fast. I've hired probably around 100 developers, and found really only 1 that is up to par, about 90% of the way there and I'm teaching him to get the rest of the way there by putting himself in the client's mindset and doing what he thinks the client would like, not just getting the task done, but like if he notices other things like spacing that looks off - just fix it. What I like about Upwork is the on-demand ability to hire developers at affordable rates. Really the on-demand aspect any day any time is the best part of it. It's a great global matching system to match people who have worked with those who want work. But sometimes, the developer may bid for the job but not able to start right away, so ask them that and other questions to make sure it's a proper match before awarding them the project. There's also the ability to hire either by hour or by a fixed price project rate. It depends on your situation. Sometimes I hire by the hour when clients send me a list of stuff to do or the list is evolving - I just need some extra help. When the project is well defined and can go from start to finish, then by project makes more sense. But rarely does a project not change. So in that case, you can add milestones or bonuses at the end or make a 2nd project. In general, the developers are all very nice, respectful and responsible. It's really a partnership between you and them to work together to get what you need to be done.

    Pros :

    • Global on-demand talent 24/7.
    • Affordable rates.
    • Relatively easy to use interface.
    • Good customer support.

    Cons :

    • Sometimes tricky to figure out the top developers since ratings are gamed.
    • Sometimes tricky to do things like figure out how to hire, close a project or change a payment method.

    • September 26, 2015
  • User review from

    Katrina (Esther) Manning

    oDesk has recently changed its name to Upwork and acquired Elance. It is a site for businesses and contractors to work together on projects such as web development, marketing, writing and administrative tasks. With more people turning to freelancing work and more companies hiring freelancers, it seems like a win-win situation. Freelancers get to set their terms and schedule, for the most part. Companies get to hire workers without having to pay benefits, etc...The platform is pretty straightforward for a freelancer--you can search for jobs and submit an application. There is a word count minimum and some employers require you to answer additional questions. Because the site is so popular, it can be overwhelming to sift through the thousands of job listings--the Elance acquisition only added to the number. Also, unlike Elance, you can't sort by region. Hopefully, that would be an option in the future because some regions pay higher than others. If you're a freelancer from the United States, it would be difficult to justify one hour of quality work for $5 so, it can take time to look for bidders that are in your area who pay fair rates. Nonetheless, they are there and are friendly and professional too. So far, my experience has been quite positive. I haven't had any issues finding good clients who pay on time. In addition, they have given me repeat work, which is a plus. You just have to make sure you make the time to submit proposals on a consistent basis. It helps to set some time aside in your schedule to do so. Also, it helps to apply to clients that have already hired. If not, you may use up many of your credits on clients who are just there to look around. Still, the site is great for both employers and freelancers.

    Pros : Thousands of listings Straightforward system Application process is easy

    Cons : Can take a lot of time to find the right client

    • September 2, 2015
  • User review from

    Yuneek Sehgal

    I have been working here from last 2.5 years and journey is still memorable although its tough to get started here but once you put some ratings and hours in it. You will be placed in marketplace where loads of opportunities lies ahead of you.

    Pros :

    • Easy yo search, wide variety of projects & gigs to choose from.
    • Guaranteed payment (major morale booster) and many more professional services, acting on behalf of the client.
    • Work from home that is another plus and flexibility of doing work.
    • Learning through various projects and many more.
    • You have also an option of doing work from any location that means you can work from beach or from hills. Only thing you require is good internet connection and your laptop.

    Cons :

    • There is stiff competition and because of that lots of people are willing to do work for much lower than you.
    • The Merger with Elance and oDesk has caused continual confusion in policies, procedures and standards.
    • There is not enough thought process about how small changes have large impacts on employees and clients.
    • I hope in coming time this business grows and provide plenty more opportunities to talented people.

    • August 25, 2015
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