Fiverr or Upwork: Which freelance platform is best?

There were times when making money online was more of a novelty than a reality. Nowadays, freelancing has become irreversibly entrenched and is something that everyone can try. Getting into the freelance industry is now more challenging than ever, though. With a variety of freelance platforms, it’s hard to choose the best one.

Fiverr and Upwork are among the most popular platforms dominating in the freelancing world. Both platforms seem to be similar, but they actually have different origins. If you have trouble making a choice between Fiverr and Upwork, read on to learn the truth about each platform and find out which one of them is going to become the best in 2021.

Flexible Alternatives to Traditional Employment

Recent findings revealed freelancers contributed $1.2 trillion dollars to the economy of the United States in annual income. This shows that freelancing is still on the rise and it’s the most flexible alternative to traditional employment.

More and more companies rely on freelancers as important contributors to their operations. Employers believe that independent professionals can implement new capabilities and skills into the company. Moreover, freelancers are able to handle increased workloads on demand. 

Regardless of the platform you choose to work on, freelancing provides you with an opportunity to build a career from the comfort of your own home. People age 55+ can benefit from freelancing, too. Boomers confess that independent work is a stress-free way to transition into retirement and have extra savings.

Freelancing is often a great option for people with health issues. Unlike traditional employment, freelancing allows them to build a dream career regardless of their location. Choosing a freelance platform is a problem newbies typically encounter, though.

Today Upwork and Fiverr are two successful platforms that offer a myriad of opportunities for freelancers and employers alike. Let’s look under the hood of each platform and see how each one works and where you can reap maximum benefits. 

Does Upwork Have the Largest Pool of Freelancers?

Upwork is probably the most renowned freelance platform available online. With up to 3 million jobs posted each day, Upwork has many opportunities for independent professionals. This platform offers a variety of skills ranging from graphic design, copywriting, software development, to web development.

More than 30 percent of the Fortune 500 takes advantage of Upwork. Some of the most famous clients are Microsoft, Airbnb, GE, Automattic, and BISSELL. The mission of Upwork is to create economic opportunities and help both employers and freelancers. With team members in up to 800 cities worldwide, Upwork is a relatively safe place to make money online. 

Formerly named as Elance-oDesk, Upwork rebranded itself to become the largest freelance hub. Two platforms oDesk and Elance were turned into one to create the largest job market on the web. Apart from offering different job opportunities, Upwork boasts a number of features and tools. It’s safe and easy to work with, yet some pitfalls exist. 

Upwork’s key features and tools

Upwork boasts a variety of features and tools that you can use to work better and earn more. Some of the key tools and features include:

  • A great number of clients who are based worldwide;
  • Secure payment management;
  • User-friendly interface;
  • Excellent customer service;
  • Job Success score;
  • Statistics of marketing effectiveness;
  • Upwork Readiness Test;
  • Direct Contracts;
  • Upwork app;
  • Top Rated perks like removing negative feedback.

What Are the Perks of Upwork Freelancing?

If you manage to reach a top rated status on Upwork, you can reap lots of benefits from this platform. The key is to deliver quality work to clients and have great communication skills. It might take a week or even a month before you land your first gig, but it’s worth the candle. Here are some of the best perks of Upwork freelancing:

1. Huge job opportunities

Literally… Regardless of your skills, you’ll definitely find something for yourself. If you do your job well, you’re more likely to receive a long-term contract. Even a short-term contract that you completed with positive feedback increases your chances of getting hired by another client. 

Earning a 100% Job Success badge will provide you with extra credibility. An eye-catching profile will attract more clients who will send you job invitations. 

2. Payment protection

Upwork allows clients to set up a project with either an hourly rate or a fixed price. Both options are negotiable and you discuss a payment rate before starting a contract. When a client sends you an offer, you see how much you’ll get in the end and thus you can accept or decline the offer.

Upwork Payment Protection will give you peace of mind as it ensures a freelancer will certainly get paid when a milestone or project is completed. When you begin a contract, a client deposits a particular amount of cash into an escrow account where money is kept until the project or milestone is done. 

When it comes to hourly contracts, a client is invoiced in accordance with the hours you log in to Upwork. The payment protection option makes Upwork one of the best freelance platforms in 2021.

3. Easy cash withdrawal

Upwork offers a few ways to withdraw cash, including PayPal and Payoneer. The fees aren’t too large. You will need to pay $1 and any additional fees may be charged by your bank. You can withdraw a particular amount only on the fifth day after a client approves a milestone, though.

4. Direct Contracts

If you have some projects outside Upwork and a client doesn’t want to set up an Upwork account, you can still get paid and manage contracts via Direct Contracts. You create a contract with all details, including the budget, and then send it to your client’s email. Once a client accepts your offer, they give us your payment for safekeeping. 

Unlike regular contracts, you get paid right away with reduced fees for a fixed priced project and within 5 days for hourly work. This way, you know that you’ll definitely get paid for your job.

5. Upwork app

The application lets you stay in touch with your clients, look for a new job, and withdraw money without a hustle. There are many more options the app has so you can do your job on the go.

What Are the Drawbacks of Upwork Freelancing?

Upwork does have the cons to consider as well. This popular freelance platform has one of the highest fees among other platforms. Moreover, there are scammers and clients who want to get a high-quality job for cheap. Upwork has strict rules but clients seem to have more advantages than freelancers. Before you dive into Upwork’s world, consider the following cons:

1. Fees

Each freelance platform has fees, but Upwork seems to have the highest ones. The initial 20% fee will make you feel robbed. You work so hard to earn that $100 but end up receiving only $80. Who will be happy? 

You can reduce that 20% fee if you earn a lifetime $500 threshold. In this case, your fee will reduce by 10%.  If you’re lucky enough to earn a lifetime threshold of up to $10,000 with a client, the fee will be only 5%. 

2. Job score may reduce even if you work hard

You might work on 5 projects at the same time and have some long-term contracts, but your job score might drop unexpectedly. Sometimes it’s hard to find out the true reason of it. In most cases, job score drops when you have negative feedback or inactive contracts.

3.  Scammers

Despite all the protection Upwork offers, scammers keep attacking the platform – especially freelancers. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize and avoid a scammer as they sound persuasively. Scammers tend to ask for a free sample to evaluate your knowledge or they can suggest working outside of the platform. 

When someone is asking you to write a free 300-word blog post or do another project based on your skills, stay away from such clients. Instead of evaluating your skills, they simply make you do some free work for them. Reputable clients always pay for a sample. Of course, you can refund if they don’t like your job. This is how trust is built on freelance platforms. 

If a client suggests you work outside of the platform, report it to Upwork. There’s no guarantee that you won’t be ghosted as soon as you submit your work. There are also scammers that are trying to get access to freelancer’s Upwork accounts. Never share your account information. Once they learn the financial information you have on Upwork, you might lose both your earnings and your account.

4. Newbies have to do low-paying jobs

If you’re a newbie on Upwork, you might find it difficult to build your reputation due to the hyper-competitive atmosphere. Some clients take advantage of it and offer as low as $5 for the whole project, promising to leave positive feedback. 

Although it sounds like a great way to build a reputation as a freelancer, low-paying jobs aren’t worth your time. Plus, a client might leave you with negative feedback, you never know it. 

5. You have to buy connects

A few years ago, connects were free and you could submit a proposal with an empty balance. Today, you have to buy connects in order to find a job. Each time a client contacts you, you receive 10 free connects, though. 

6. Overcoming random identity checks

One of the biggest complaints about Upwork is that in order to prevent scammers, Upwork has begun to perform random identity checks asking a freelancer to share too much personal information. Even if you do provide all your IDs, receipt, and the name of your mother’s first cat, there’s no guarantee your account won’t get suspended. 

Is Fiverr Upwork’s Main Competitor?

Recent statistics show that Fiverr has 3.42 million active buyers from over 160 countries. No wonder this platform is often used as an alternative to Upwork. Both platforms operate on a bit different model. The initial concept behind this freelance platform was that it allowed you to purchase “anything for a fiver.” Oftentimes, this might mean novelty gigs, which might involve voiceovers, custom songs, caricatures, and more.

Fiverr is an excellent platform for creative individuals who sell gigs like copywriting, custom video openers, video edits. When compared to other smaller freelancing platforms, Fiverr is a serious website for purchasing and selling your services. Even though it’s possible to find novelty gigs, Fiverr generally promotes jobs like music, programming, writing & translation, digital marketing, etc

Although Upwork and Fiverr are freelancing platforms, Fiverr is created more for creative professionals working on a gig-based basis. Upwork is for anyone – from an accountant to a lawyer. When it comes to writing and translation, Fiverr is a true competitor of Upwork. The competition is real, yet it’s up to you to decide which platform suits your needs and skills. 

What Are the Pros of Fiverr Freelancing?

Fiverr might look a little bit confusing for newbies – especially if they worked on Upwork before. In reality, Fiverr is a great freelance platform with a myriad of job opportunities. The company itself isn’t a scam, but there are scammers that ruin Fiverr’s reputation as a reliable marketplace. 

1. Earning extra cash

With a $5 payment for connects, you can make many more. The rate on Fiverr is low if compared with other platforms, such as Upwork. The majority of the Fiverr gigs cost $5, albeit Fiverr also charges $1 for using their platform. You can make $4 dollars per gig if you work hard.   

Many Fiverr’s freelancers confess that they’ve already earned a thousand dollars a month.  The trick is to accept gigs that won’t take much of your time or accept gigs you are comfortable with and doing repetitively.    

You might not be happy with your earninsg at first. However, you can build your reputation and start earning much more for extra services. The withdrawal process is as easy as the one on Upwork. This means you can make extra cash on a daily basis. 

You don’t have to self-promote or market yourself to get truly paying clients. Fiverr boasts real paying buyers, though scammers are also present. You might earn little cash for certain projects. However, it’s a lot better than doing nothing at all.

2. Improve your skills

Fiverr offers a number of categories so there’s always room for self-improvement. Once you’re done with a virtual assistant, you can try writing or logo design. The sky is the limit here. You can learn new skills and sell more gigs. 

Fiverr is an excellent place to practice good communication skills. You can learn how to deal with each type of client and satisfy their needs. Moreover, you’ll learn to appreciate your existing skills and evaluate your knowledge.

3. No bidding on projects

Unlike Upwork, you don’t have to bid on projects or buy connects. Bidding takes effort, time, and even some investment (buying connects, for instance). Plus, you need to create a competitive proposal for every project. Fiverr doesn’t require bidding, saving you time and effort. Instead of begging for work, you spend your time working on projects. Clients will find you and order your services without bidding.

What Are the Cons of Fiverr Freelancing?

Fiverr isn’t perfect and it does have several drawbacks, including:

1. User-friendliness

If you’re beginning your freelancing career on Fiverr, you might find it a bit difficult to create gigs and receive orders. The platform’s algorithm aims to push freelancers who have positive reviews up in its search engines when a client looks for freelancers. 

There were a lot of complaints regarding the services Fiverr offered. Therefore, the platform received the lowest grade "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. The company responded to customer complaints and improved its services while getting a "B" rating.

The platform has improved its user-friendliness in the last couple of years.

2. High fees

Each freelance platform has its fees. Fiverr isn’t an exception. The platform is known for its low income and 20% fee. Fiverr also charges clients. Upwork has an option to slowly cut the expenses. Fiverr doesn’t have this option.

3.  Strict policies

Fiverr has strict policies that you need to comply with. You’re not allowed to communicate with clients outside of the platform. If you miss any of the rules of strict policy, your account might be deactivated unexpectedly. 

Fiverr can also increase its commission rate for gigs without the freelancer’s approval or consent. You never know what to expect from the company – especially when it comes to their fees.

4. Low income in the beginning

While you might be fortunate to get a well-paid project on Upwork, Fiverr doesn’t provide you with this opportunity at all times. You’ll have to work for as little as $4 and perform lots of work in the beginning.

Upwork and Fiverr Project Monitoring

Upwork has a fixed price and hourly billing. The billing tool named a Work Diary visually records the freelancer’s activity, allowing the client to monitor the project. The tool is user-friendly and it takes snapshots each 10 minutes when the project is on the clock. The billing tool lets the client see the stages of the project and the number of hours they took. The client can’t use a billing tool to remove, edit, or discuss the project’s expectations. 

Fiverr doesn’t have the billing tool and all gigs have a fixed price. There’s no opportunity to work hourly. Every gig offers a certain price and a fixed delivery time. The client and freelancer can agree on the terms and do any corrections on the project. 

Upwork and Fiverr Escrow Payment System

Both Upwork and Fiverr have the Escrow payment system but on different terms. Upwork guarantees that the freelancer and client are protected and funded money is secure. The freelancer should deliver the project on time and the client should pay for it. 

On both platforms, clients should deposits the agreed amount of cash onto the escrow account of the freelance platform. After completing an agreed number of milestones, the freelancer gets paid, albeit they can’t withdraw cash within 5 days after the client’s approval. 

Fiverr Escrow Payment System is a little easier than Upwork’s one. The client is charged right away, though the freelancer doesn’t get paid unless they deliver what was agreed and the buyer accepts it. This is why it’s so important to do work and get paid on Upwork or Fiverr. There’s no guarantee that a client will be honest with you.

Upwork and Fiverr Dispute Resolution

Upwork is prominent among other freelance platforms for its approach to dispute resolution. Sometimes clients aren’t satisfied with the quality of work freelancers deliver. Freelancers might not get paid for their work as some clients aren’t honest. In the first case, a client can request a refund and a freelancer might agree or disagree with this situation. 

When a client and a freelancer fail to communicate and solve the problem, they contact Upwork’s customer care for further assistance.

The client can also file a dispute if they notice and can prove that a freelancer is requesting more hours than initially agreed. It’s possible to file a dispute only within 5 days from the close of the billing cycle. 

Filing a dispute isn’t the same as contacting customer care or asking for a refund. Certain steps must be taken to successfully resolve a problem. The client completes the dispute form and only then Upwork gets in contact with the freelancer. The freelancer can either ignore or accept the dispute. If ignored, the client will receive a refund for disputed hours. 

Upwork has dispute specialists who review the issues in accordance with the terms in the Upwork Hourly Protection. The final decision is taken within 4 working days. If a dispute specialist decides in favor of the client, they will get their money back. If the freelancer wins a dispute, they will get paid for their work. 

Disputes on Fiverr are logged onto the Resolution Center and aren’t handled by dispute specialists. There are three options to choose from when clicking the ‘resolution center’ tab, such as 

  • Ask the seller to cancel the order; 
  • Extend delivery time;
  • Ask the seller for an update on the gig.

Depending on what the buyer clicks, subsequent prompts vary. The seller should respond either declining or accepting work within 48 hours. In other cases, disputes are hard to resolve. Oftentimes, freelancers on Fiverr fail to handle a situation and end up doing work for free. 

How Do Upwork and Fiverr Make Money? Which Platform is Growing Faster?

Upwork has been shown to generate the biggest part of its revenue from the fees for freelancers, including transaction fees for sales of virtual tokens for bidding and payments. Additionally, Upwork charges its enterprise clients fees for payroll services and subscriptions.

Fiverr generates most of its revenue from service fees and transaction fees. Its annual revenue for 2020 was $189.51 million, showing rapid growth of the platform. The platform offers more than 500 categories of gigs, such as writing, marketing, and design tasks.

Both Upwork and Fiverr have significantly grown during the pandemic as people have relied on freelance opportunities and the ability to work from home. The growth rate of Fiverr is astonishing while Upwork astonishes us with its statistics. 

Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Freelance Platform Is Best in 2021?

If you’re looking to enter the freelance world or get some of your business work done, choosing the best platform for it might be tricky. Upwork is definitely a favorite, but Fiverr is an excellent alternative. If you’re a freelancer, both platforms can help you earn extra money. 

If you’re an entrepreneur, Upwork might be a better option for you. Scammers are the biggest problem on Fiverr. While freelancers tend to be cheaper, it’s not easy to get quality work for that price.  When you include fees, Fiverr is usually cheaper than Upwork.

On the other hand, Upwork is best for professional web developers and experienced writers. Scamming does exist on Upwork, too. However, there are more chances of finding a professional on Upwork than Fiverr.

A few years ago, Fiverr wasn’t considered a serious freelance platform and this perception is still preserved. However, it has grown rapidly to the extent of offering 1.3 million gigs monthly. This platform has all chances to become the best freelance platform in 2021.

Upwork is perceived as a serious platform that can replace office jobs and help you earn as little as $500-$1000 monthly online. 

The Final Word

Upwork and Fiverr are the most renowned choices of online marketplaces among business owners and freelancers. While each platform has its advantages and drawbacks, business owners and freelancers choose the one that meets their budget and job requirements. 

If you hesitate about which freelance platform to choose in 2021, try both Upwork AND Fiverr. Once you feel the difference between the two, you will know which one meets all of your requirements.

Freelancing is a true future of the work industry so knowing certain rules can help you find your passion and make some cash for a living.