Last Updated on November 15, 2022
Freelancing is gaining popularity because it provides undeniable flexibility in income and working hours. The COVID-19 pandemic, especially, has given a massive boost to freelancing all over the world. This article reviews Upwork vs Fiverr, the two top freelancing websites available for freelancers and businesses worldwide.
According to statistics, there are about 70.4 million freelancers in the USA alone. This number is expected to reach 90.1 million by 2028. Therefore, it is evident that freelance business will continue to become a critical part of the way we do business.
Many organizations still need clarification about where they can find experienced freelancers and remote workers. Many freelancing websites are emerging. However, two of the most popular freelancer communities are Fiverr and Upwork.
Fiverr and Upwork help you find a variety of freelancers with particular skills. You can hire a freelancer from these freelancing sites and assign projects to them. Safe payment methods, quick communication, and reliable customer support are some of the significant reasons why Fiverr and Upwork have become two of the leading names in freelancing.
However, to choose the best freelancing platform, we have to thoroughly review Upwork vs Fiverr to weigh factors like fees, safety, customer support, and job types.
By the end of this article, you will be able to decide which is better for your needs, Upwork or Fiverr.
Both freelance marketplaces are popular options for finding workers to complete specific tasks, but which is the best? We've broken down our areas of comparison below with the winner for that particular category.
Before diving into the detailed comparison of Fiverr vs Upwork, let's get familiar with the basics of these platforms.
What is Upwork?
Upwork emerged in 2015 due to the merger of two freelancing platforms, oDesk and Elance. Elance was already a popular name in the freelancing industry, so Upwork has also enjoyed massive popularity since its inception.
Upwork is a freelance marketplace that allows clients to connect with the best freelancers worldwide and buy their services. It is a large-scale freelancing platform which means you can find freelancers with a wide range of skills at Upwork.
Once the moderators approve a freelancer's profile, they can get access to top-notch projects with fair compensation. Freelancers can also offer hourly or fixed projects for short or long-term duration.
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr was launched in 2010 to allow freelancers to make money online by selling services to clients for $5 (a fiver). Since its inception, Fiverr has become one of the leading names in the freelancing industry as a large variety of professionals and businesses use this platform to meet their requirements. Graphic designing, programming, web development, content writing, video editing, and virtual assistance are some of the many popular categories on Fiverr.
The registration process of Fiverr for freelancers is more straightforward than Upwork because they do not have to go through any approval process. Instead, most freelancers can get started immediately by creating a new account and a description of their services called gigs on the platform.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Workflow
Upwork and Fiverr dramatically differ in terms of their overall structure and workflow. A significant part of Fiverr vs Upwork is that Fiverr is designed more to support one-time projects. At the same time, Upwork focuses on establishing a long-term working relationship between the client and the freelancers.
Many people use Upwork for long-term work and Fiverr for one-time tasks, but support for both exists on either platform.
We've outlined below some of the significant differences between Upwork and Fiverr in terms of workflow:
On Upwork, freelancers sell services linked to skills such as graphic designing or digital marketing.
Whereas, Fiverr allows users to offer various services related to different skills. It means the same freelancer can create gigs related to writing, graphic designing, and programming on Fiverr.
Bidding and Buying a Service
Freelancers have to bid for specific projects on Upwork by curating unique applications and cover letters to attract clients whenever a job is available. On the contrary, clients buy the particular services that the freelancers have already defined and explained on Fiverr.
Freelancers can post short job applications on Fiverr. Instead, they only have to create their gigs once, and the potential clients will be sorting through the database of relevant talent on Fiverr. A client can directly buy one of the packages offered by the top freelancers on Fiverr or contact them to get a custom offer.
Gigs and Freelancer Profiles
On Fiverr, every seller has a specific gig page for every service they provide. Every page contains details about the freelancer's experience, samples, pricing model, and a bit of self-introduction. You can contact the freelancer directly if you have any questions before hiring them, which makes it very easy to choose freelancers suitable for your needs.
There is no equivalent of a gig page on Upwork because once you search for a particular skill, such as SEO or graphic design, you see profiles of freelancers that might fit your requirements. These profiles are comparable to LinkedIn profiles, so you will have to sort through the job applicants' resumes to find a suitable freelancer for your Fiverr work.
Fiverr and Upwork have search options to help narrow the search based on the price range, freelancer's native language, delivery time, rating, and other common factors. However, Fiverr offers some additional search filters under the Service Options. For example, if you are searching in the Graphic Design category, you can narrow down your search as per the file formats and design style.
Fiverr has a user-friendly app that you can use to switch between buyer and seller mode easily. On the other hand, Upwork has two different mobile apps. One is meant for freelancers, while the other one is for clients. The Upwork client app does not have the ‘Reports' section that provides details of how much money you have spent, so it can be pretty disappointing for those who regularly use Upwork to hire freelancers and manage them through the mobile app.
It is challenging to decide a winner between Upwork and Fiverr in terms of their structure and workflow because they have slightly different approaches to hiring and managing freelancers. Moreover, their distinct business model has varying features and workflows.
However, in terms of the smoothness of the workflow, ordering a gig on Fiverr is quick and easy. You select the gig, pay the seller, and give details about the assignment. Fiverr will hold the money in escrow until the work is delivered and you approve it. Therefore, Fiverr wins here for having a smooth and easy workflow.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Project Types
The type and quality of the projects can be the make-or-break factor when it comes to choosing a suitable freelancing platform. When using a platform like Fiverr or Upwork, you are looking for high-quality freelance work from the right freelancer to ensure the success of a project.
On Upwork, the client purchases a freelancer's time primarily based on hourly contracts. There are also fixed-price contracts available. It is possible to add job listings on Upwork, so freelancers submit proposals to get hired for the job.
It is easy to manage projects because of the work diary included in Upwork. Clients can also ask for extra services and other remote work; if both agree, a new contract is executed.
Upwork and Fiverr have a wide range of freelancers with skills, experience, and knowledge to execute projects. Many freelancers work on both Fiverr and Upwork to attract more clients.
However, there are some notable differences in how freelancers are classified on Fiverr vs Upwork.
Searching on Upwork
If you want to search for a particular type of project on Upwork, you can search for the skills you need by selecting a specific niche and browsing through the project catalog requiring those skills. Freelancers, too, can bid on your projects by doing a job search.
When you click on a listed skill, you will redirect to a page listing all freelancers working in that specific category. The profiles of the freelancers contain information like the hourly rate, rating, and how much experience they have working on the platform.
Finding Gigs on Fiverr
Fiverr allows you to search multiple gigs related to a category by putting the search query into the search bar. For instance, if you want some content written, you can view the different gigs created by other freelance writers and compare them to choose the most suitable package.
Fiverr's seller levels and Fiverr Pro are perfect additions that make it easier for clients to judge the quality of work of a freelancer.
Overall, Fiverr provides access more manageable than Upwork to various projects and gigs available for businesses and freelancing job opportunities. These significant freelancing marketplaces have multiple categories in which numerous freelancers offer their talent.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Pre-Screening
Upwork has a pre-screening mechanism to verify the freelancer profile and ensure that the clients are getting high-quality work on the platform. This verification mechanism includes verifying the freelancer identities and adding the option of video and chat conferencing for interviews, freelancer scores, success stories, and online skills tests.
Upwork also has an Upwork Pro service in which you can rely on a recruiting professional to hire a suitable freelancer for you according to the details of the project. It is a paid service and is typically helpful for those individuals and companies that need more time and energy to vet various freelancers personally.
On the other hand, anyone can create an account on Fiverr and start offering their services. There are no significant skill tests on Fiverr to verify the authenticity of the freelancers. Fiverr also has a verified Pro services vetting process and allows businesses to choose from only Pro verified service providers.
Freelance Winner: Upwork | Business Winner: Upwork
Upwork is a better option than Fiverr when it comes to pre-screening. Upwork has made its name as one of the leaders of the freelancing industry because only creative professionals and skillful and well-qualified individuals are providing their services on Upwork. Whereas, there is still a great need for a screening mechanism on Fiverr.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Rating System
Both Upwork and Fiverr have reliable reviews and rating systems. They are essential in finding the best freelancer for a project because you do not want to assign important work to inexperienced freelancers or subpar performers.
Generally, a seller profile with multiple reviews helps you get insights from previous clients and employers of the freelancer—both Fiverr and Upwork show star ratings next to the freelancer's profile picture. You can read these comments and reviews in detail to determine whether you can trust the freelancer to produce quality work.
Freelance Winner: TIE | Business Winner: TIE
It's a tie in this Upwork vs Fiverr category as both have the same rating and review system.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Monitoring and Dispute Resolution
It is important to compare Fiverr vs Upwork based on their monitoring systems and dispute resolution process to choose the better platform.
Upwork focuses on providing a single platform through which you can manage an entire project and conduct smooth communication with the freelancer. It also allows adding milestones to a project to track progress and send the payment when the milestone completes.
The dispute resolution center of Upwork is impressive as you can use it to address a wide range of potential issues with an ongoing or completed project. A mediator is assigned to the case to sort out the matter as soon as you make the complaint.
On the other hand, Fiverr has a different work management system. Everything will go smoothly as long as the seller is complying with the conditions of the gig you are buying. You can reach out to the seller to check the status and progress of the project.
In case of a dispute, Fiverr does not provide you with a mediator to settle the issue. The client or the freelancer has to complain within the resolution center. The exact nature of such complaints varies from situation to situation. Generally, it involves extending the delivery time or getting an update on an ongoing order. If you are a business using Fiverr, you have many more controls for disputes. Disputes favor the company or buyer on Fiverr.
Freelance Winner: TIE | Business Winner: Fiverr
Upwork has a better dispute resolution system for freelancers. The mediator assigned by Upwork works closely with the clients and freelancers to resolve the issue in the best way possible. In contrast, dispute resolution on Fiverr can take a lot of time and energy if you are a freelancer and is more favorable for businesses.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Pricing
Budget is always an essential factor to consider when you are hiring an employee or a freelancer. Fiverr and Upwork have specific fees deducted from their payments. The payment terms of Fiverr and Upwork differ from each other. Let's review Upwork vs Fiverr pricing and fees.
Upwork’s Buyer & Seller Fees
On Upwork, buyer's fees are relatively straightforward based on the gig size and payments made on a contract. The buyer's fees are typically 5% of the total project or 3% if you pay via ACH.
Freelancers must bid on the projects or set an hourly rate per their preferences. In return, Upwork charges a specific fee for the completed project, which is included in the price quoted by the freelancer. Therefore, you will need to bid higher, knowing you will be paying a fee.
For example, if a freelancer quotes $100 for a project, about 20% of this price will go to Upwork. It means that the freelancer will only get $80. Furthermore, Upwork will also charge an additional 2.75% as a payment processing fee. The fee scale reduces after the first $500 earned. See below.
Here’s how Upwork freelancer pricing works:
- $0-$500 in earnings from a client: 20% service fee
- $500.01-$10,000 in earnings from a client: 10% service fee
- $10,000.01 or more in earnings from a client: 5% service fee
Generally, there are more fees that you have to pay on Upwork. Upwork uses a virtual currency called ‘Connects' to prevent spam applicants and ensure only genuine freelancers are applying for a job. New users get 10 Connects a month completely free as a part of their free membership, but if you want to use them for more projects, you will have to buy more Connects.
Fiverr's Buyer & Seller Fees
Fiverr charges fees to both buyers and sellers. Fiverr's fee structure is much more straightforward. Buyers pay 5% on every transaction or a minimum of $2.00. Buyers can avoid some fees by transferring money into their Fiverr account directly from their bank via ACH. Freelancers are charged 20% on all gigs.
In terms of fees and hidden charges, Fiverr is a much better option than Upwork. Fiverr is upfront about its fees, a flat 20% commission on the seller's earnings. Moreover, there are no charges to bid on jobs, unlike Upwork. Fiverr does not have any significant fee for processing as these charges are associated with the payment providers such as PayPal and not Fiverr. At the same time, Upwork charges an additional fee for payment processing.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Customer Support
Upwork has often faced criticism due to poor quality customer support. They have 24/7 customer support in which you will interact with a chatbot that only offers specific programmed responses. It is challenging to reach a human customer representative at Upwork.
Furthermore, if you file a complaint at Upwork, they take a lot of time to resolve the issue. Regular users of Upwork have often complained that customer support on Upwork is incapable of dealing with complex problems quickly. Users generally use Upwork's social media platforms to get solutions to complex problems.
The situation is similar on Fiverr for freelancers. It claims to have a 24/7 customer care service. However, when you submit a request to Fiverr, you typically get a reply within one day. Moreover, Fiverr does not have a live chat function or chatbot unless you have a business account. If you have a business account, you have instant access to a support chat and dedicated representatives to help you look into and solve issues on the spot.
Fiverr and Upwork need to up their game to provide reliable, efficient, and quick customer care support for freelancers. For businesses, however, Fiverr's business plan offers a much better support system and accessible dispute resolution via a live-person chat feature.
Upwork vs Fiverr – Benefits
Choosing Fiverr vs Upwork becomes easier when you are familiar with both platforms' benefits.
Benefits of Upwork
Upwork provides multiple ways to hire a freelancer. It also supports large-scale and long-term projects for building working relationships between the client and the freelancer. Clients can rely on talent specialists to successfully find the best freelancers for Upwork.
Moreover, Upwork ensures safe and secure payment and provides the option of becoming a member to enjoy additional benefits. Generally, freelancers can find high-quality clients on Upwork to make more money.
Benefits of Fiverr
The numerous benefits of Fiverr and its easy-to-use features make it easy for both the buyer and the seller to get started. Compared to Upwork, you do not have to wait for any approval on Fiverr. Moreover, clients can find relevant freelancers on Fiverr easily and quickly. The tipping system of Fiverr allows freelancers to make extra money. It has a user-friendly mobile app that will enable you to manage freelancers and freelancing tasks promptly.
Fiverr's business account allows buyers a lot of freedom in their search for services, let's them save freelancers, review orders, adjust settings, add teammates, and many other features much more quickly than Upwork.
Fiverr is a clear winner in this Upwork vs Fiverr comparison category. Fiverr built a solid system for freelancers and businesses, making it a popular and great medium for gig work and outsourcing projects.
Top 5 FAQs about Upwork vs Fiverr
Now that you know the differences between Upwork and Fiverr, let's look at some of the central questions associated with Fiverr vs Upwork.
When should I use Upwork?
Freelancers should use Upwork when they want maximum control over the process of looking for clients and actively submitting applications and cover letters to get a job. However, keep in mind that it comes with spending a significant amount of money because you have to buy and use Connects to send the applications for projects.
Furthermore, Upwork is suitable for skilled freelance professionals who want to build a stream of high-quality clients with long-term work commitments. Generally, people on Upwork are looking for job quality and payment protection.
Similarly, clients that are looking for premium-quality work and do not mind paying extra money in fees and payment charges should use Upwork to find freelancers and assign them different projects.
When should I use Fiverr?
People who want to start their freelancing journey immediately without waiting for approvals should create an account on Fiverr and start offering their services. Fiverr is typically preferred for shorter, one-time gigs. However, this is only sometimes true, as, with the introduction of Fiverr Business, many individuals and businesses use Fiverr to establish long-term relationships.
Fiverr is also suitable for those freelancers who possess a large variety of skills and want to offer numerous gigs. For instance, you can create up to seven gigs on a basic Fiverr account. These gigs can belong to multiple categories, such as content writing, programming, translation, and many others.
Which is better – Upwork or Fiverr?
Generally speaking, Fiverr offers a few more features and has distinct advantages for freelancers and businesses over Upwork. Fiverr is overall a better option when you compare all the differences between the two.
This comprehensive Upwork vs Fiverr article shows that both Upwork and Fiverr offer advantages. Generally, Fiverr is better for beginners and budget-oriented tasks. Whereas Upwork has more professionals and experienced individuals, so it is better for a long-term work commitment.
Fiverr is also better than Upwork in terms of the charges because it does not have any hidden charges. It charges a flat 20% commission on every order, whereas Upwork has different processing charges and high commission fees that vary from project to project.
Is Upwork good for beginners?
Upwork can be an excellent platform to start your freelancing career. However, if a freelancer has little experience, then Upwork is not a good platform for complete beginners due to the massive competition on the platform.
If you lack experience, it can be challenging to stand out from the competition when you send applications and cover letters to potential clients. Moreover, it is pretty standard for freelancers to give up too soon on Upwork when they have yet to receive any orders. Therefore, Fiverr is a much better alternative for beginners.
Who pays more – Fiverr or Upwork?
The amount of money you make is directly dependent on the job's overall cost. Generally, Fiverr can help you make more money, despite the flat 20% commission on all projects because it does not involve other hidden charges. Upwork uses a sliding scale and can charge anywhere between 5% to 20% on each, along with the additional processing fee.
However, if the freelancer can negotiate high hourly rates with a minimum commission on Upwork, a freelancing career on Upwork can also be highly lucrative.
Upwork vs Fiverr Wrap-up
Ultimately, the choice between Upwork vs Fiverr depends on your requirements and personal preferences. It can be a highly reliable freelancing platform if you are willing to put your time, energy, and money into applying for different projects on Upwork. On the other hand, if you want clients to contact you directly, then offering gigs on Fiverr is a better choice for you.
Fiverr makes more sense as a business for quick sourcing work and not needing to commit to a long-term relationship. Upwork makes sense if you want to engage with a freelancer for a more comprehensive project or over a longer term. However, both can be accomplished on either platform.
Upwork and Fiverr have become two of the leading names in the freelancing industry because they provide user-friendly features through which clients and freelancers can operate. This detailed comparison of Upwork vs Fiverr makes it clear to you that both of these platforms have their unique features and pros and cons that appeal to different types of freelancers.
Therefore, you should thoroughly determine your requirements and choose between Upwork and Fiverr, depending on what suits you best.