Is Upwork or Fiverr better for hiring freelancers? Let’s find out…
If you’re looking to grow your online business, hiring freelancers is one of the best ways to do it. You save money, you only pay for work you need done, and you don’t entangle yourself in all the regulatory restrictions that come with employees. So, there is far less risk when growing a small business.
But where do you find these freelancers? Upwork and Fiverr are two of the top platforms that are used. I used both to hire freelancers, so the answer isn’t as simple as going to one or the other, but I’ll break down the instances when I use Upwork and when I use Fiverr.
My business revenue doubled after I started hiring freelancers, and it’s a win/win because the freelancer is charging the rate that they want to charge. They earn more money than they could as an employee, and you save more.
What’s the biggest difference between Upwork and Fiverr?
Upwork is best for larger projects and longer term work. It’s easier to stay connected to a freelancer on Upwork, and they go by their real name, not a username. It’s easier to build a team on Upwork and use Upwork’s platform to manage that freelancer team, pay them, track projects, hours and so forth.
Fiverr is best for quick fixed rate projects. They don’t even have the option for hourly contracts. If you need a logo designed, go to fiverr. Voiceover for a video, go to fiverr.
If you need a freelance copywriter on your team to do work for you on a weekly basis, go to Upwork. If you need a long-term video editor, Upwork.
Now there is a grey area and it comes down to economics. I have a freelancer on my team who is on Fiverr and designs thumbnails for YouTube videos. I work with him on a recurring basis, but I use Fiverr because his work is still packaged in very clear and quantifiable deliverables every week. I need 12 thumbnails per week, so I pay him a fixed fee to do them. And I chose Fiverr over Upwork in this instance because it was cheaper and I still found someone very skilled.
On Fiverr, freelancers tend to master very specific deliverables within their skillset. So, instead of hiring a graphic designer for all your graphic design work on Fiverr, you hire a graphic designer who only designs YouTube thumbnails, book covers, or infographics. And there are specific skills for each of those deliverables. You can still find a long-term freelancer who can do all those things, but sometimes I find very skilled talent on Fiverr for very specific deliverables such as YouTube thumbnails.
And they have specific projects set up for those specific things. On Upwork, you’re more likely to find someone who has a variety of projects, but overall, you’re hiring a Graphic designer, not a YouTube thumbnail designer.
Now that we’ve discussed the overall difference, what are some other detailed comparisons?
Posting Jobs and Hiring
This is a big difference. On Upwork, you post a job and freelancers bid for that job. They come to you. On Fiverr, freelancers post “gigs” and you come to them. You research their experience and past gigs on their profile, and then decide who to hire. You’re not getting proposals from them, and you aren't interviewing them. You are taking more of a risk.
On Upwork, there is an organized hiring process of reviewing proposals, interviewing potential talent, and then hiring your best choice. You can do more thorough investigating. Also, Upwork has better vetting of its freelancers and doesn’t allow just anyone to create an account. They have stricter identity verification and other requirements.
Upwork requires less administrative time. When you hire a freelancer on Fiverr, every time you hire them for any gig, you have to pay the transaction manually. After the project is over, you rate and review the freelancer, and there is a closeout process even if you’re working with them again and again.
On Upwork, once you hire the freelancer, you don’t have any admin time if you set up an hourly contract. The freelancer bills the hours and Upwork charges your account automatically, and then you can dispute the hours if you need to, but you don’t have to spend admin time to keep the relationship going.
Sharing Contact Information
Working on projects that require an exchange of personal contact info is much more difficult on Fiverr. Upwork allows you to exchange contact info and take the conversation off Upwork once you’re in a contract. Upwork just wants to get paid, and once you’re in contract, they recommend staying on the platform for communication so they can make sure you don’t get other gigs with that client outside Upwork (because it’s against their policy). But they allow it because they know with long-term relationships especially, you’re likely going to need to know the freelancer’s email so you can add them to different accounts, Slack, or other communication tools so they can more easily be connected to the rest of your team.
On Fiverr, they are more strict with sharing contact info, even with freelancers you are in contract with.
Transactions and Fees
Technically on Fiverr, you’re not opening up a contract, you’re just purchasing a “product” in the form of the freelancer’s service. You pay ahead of time.
On Upwork, you are only paying ahead of time if you’re doing a flat rate project, in which case you pay Upwork and they hold the funds in escrow, then release them to the freelancer once the project is delivered and approved.
For hourly, you’re paying after the freelancer logs their hours.
Upwork and Fiverr both charge fees. Fiverr’s are a bit higher at 5% of a gig over $40. Upwork is 3% payment processing fee. On Upwork, you can pay for an account with them that gives you extra support in the hiring process, which would then cost you more. I only use the free version and it’s been sufficient for running a small business.
Rating and Review System
Both Upwork and Fiverr ask for feedback about the freelancer, ratings and reviews. So the freelancer is motivated on both platforms to do a good job in order to get good reviews and find more work.
You’ll have an easier time disputing a freelancer’s work on Upwork. They even provide mediation, and there is much better protection for you and the freelancer in the case of the freelancer not delivering what was promised. On Fiverr, you’re on your own with taking action against a freelancer.
So, that’s it for now. As you see, there is a time and place for using Fiverr and Upwork. However, if you’re building a freelancer work force, Upwork is the way to go for real team members.