Freelance jobs have been a great way to earn an extra income for many people, and UpWork Global Inc. has been offering this earning opportunity for more than two decades. But is it still an excellent platform to earn money? Can you make UpWork your primary income source? We will find out in our UpWork review today.
- Product Name: UpWork Global Inc.
- Founder: Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolu
- Product Type: Freelancing platform
- 10 connects per month
- Unused connects will roll over to the next month
- Hourly pay protection
- Secured fixed-price payments
- Limited reports and platform functionalities
Membership plus $14.99 per month
- 80 connects per month
- Active profile (even on long periods of inactivity)
- Keep your earnings confidential
- View co-freelancers’ bids for any jobs
- Profile URL customization option
- More reports and platform functionalities (grouping and sorting)
- Best For Freelancers and professionals of all trades
Why Choose UpWork?
UpWork is an online platform where you can get paid for completing jobs from clients. It offers an opportunity for anyone to earn an income while working at home. Aside from the payment you get from the jobs you’ve completed, you can also earn commissions by becoming their affiliate and inviting more clients to use their platform.
- Ratings: 90/100
What is UpWork Global?
UpWork is a freelancing platform founded by Beerud Sheth and Srini Anumolu in 1998 in Jersey City. It was formerly named Elance, and its first product is the Elance Small Business Marketplace. Then in 1999, the team of 22 employees moved their office to Silicon valley Sunnyvale, California.
In 2003 oDesk was founded by Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis. Originally, oDesk was a staffing firm but eventually developed to become an online marketplace that helps registered users to hire freelancers and provide jobs to remote workers.
Elance and oDesk merged in Dec 2013, and it was called Elance-oDesk. It was rebranded as Upwork in 2015, which matches the name of its new platform. This development phased out the Elance platform after a couple of years.
In 2020, according to Upwork’s current CEO Hayden Brown, the pandemic had tremendously exhilarated the demand for freelancers because many companies have shifted to hiring remote staff than the traditional FTE hiring and staffing agencies.
During that year, there were 59 million freelancers who performed work in UpWork in the US, and 20 million of them were first-time freelancers.
UpWork currently has 145K clients where 30% of which are from the Fortune 100 companies such as Microsoft, GE, GoDaddy, AMGEN, Corel, and COTY. It is considered the world’s most significant work marketplace is offering 10,000 skills across 90+ work classifications with 1,400+ independent professionals and freelancers from over 800+ cities worldwide.
How does Upwork global Inc work?
UpWork works in two main categories, clients and freelancers. For the clients, it works as a marketplace where they can find, interview, hire, and work with freelancers. They can also employ the service of a freelancing agency to provide them with the talents that they need.
- The client posts the job opening or the task/s needed to be completed on the platform.
- Freelancers will bid on how much they are willing to get paid for the job whether per milestones or per contract.
- The client can also send invites to freelancers that they consider qualified for the job and it is up to the freelancer to take the offer for an interview.
- Then the client will interview the applicants via a chat system inside the platform.
- When the client has chosen the freelancer for the job, they will send the contract with the set pay rate and the job’s deadline.
The client will be funding the project and will be protected by Escrow. UpWork’s payment protection system holds the funds for the duraproject’s duration funds will be released to the freelancer after the client approves the job completed. Clients are charged a 3% fee on each freelancer payment which goes towards admin and payment processing costs.
What you need to do as a Freelancer:
- Register and complete your profile – Prepare your updated resume, portfolio, certificates, and other materials that can showcase your skills.
- Wait for your profile to be approved – The UpWork team will review your profile and will let you know via email if you are accepted into the platform.
- After getting your profile approved, you can now login into your account and start bidding for jobs that matches your skills.
- You can also widen your job search by selecting more job categories related to your skills or profession.
- If you have a free account, you will receive 10 connects to bid for the job. Each job requires a number of connects to be able to send a proposal. Each posted job will include the following details:
- Job description
- Pay rate (hourly or fixed price)
- Level of expertise needed (Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert)
- Project length (i.e. 3 to 6 months, more than 6 months, etc)
- Project type (contract or ongoing)
- Skills and expertise categories
- Preferred qualifications (ie. country of origin, native English speaker, etc)
- Number of connects required
- Activities on the job ( Number of proposals, when the client views the job posting, how many are being interviewed, how many invites are sent, and how many are unanswered invites)
If you are missing some of the client’s requirements, you will be notified by UpWork about it upon sending your job proposal. Sometimes, you will be asked to answer some questions or provide sample works as when sending job proposals art of your application when the client selected you for the job, you must complete the task on or before the deadline as much as possible.
How you get paid is through the UpWork platform as well. UpWork offers several payment methods: direct bank account payments, wire transfer, instant pay, PayPal, and Payoneer. UpWork does not recommend making transactions with the client outside the platform since you may end up not getting paid or getting your account banned.
Fees and Charges
As a freelancer, you will be charged a sliding fee or service fee for each project per client. This service fee is per client regardless of the type of contract. See the service fee rates and examples below:
- $0 to $500 = 20% service fee
- $500.01 to $10,000 = 10% service fee
- $10,000.01 or more = 5% service fee
For example, on a $500 project with one client, you will be charged with 20% service fee. And 20% of $500 is $100; you will receive $400 as your earnings.
Another example is the following:
- Project budget: $700
- Service fees:
- $500 less 20% = $400
- $200 less 10% = $180
For the example above, the project has a budget of $700. The service fees are 20% for the first $500, and then 10% for the $200 remaining. The total earnings you will receive would be $480, and you’ve paid a total of $220 in service fees.
UpWork explains that the service fees go down if your earnings from the same client reach a higher range. If you earn $10,000, the service fee goes down to 5%. It is pretty expensive compared to another freelance marketplace.
UpWork Review: Can You Make Money?
Yes, millions of freelancers have been making money with UpWork for the past decades. It has pioneered the freelancing marketplace and has successfully established authority in the freelancing industry.
Despite the rise of other freelancing platforms, it is still one of the leading platforms for most freelancers, even those just starting to enter the world of freelancing.
How To Make Money With UpWork Global?
Aside from getting paid for the jobs you’ve completed, you can also make more money by becoming an UpWork affiliate. If you want to join their affiliate program, sign up, promote or share UpWork with your audience with your link, then you will earn commissions when a client funds a project.
You can get up to 70% from the first contract spend and up to $150 for each new client you referred to UpWork.
Aside from the potential commission earnings, UpWork also provides its affiliates with up-to-date resources such as logos and banners to promote Upwork and a dedicated support team.
UpWork affiliates are paid 20 days after the end of the month and after the 30 days validation period. The payout is in US dollar currency and automatically converted to your local currency. Your affiliate link has 30 days referral window.
UpWork Global Inc. Pros & Cons
Despite being the leading authority in the freelancing marketplace, UpWork also has its pros and cons, just like any other company. Let’s check them out.
- Top choice for many freelancers
- The wide array of skill selections
- Set your own rates
- Payment protection
- High competition between freelancers
- Expensive service fees
- Demanding jobs with low pay rates
- High-paying clients are occasional
- Your account can be suspended without warning
- Some users are scam artists
- Poor customer support
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Any Negatives? Beware of Lawsuits
I’ve read heaps of complaints against UpWork everywhere online and was expecting to see a few lawsuits against them online too. But unfortunately, I found none, except for the lawsuit filed by Freelancer.com versus UpWork Inc. in August 2020 overusing the word “freelancer” on UpWork’s mobile app UpWork for Freelancers.
Freelancer.com claims that the app infringes on its trademark. But in June 2021, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the lawsuit’s preliminary injunction, stating that UpWork does not use the term as a mark. The underlying cause will continue in the federal district court.
Is UpWork Legitimate?
Yes, UpWork is a legitimate company and has paid freelancers for many years. However, like any other company, settle disputes to happen, and UpWork has proper channels to accommodate and resolve them.
UpWork Global inc Final Thoughts
I still believe that UpWork is an excellent marketplace for finding work or offering freelancers jobs. Although there were a lot of complaints, what I can suggest is to read the terms and conditions to prevent your account from getting suspended.
Learn how to identify fake clients or freelancers. As a client, try to propose per milestones or per contract basis instead of per hour, especially when working with a freelancer that you have not worked with before.
If you’re a freelancer, don’t take a job with a low pay rate at face value. Work on improving your skills so you can negotiate for a reasonable rate. Remember that clients are willing to pay more as long as the job is done with quality. Consider connecting with your clients outside the platform. If your account gets suspended for some reason, you will still have a way to communicate with your clients and possibly continue working for them.
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