Upwork is one of the world’s largest freelance marketplaces with millions of clients and freelancers across the globe. Still, Upwork isn’t for everyone, and there are fortunately plenty of
Upwork alternatives that can help you find work.
More platforms than ever want to serve the growing community of freelancers and the business owners who hire them. This article is going to break down the best alternatives to Upwork and explain how they work for clients and freelancers. There are free options on this list and platforms built for hiring top talent.
6 Best Upwork Alternatives for 2021 (Which Is Best for You?)
Founded in 2010, Fiverr is an online marketplace where freelancers and clients can connect with one another. This easy-to-use site gets its name from the $5 fee its freelancers start selling their services for. Five bucks can get you a lot of different services on Fiverr: Anime style portraits, proofreading, Shopify SEO, custom-drawn maps, and a whole lot more.
Fiverr says its most popular services are logo design, WordPress customization, voice-over work, video explainers, social media management, SEO work, and data entry.
Out of all of the Upwork alternatives on this list, Fiverr is known for being the most budget-friendly. That can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Business owners can find very affordable services, but freelancers are competing with people who are willing to work for just $5.
Fiverr for businesses
Business owners can search for specific services on Fiverr or look through different categories to find what they need. You get a long list of options, and you can filter them by seller details, budget, and turnaround time.
One of the main complaints of Fiverr is that you get what you pay for, meaning you really need to read the reviews for each freelancer before continuing. Fiverr is very much a marketplace and doesn’t run interference between business owners and freelancers, so you’re on your own if there are issues.
Fiverr for freelancers
Fiverr can be a great place for freelancers who are looking for a place to start, and this makes it one of the strongest Upwork competitors. It’s best to list specific services and clearly defined outcomes so there’s no confusion about what your clients are getting.
It’s free to sign up and create a freelancer account on Fiverr, and it’s available for Freelancers across the world. Buyers (what your clients are called) can add a tip, and Fiverr takes a 20% commission for all sales and tips that go through the site. It takes 14 days to receive your funds.
Freelancer is one of the most well-known alternatives to Upwork and is one of the largest with over 50 million freelancers on the site. It’s also used by top companies like Amazon, Facebook, Nasa, Google, IBM, and more.
The way Freelancer works is that business owners post job listings, and then freelancers can bid on the jobs. There are jobs in nearly every freelance industry possible on this site, but to get the most out of the site, you’ll need to become a paid member and be willing to pay for extras.
Freelancer for business owners
When you post a job on the platform, you’ll receive bids from freelancers, and you can look of their profiles to see who will be the best fit. You can also communicate with them via text, voice calls, or video chats.
There are a lot of freelancers on this platform, which means you’re going to get a lot of bids, and some of those will be from freelancers who are just starting out or those who don’t quite have the skills you want.
On the flip side, highly skilled freelancers can be more expensive than some other Upwork alternatives because Freelancer has a bunch of paid upgrades those freelancers will likely be paying for and need to factor into their fees.
Freelancer for freelancers
Freelancer is open to anyone, but you’ll need to be willing to scale their paywall to unlock the most potential. There are four paid membership options starting at $5/month. Each level limits you to a certain number of bids per month, but using Freelancer for free limits you to only 6 bids per month.
You can also pay extra to have special bidding privileges, like highlighting your bid. You can also pay to take exams that prove your skills. Freelancer’s fee for fixed-price projects is 10% or $5, whichever is greater, and 10% for hourly projects.
Guru has been around since 1998 and has millions of freelancers and businesses connecting with one another on this professional and business-driven platform. They focus solely on professional services and not custom services.
One of the things you’ll like about Guru is that the site is really easy to navigate. You can quickly access fee schedules, and all of the information you need to sign up and get started is organized really well and clear. Speaking of fees, Guru has some of the lowest on this list.
Guru for businesses
Compared to other Upwork alternatives, Guru has low fees for business owners — you pay a 2.9% handling fee on top of the price you pay the freelancer. But you can essentially get rid of that fee if you pay via eCheck, physical check, or wire transfer because Guru offers an instant 3% back when you use one of those payment methods.
Guru for freelancers
You can join Guru and start bidding on jobs for free, but you are limited to 10 quotes per month. Free accounts also have a higher job fee, so most freelancers find that it pays to have a paid account. Paid memberships start at $11.95/month and take a 9% fee and you can bid on 50 projects. Fees are lower and you get more bids and features with higher membership levels.
PeoplePerHour is a significantly smaller platform, which separates it from the rest of the Upwork alternatives on this list so far. Part of the reason it’s smaller is that they only accept freelancers from the U.S. and U.K. This platform is a little like Fiverr and Upwork combined because businesses can post projects, but freelancers can also list their services separately.
PeoplePerHour for businesses
One thing business owners like about PeoplePerHour is that there are no fees involved in hiring a freelancer, but there are payment processing fees. There are a number of ways to find freelancers on this site:
- Post a project: AI matches freelancers and contacts them with potential listings, they send proposals, and then you can review and select someone.
- Search the marketplace: Freelancers list their services and you can refine your search parameters.
- Offers: These are preset bundles that start at low prices for you to try out a freelancer.
PeoplePerHour for freelancers
Comparing PeoplePerHour vs. Upwork, this platform stands out because you’re not competing with nearly as many freelancers. They also guarantee payments by taking a deposit from your client; however, if there are any disputes, PeoplePerHour almost always sides with the business.
PeoplePerHour doesn’t charge fees for joining their platform, but you will pay a commission ranging from 3.5% to 20% depending on the total cost of the job.
PeoplePerHour is for freelancers in the U.S. and U.K.
Instead of competing with businesses and freelancers across the world, PeoplePerHour is only for U.S. and U.K.-based businesses.Check out PeoplePerHour
Credo is a smaller and lesser-known alternative to Upwork, but they’re a solid platform if you’re looking for services that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, SEO, or content. Credo also vets all of the freelancers on this site before they can join, and that selectivity can be good for both businesses and freelancers.
What makes Credo, and very different from Upwork, is that it’s more like a job matching service. Neither business owners or freelancers have to spend their time browsing the platform for the right match.
Credo for businesses
Credo hand matches businesses with freelancers, and you can even specify that you want someone local if that’s important to you. Because of the strict vetting process, you can expect only professionals and high-quality work, which means more expensive freelancers. Credo is ultimately better for businesses that are established and have the capital to hire top talent.
There are three packages business owners can choose from, starting with a free plan that includes up to 3 matches. The VIP service is a one-time fee of $249 which unlocks their guided hiring services.
Credo for freelancers
Credo’s vetting process involves providing two work samples for each marketing channel you offer, a description of the work and results, client contact info, and analytics or evidenced-based results. They also require a 15 to 30-minute screening call.
6. Hubstaff Talent
Hubstaff Talent was launched in 2013 by the workforce management platform Hubstaff. They work with business owners, agencies, and freelancers across the globe. They are committed to being 100% free which is exciting news if you’ve been put off by the cost or fees of any of these other Upwork competitors.
Hubstaff Talent for businesses
Business owners start on the platform by browsing freelance profiles, or you can post a job and let people come to you. Once you’re connected with someone, you decide on the terms and they get to work.
Hubstaff has proprietary time tracking tools that you can ask your freelancer to use, which makes it easy to monitor their work on your job.
Hubstaff Talent for freelancers
You get started on the platform by creating a profile that lists your skills and services, and you’ll be the most successful if you browse job listings and reach out to potential clients. Some clients will request you use Hubtaff’s time tracker, and there are both free and paid versions of it. The nice thing about a time tracker is that you know for sure you’re getting paid for all of the time you spend on each project.
Because this is a large free marketplace, you’ll be competing with a lot of people who are willing to work for pretty cheap. So Hubstaff Talent is better for those starting out or beginning to build their business.
Niche Upwork alternatives
There are dozens of freelance platforms out there, and some of them are designed for connecting freelancers and businesses in specific industries. Check out the list below niche platforms:
Best for developers:
Best for freelance writers:
- Blogging Pro
- Freelance Writing
Best for designers:
Is Guru better than Upwork?
Upwork has higher fees than Guru, but you can join and create a profile for free on Upwork. Guru lowers freelancer commission based on your membership level, and paying more can reduce your commission to around 7% compared to the 20% Upwork takes for the first $500 you bill your client. It reduces to 10% after that.
Guru is a large platform, but Upwork is bigger. That means more jobs, but it can also mean more competition.
Is Freelancer better than Upwork?
Upwork has a much better-designed site than Freelancer IMO, but they are both massive freelancing platforms. One of the reasons many people like Upwork better is that they don’t charge membership fees. Now, you don’t have to pay to use Freelancer, but a membership unlocks features you’ll need to find more work.
The final word on Upwork alternatives
There are lots of sites like Upwork, and that’s good news for business owners and freelancers. However, what you chose will depend a lot on where you’re at in your business. New freelancers may be wary of paying membership fees, as you’ll find at Freelancer or Guru, and you’ll lack the experience to make it through Credo's vetting process.
Business owners can go almost anywhere to find work because so many freelancers are out there vying for jobs. Plus, most platforms don’t charge business owners until they hire.
Also, keep in mind that Upwork has made a name for itself for a reason. They have a great platform, and you can use it for a wide variety of freelance services.