Upwork vs Fiverr: Which is Best for Online Business Owners?

Today, 36% of the US workforce consists of freelancers.

These flexible employees contribute around $1.4 trillion to the economy every year, representing an excellent opportunity for the new world of work.

While many employers are exploring the benefits of remote workers, many don’t know where to look when they’re searching for the correct talent. Posting an ad in your local newspaper won’t work in this environment.

Freelancer communities like Upwork and Fiverr have emerged to support the freelance workforce. These sites are hubs where you can find freelancers with the specific skills you need, assign projects, and even track your chosen contractor’s work.

How Does Fiverr Work?

Fiverr is a freelance community designed for employers who have quick, low-cost projects they need help with. This website is fantastic for finding gig workers at a price that suits you.

How Does Upwork Work?

Upwork is an easy-to-use website offering talent from freelancers of all backgrounds. The site has over 10 million people registered and ready to take on work.

Both websites give companies a way to connect with workers across a range of skill categories. However, how these two platforms work is very different.

So, which one should you choose?

Upwork vs. Fiverr: Which Should You Choose?

Although both Upwork and Fiverr have considerable presence in the freelancing world, they don’t provide the same experience.

Let’s look further at what you can expect from each.

1. Upwork vs. Fiverr: The pricing

No matter what you’re hiring for, the budget will always be a crucial consideration.

Both Upwork and Fiverr earn money by deducting a fee from the payments they process on their systems. However, how they set prices can vary.

Demo - A search for SEO at Upwork.com
A search for SEO at Upwork.com

On Upwork, freelancers set a rate and bid by the project, or by the hour depending on their preferences.

The Upwork team earns money by charging a fee on every completed project. They include the expense in the price that your freelancer quotes you, so the price they give might be higher to accommodate the fee.

For instance, if a freelancer quotes $500 for a project, 20% of that may go to Upwork, meaning that the professional is only getting $400. Upwork also charges 2.75% on top of your payment as a processing fee.

Demo: Searching for graphic designer at Fiverr
A search for graphic designers at Fiverr

Fiverr also has fees for both sides. The buyer will have to pay in advance for the gig they wish to buy. The fee is $2 for gigs up to $40, and 5% for everything above. The seller (freelancer) will get 80% of their earnings because a 20% commission goes to Fiverr.

2. Work Flow Comparison: How Do They Work?

It’s not just the pricing that differs between Fiverr and Upwork.

These platforms are also rather different in how they manage work.

For instance, on Upwork, freelancers offer services that are connected to a specific set of skills. Fiverr allows people to provide a wide range of different services at once.

On Upwork, freelancers bid for specific projects by sending unique applications and cover letters to clients when they post an available job. On Fiverr, clients purchase particular services that the freelancer already defined.

Instead of posting a job and getting an application on Fiverr, you sort through a database of potential talent looking for something that suits your needs.

One impressive feature of Upwork is that it comes with data science built into the platform. That means that the platform can track down the best freelancers to suit your needs based on an algorithmic match.

This can save you a lot of time looking for the right person among thousands of freelancers. Of course – you don’t necessarily have to use the freelancer that Upwork suggests, but the option is there.

3. The Quality of Freelancers' Work

The most critical aspect of choosing the right freelancer is making sure you will get the quality of work you deserve.

Both Fiverr vs Upwork marketplaces offer a range of skilled professionals to choose from. However, there are many differences in how you find and classify potential employees.

For instance, on Upwork, you can search for the skills you need by clicking on a particular niche and browsing through people with individual talents on their profile:

Detail categorization of freelancers' skills at Upwork.

Clicking on a listed skill will take you to another page where you’ll see freelancers that belong to that category. The profiles you find will offer plenty of information on the person’s hourly rate, the time they’ve spent on Upwork, and more.

Fiverr also allows you to search for talent by typing a keyword into a search bar.

Fiverr uses a more direct style in talent search.
Fiverr uses a more direct style in the talent search.

One fantastic thing about Fiverr is how much information you get when you click on a service provided by a freelancer. You can access detailed comparisons of the packages that different people offer, which makes deciding who to hire easier.

4. The Rating Systems

Finding the right quality of work isn’t just about having multiple people to choose from.

Shelling out money to people you haven’t met can be a worrying prospect. That’s why Upwork and Fiverr both offer rating systems to help you get insights from employers that came before you.

Star ratings next to each freelancer, complete with the option to check feedback from other projects can give you some fantastic peace of mind.

To protect your quality of work, it’s important to avoid any freelancer who has a lot of completed jobs under their belt, but no feedback. This could be a sign they’re getting rid of negative reviews.

5. Pre-Screening Services

Beyond ratings and feedback, Upwork also goes one step further to provide you with a higher quality of work. This website goes to great lengths to make sure you know what you’re getting from the talent you hire by:

  • Verifying freelancer identities for security and compliance purposes
  • Providing video and chat conferencing features for interviews
  • Displaying freelancer scores, success stories, and feedback from completed jobs
  • Providing online skills tests: You can search for people who have completed tests in things like UX and HTML skills.

There’s also the option to invest in the Upwork Pro service if you want a recruiting professional to find the right freelancer on your behalf. All you need to do is provide the details of your project, and Upwork will vet and choose the right people for you.

Ensuring you get the right talent on Fiverr isn’t always as simple. Except for Fiver “Pros,” anyone can sell a service on Fiverr. You can leave anonymous feedback on that freelancer, but there are no skill tests or vetting options to ensure you’re not wasting your time.

6. Work Monitoring And Dispute Resolution

Another important feature to look for in a freelancer platform for the quality of work is monitoring tools.

Upwork allows you to organize your entire project through its platform, with communication between you and your freelancer. You can assign milestones for a task and make sure you send payment when a job is complete.

Upwork also sets itself apart with an amazing dispute resolution center you can use to address problems if you notice any issues with your completed project. You’ll have a mediator assigned to your case who will get you your money back if they find that your complaints are valid.

Fiverr doesn’t have the same work management system in place. As long as the seller complies with the conditions of the service you buy, then everything will work smoothly.

However, you can always reach out to the seller with a quick message if you want to check the status of your project.

For dispute resolution, Fiverr also doesn’t offer a mediator to settle your dispute. You can visit the resolution center to extend the delivery time on a project or ask for an update on the order. However, it’s much more difficult to get an issue resolved if something goes wrong on Fiverr.

Hiring Guide: Building Out Your Freelance Workforce

According to Medium, freelancers will make up most of the US workforce by 2027.

Now’s the time to work on your hiring strategy if you want to make sure you’re getting the right talent.

While freelance employees can offer a lot of benefits in the form of better productivity, lower overhead costs, and greater access to talent, it can be a challenge to find the right people.

If you don’t hire someone right for your specific project, you’re just wasting time and money.

So, how can you boost your chances of success?

1. Define What You’re Looking For

The first thing you need to know is what you need from a new freelancer.

That doesn’t just mean listing off the skills that will be crucial to completing a project. You also must determine what kind of employee will work best as part of your team – even if they will only be interacting with you for a limited time.

Checking a freelancer’s profile on a hiring site like Upwork or Fiverr will give you an insight into their personality and work ethics. This will help to ensure you’re getting the right quality of the contractor.

2. Do Your Due Diligence

Just like any hiring process, it’s essential to learn as much as you can about a potential candidate before you extend a job offer.

Upwork can be helpful with this process, by pre-screening candidates for you, and allowing you to host video interviews before you hire someone.

However, no matter which tool you’re using, you should be able to learn something about your would-be freelancer by reading their profiles and checking out comments from previous clients.

Make sure that the person you choose delivers a good quality of service by checking their reviews and ensure that they have experience with your project type too.

3. Track the Work

Once you’ve interviewed your freelancer and checked that they’re right for the job, remember that you shouldn’t just be leaving them to it.

The best freelancer websites will allow you to maintain a consistent conversation with the person you’re working with. This means you can check on their ongoing project and ask questions about how the task is going.

If anything goes wrong, don’t hesitate to launch an inquiry with the service you’re using too. Both Upwork and Fiverr will allow you to cancel a job or sending a request for assistance if you think you will not get the work you need.

Upwork vs. Fiverr: Which is Best for Which Jobs?

Choosing between Fiverr and Upwork will be a personal decision based on your unique needs.

For most companies, Upwork will be the better option for larger projects or tasks that require the knowledge and insight of a specialist. If you’re just looking for someone to handle something simple, then Fiverr could be a great way to save cash.

Fiverr is a platform for outsourcing small, easy jobs without spending a lot of money.

Advantages of using Upwork:

  • Control over the screening/recruiting process
  • Excellent pre-screening support
  • No upfront costs necessary
  • Great for specific, specialist support
  • A massive global talent pool

Advantages of using Fiverr:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use environment
  • Active community
  • Fast way of tracking down talent

Are you Ready to Hire Your Freelance Employees?

As the world continues to evolve, and people search for more balance between their work and personal lives, freelancing will only grow more popular.

In the years to come, employers won’t have any choice whether or not they use freelancers. Although you might be facing with the ups and downs of outsourcing, if you want the right talent, you must adjust. 

Websites like Fiverr and UpWork that pull communities of skilled people together in an easy-to-use platform can be an excellent source of assistance for people in search of freelance workers.

However, it’s essential to make sure you’re using the tool that will give you the best results.

Make sure you know what you’re looking for before you get started and select the freelance community that works best for your team.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly source of support for a simple project, Fiverr may be your best option.

If you need something more advanced, and you’re willing to pay for a specialist, Upwork could be the solution for you.

FAQs about Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancing

Is Fiverr or Upwork better for freelancers?

Each of these platforms offers its own advantages. Fiverr often has budget-oriented work, which means higher volume, while Upwork is better for skilled professionals.

Is Fiverr or Upwork cheaper?

Both sites charge in different ways. Freelancers on Upwork charge by the hour, while Fiverr charges per job.

Which freelance platform is good for beginners?

Fiverr has freelances segregated by levels of skill. This makes it a good resource for businesses looking to take on more budget-friendly freelancers.

Is it easy to hire freelancers on Fiverr?

Yes, Fiverr has a large pool of talent offering multiple services. Many top freelancers on Fiverr also typically respond quickly.

How Does Fiverr Work?

Fiverr is a freelance community designed for employers who have quick, low-cost projects they need help with. This website is fantastic for finding gig workers at a price that suits you.

How Does Upwork Work?

Upwork is an easy-to-use website offering talent from freelancers of all backgrounds. The site has over 10 million people registered and ready to take on work.

Credit: This article is originally written by Ashley Wilson in 2019, a digital nomad who writes about business and tech. We have updated the post multiple times and added a lot more details in March 2020.

Photo of author

Article by Jerry Low