Upwork is one of the best-known platforms for anyone looking for a freelance job or a remote employee, but there are plenty of Upwork competitors out there. Upwork is popular because it’s huge. It’s been around for more than 10 years and boasts millions of freelancers in a multitude of fields.
Its strengths, though, are also its weaknesses.
Why you should use an alternative to Upwork
Posting a job on Upwork can be a hassle. The sheer number of applicants to any job can be overwhelming, and some applicants will mass-apply to jobs they definitely aren’t qualified for. Sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a job in and of itself.
Yes, Upwork has a rating system for freelancers, but that rating system doesn’t show you how readily a freelancer communicates and other key work habits you should observe before hiring someone.
Upwork’s messaging platform and payment systems are cumbersome and rife with bugs. Communicating—especially with multiple freelancers—can be a giant pain. It can also be quite costly to hire and work with freelancers through the platform. (In fact, we save over $30,000 every year by not using Upwork.)
Upwork may be the biggest name in the game, but there are many Upwork competitors out there, some of which are gaining steam. Check them out below, or click one to jump right to the description of that site:
The best Upwork competitors and alternatives
One of the biggest problems with freelance marketplaces is that you just have to trust a freelancer who says they’re good at what they do. You can check their portfolios, but that’s not always a great indication of the quality of their work. Credo aims to solve that issue by vetting all of their providers before listing them on the site.
Unlike many freelance marketplaces, Credo specializes in a very narrow field: SEO and marketing. When you land on the site, you can choose from a list of services you’re interested in:
- SEO consulting
- SEO site audit
- Content marketing/link building
- Facebook ads
- Google/Bing ads
- Public relations (PR)
Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a list of providers that you can choose from. And because those providers have been closely vetted by the founder of Credo, you can be confident that you’re getting absolutely top-notch talent for your project.
Fiverr bills itself as the world’s largest online marketplace for $5 services. You can find just about any kind of service you want for five bucks, including folks who will “say anything you want,” paint their body with your logo, and lots of other wild services.
While it’s named Fiverr, the site lets users post projects for much more than $5. The twist is that users post these services, not buyers/employers. Buyers can search for and browse the marketplace, but it’s the sellers who post what they are willing to do and for how much, not the buyers.
As you might suspect, Fiverr isn’t very likely to yield a high-quality outcome for you or your business. Buyers’ options are limited, and most of the power is in the seller’s hands. If you’re looking to accomplish a quick, clear-cut job that you know is virtually impossible to mess up, it might be worth looking at Fiverr.
But don’t expect to establish any long-term, trusting relationships with high-quality freelancers there. Of the sites like Upwork, this is one of the more unique. Though it is an Upwork competitor, it has a very different business model, and it’s good for different types of work.
With more than 9 million projects posted and more than 17 million users, Freelancer is a massive and constantly growing Upwork alternative that offers similar benefits without all the downfalls.
For employers and small businesses, signing up and getting started on Freelancer is quick and easy. You post a project to get started, filling out project details, skills you want applicants to have, pricing options, and project files for applicants to peruse.
You can post a project at a free, basic level, or you can pay to have your project classified as private, urgent, NDA-required, and much more. Employers can also skip this process entirely and reach out directly to a freelancer they find attractive for the job.
Once you submit your job, freelancers will bid on your project. You can review their portfolios, history of work, qualifications, and other details.
While Freelancer offers time tracking tools, they’re not free, and your freelancer is incentivized to bill as many hours as possible if your project is being paid by the hour. Once the project is completed, businesses have the option to rate and review their freelancer. Membership starts free but increases as users go from Basic to Standard and then to Premium. Critiques of this service include payments processing very slowly and lackluster customer support.
Hubstaff Talent connects freelance professionals and clients with efficiency and finesse. It’s a free directory for companies looking for remote talent across the globe. There are no markups and no fees on either side (freelancer or business owner). That means freelancers get exactly what their client pays them.
This free platform displays a freelancer’s hourly rate, skills, experience, availability, résumé, and languages spoken. Freelancers also have the option to add a short description to provide more information on themselves. Profiles can be filtered by skill, availability, years of experience, or country. You can also run a search for keywords or phrases.
Get 100% of what your client pays you
No middlemen fees. Pinky promise.
In order for business owners to find freelancers and agencies, they simply have to browse the profiles on Hubstaff Talent, contact their chosen freelancers directly, decide on work terms, and get started.
Agencies can start a profile and add team members in order to be found by business owners. Freelancers only need to start a profile, get found, contacted, and then hit the ground running.
To complement the free directory, Hubstaff’s time tracking software allows you to manage a remote workforce. Along with the numerous features the software offers, such as time tracking, activity monitoring, and automatic payroll. One of the major benefits is that all this comes with a simple and flat pricing structure (starting at $5 per user per month).
We’re a bit biased, but we really think that Hubstaff Talent is the best of the Upwork alternatives. Because we built it to the best of the Upwork alternatives. It’s totally free to get started, so sign up today!
Outsourcely was actually born from the frustration of using platforms like Odesk, Elance, and Freelancer for many years. The main frustrations the founders of Outsourcely wanted to solve were the difficulty of finding reliable freelancers, high payment processing fees, and not being able to hire directly.
You can find a freelancer with a skill search or by posting a remote job. Then you’ll contact candidates using real-time private chat, browser-to-browser video and voice calling, video and voice messaging, or direct email. This makes hiring fast and easy.
Outsourcely allows you to hire remote workers directly and pay them directly. This can save you thousands in fees. Once you hire on Outsourcely, you can manage everyone via the Team Workplace platform. You can even invite your existing team to their Team Workplace platform.
Employer pans start at $19 per month for limited contact options. You can pay up to $229 per month for the ability to post and manage a huge number of jobs. Even taking exorbitant Upwork fees into account, this is one of the more expensive alternatives to Upwork.
Outsourcely is offering all Hubstaff readers a 30% discount. Enter hubstaff30 to get 30% off all plans.
If you’re looking for high-quality writing services, Textbroker could work for you. Like Fiverr, this site is an Upwork alternative, but it runs things differently. Textbroker guarantees your work will be done, even if your writer gets sick, can’t complete the job, or otherwise drops off the face of the earth.
Buyers post a request for content, and the site matches the request to one of its thousands of writers. Writers are categorized by skill level, and the pricing matches, so buyers chose what quality level they want from their writer and move forward. If the writer you chose is unable to complete your assignment, it’s automatically re-assigned, which is a neat feature.
The downside to Textbroker is that communication with your freelancer is limited. And, again, you get what you pay for, so if you chose a lower-quality content writer to complete your task, you’re likely to get low-quality work. While the site does boast some high-quality writers, you may be better off forming more personable relationships with writers directly, especially since content is such a nebulous field with a lot of gray area.
Workhoppers is the anti-thesis of Upwork-type freelance sites and was designed for companies to find and hire professionals in their own city, for contract, gig or part-time work at a flat rate.
With Workhoppers, there are no commissions paid. Employers just pay a monthly fee (plans start at $19 per month). There’s also no bidding or complicated processes to estimate the cost of a project.
Workhoppers believes in the advantages of working face-to-face, even if it’s just once a month over a coffee. Companies and “workhoppers” can communicate directly and agree together on the terms of the contract. Workhoppers uses a powerful matching algorithm to highlight the most qualified freelancers. That means you don’t have to go through the sorting process.
Once the job is completed, businesses have the opportunity to review their freelancer. All companies and jobs are vetted before they can post on the site. The intent of the site is to encourage companies to hire and meet with freelancers in their community. This focus on long-term relationships is better for everyone.
The obvious downside of Workhoppers is that, depending on where you live, the cost of a local freelancer could be higher. Our 2017 Global Freelancing Trends survey showed that freelancers in places with higher costs of living charge more.
You can specify that you are seeking a freelancer in another city but, since there is no escrow payment processing, you need to establish trust. The site is a great option for projects that require meeting face-to-face.
Your favorite Upwork alternatives
Whichever alternative to Upwork you choose to work with, remember that you need a reliable solution to manage your team of freelancers and/or remote workers. Many of the platforms outlined above will try to rope you in, but remember that you have the freedom to choose another solution that makes more sense for your business.
Do you prefer to hire on Upwork? Or have you used any of the alternatives above? Did we miss your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!