Upwork Alternatives that Make Remote Work Awesome

Remote work has multiple benefits, and to take full advantage of it we need reliable virtual employee testing and management systems. This is the basis of mediator-platforms like Upwork and Upwork alternatives. These services allow you to collaborate with individuals regardless of geographical boundaries.

You need reliable virtual employee testing and management systems to fully take advantage of remote work. Click To Tweet

This post will cover another, arguably better Upwork alternative that can make remote team management much easier, and even more affordable.

A focus on Upwork

Almost everyone who has tried their luck at freelancing (after all, it’s a growing market) knows about Upwork. It is one of the go-to platforms for anyone looking to outsource or find remote work. Upwork was formed from a merger of two popular freelancing platforms; oDesk and Elance, who teamed up on the oDesk platform.

When we take a look into what makes Upwork so special, we must be careful not to just slip into the comfort zone of what is familiar. Upwork has been around for more than 10 years, meaning that many freelancers and companies are comfortable with it. Instead of trading comfort for innovation, we need to remain open to other staffing solutions that may work better and provide more productivity in the long run.

Upwork has millions of freelancers in their database to hire

Upwork has a hiring process that exhausts employers before they’ve even started working with their contractor. There are great applicants on Upwork thanks to a long history and popularity. Since it is one of the most popular services of its kind, Upwork is overcrowded with freelancers from all over the world.

This wouldn’t be a bad thing if there was always a way to know for sure whether the candidate you’re looking at is competent and trustworthy. Although Upwork has a portfolio rating system, it doesn’t always provide the insight you may need to discern working habits or communication style. You need a freelancer who can communicate on the platforms that you do, and has the same drive for their work as you have for your company.

Be sure to set your job posting to individual freelancers only, or you could get agencies applying for your job. If you hire an agency via Upwork, you may not get to know or communicate with the specific individual doing your job. Even with individual freelancers, choosing a great applicant in Upwork is usually time consuming.

Upwork management solutions don’t integrate

One of the drawbacks to using Upwork is that you’ll spend a lot of time instructing and managing your employees. Upwork has a built-in messaging system that works like instant messaging and can accommodate file attachments. However, this system pales in comparison to project management software such as Basecamp and Trello. Upwork also takes screenshots every 10 minutes, but this regularity makes it easy for freelancers to predict when they need to show a “working” screen.

Upwork takes screenshots every 10 minutes to monitor contractor work, but they aren't randomized. Click To Tweet

After a contract ends, Upwork will ask you to rate your employee and vice versa. In the long run, the sum of these one-to-five-star ratings are used to determine the reputation of a freelancer, an agency or a job provider.

If the job wasn’t done well, rating appropriately would seem like the logical thing to do. However, this rating system has drawbacks; a freelancer can rate you poorly as well out of spite. Because both the employers and freelancers rate each other, they could create agreements to give high ratings even if the work was sub-par. Even with the double-blind feedback system, it’s hard to always remain fully objective.

Upwork takes fees on your costs towards contractors

Upwork provides a safety net for payments and uses a secure system to move funds around. However, there are no guarantees with fixed-price jobs and upfront payments. If there are problems, you can file disputes for hourly contracts, but resolutions usually take a while. Upwork also takes a 10 percent fee from whatever your freelancer charges, so for every hour your freelancer works, you are also paying Upwork a continuous finders fee.

It takes time to find a freelancer

Employers can ask applicants to do a test assignment in the job posting, but many freelancers are skeptical about this. Unless it’s paid, it could be a huge waste of freelancers’ time, and if it’s paid, it could be a drain on company funds. Imagine having the invest time and resources to sift through different freelancer trials trying to pick out the best candidate.

The time cost, coupled with the percentage fee from each job, means that Upwork ends up costing your company both time and money.

An Upwork alternative that can save your business money

Outsourcing is a great way to get plenty of high-quality work done in your company. The hiring process can be tricky, but there are ultimately more benefits to working with freelancers and independent contractors than there are challenges. This is especially true when you use efficient, seamless tools.

One of the best alternatives to Upwork comes in the form of Hubstaff Talent.

Hubstaff takes all the pain and complications out of the outsourcing process in just a couple of easy steps.

  1. Search the Hubstaff Talent directory for freelancer or agency profiles
  2. Filter by experience, skills, availability, country, or hourly rate.
  3. Contact your top choices directly.
  4. Agree on work terms.
  5. Hit the ground running, working on whatever platform you choose.
  6. As your freelancers work, you can use Hubstaff to track their hours and activity levels to make sure you get what you paid for. You can also set up automatic payments using the software.


Hubstaff started off as software for time tracking, managing projects and monitoring remote workers. It was built by founders who worked with freelancers and saw a need for better time management and hiring processes. Hubstaff’s desktop app has a built in timer that works offline, and is compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems.

Hubstaff is a time tracking tool for remote teams, built by remote teams. Click To Tweet

With their Talent platform, Hubstaff now has all the tools in place to become the best Upwork alternative. Hubstaff Talent allows business owners to find freelancers and agencies that match their needs, and contact them directly without any middlemen. The fact that Hubstaff was initially a software solution for organizing projects and tracking employee hours makes it all the better for managing the freelancers you find on Hubstaff Talent.

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Upwork Work Diary vs. Hubstaff time tracking and work monitoring

Upwork’s Work Diary takes six screenshots per hour and records how many clicks and keystrokes a freelancer made. It allows for manual time addition and shows color coded time entries; brown for over-budget, green for automatically tracked and yellow for manually added.

Hubstaff’s time tracking and work monitoring software records time down to the second, takes randomized screenshots (1, 2, 3 or none every 10 minutes), tracks activity levels and can also monitor URLs visited and apps used. Activity levels are calculated based on keystrokes and mouse movements, and are color coded so managers can easily see productivity at a glance.

Upwork project management vs. Hubstaff integrations

On Upwork, freelancers and their clients communicate via an in-house project management system that allows them to exchange notes, messages and more. However, they don’t currently have easy integration with popular project management tools like Basecamp.

Hubstaff integrates with multiple project management tools and even accounting software, so your teams can continue using the platforms you love while adding easy time tracking and monitoring functions. After the initial integration, which is completed in a few clicks, Hubstaff will automatically sync information every 30 minutes.

Upwork payments vs. Hubstaff payments

Upwork has billing protection, which means that agencies and freelancers are protected from having money or work stolen. Escrow lets you double-check finished work before pre-funded payments are released to freelancers, and their work diary ensures an hour worked is an hour paid. However, Upwork doesn’t offer full protection (in cases when freelancers track time manually for example). It’s also important to consider the fact they make money on time tracked may create incentive for Upwork to be lenient with contractors.

You can automate freelancer payments with a Hubstaff integration. Click To Tweet

Hubstaff offers automatic payments and payroll calculated based on number of hours tracked with the Hubstaff timer. That means each pay day is on time, accurate and automatic.

Upwork pricing vs. Hubstaff pricing

Upwork charges a percentage for each transaction.

Hubstaff Talent is 100% free. That’s right, no middlemen fees, no markups. Here is why we decided to keep it free.

You can choose to use Hubstaff’s time tracking software to work with your freelancers for which we charge a flat monthly rate, starting at just $5 for a single user. This stays the same whether you are working on $200 projects or $2,000,000 ones.

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Upwork vs. Hubstaff – Final showdown

Hubstaff is the perfect all-in-one answer, covering your every staffing need with the highest quality solutions.

  • Hubstaff Talent: A 100% free resource for companies looking to find the best remote talent across the globe. No fees, no markups, no middlemen.
  • Time tracking: With the hallmark feature of Hubstaff you’ll always know exactly what your employees are working on. Your freelancers can also add manual time for the tasks they spend away from the computer.
  • Employee monitoring: Optional randomized screenshots provide the best view of what your employees are working on. You can opt to have these blurred for privacy. Hubstaff tracks URLs and applications, and measures activity levels based on key strokes and mouse movements. Remote work is revolutionized with this completely transparent approach.
  • Timesheets: Hubstaff provides you with detailed overview of your projects and tasks. You’ll always know which tasks have been worked on, when and for how long.
  • Payments: Hubstaff offers automatic payments based on hourly rate and hours tracked with the app. You can also export timesheets to Quickbooks, Paypal MassPay or CSV for billing purposes.

If you’ve been using Upwork to find employees, you know the time and effort it takes before the actual work even starts. Finding and managing remote workers can be time-consuming and exhausting.

Hubstaff Talent will completely eliminate the painstaking process of finding the perfect candidate. After this, the Hubstaff app will make remote collaboration a breeze. From the job posting to the payment process, Hubstaff is convenient and efficient at every step of the way thanks to an array of features and integrations.

Hubstaff time tracking