Upwork, which was formed from a merger of the platforms oDesk and Elance, is one of the best-known platforms for anyone looking for a freelance job or a remote employee. 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. But, its strengths are also its weaknesses. And there are plenty of Upwork competitors out there to consider.
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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 through irrelevant responses 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. Plus, the system benefits those who have been on the platform longer, so you may overlook great freelancers, just because they’re new to Upwork.
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 that can provide what you’re looking for without as many downsides. Whether you want an alternative platform or an in-house process to find and hire content creators, we’ve got you covered.
Sites like Upwork:
The best Upwork competitors and alternatives
1. Hubstaff Talent (100% free)
Hubstaff Talent connects freelance professionals and clients with efficiency and finesse.
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.
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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.
Here’s what makes Hubstaff Talent different as an Upwork competitor.
- 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.
- Because there are no fees, Hubstaff Talent takes a very small role in the pairing and agreements client and talent work out.
- There are no fees levied on projects or hourly work.
- Employers are free to reach out to freelancers, interview them and hire them at no charge.
- To complement the free directory, Hubstaff’s project management software, Hubstaff Tasks can be used for an additional monthly fee.
- You can also add Hubstaff time tracking software, which comes with invoicing and payroll options via PayPal, Bitwage and Payoneer
- Hubstaff plans start at $5 for a single user per month.
Hubstaff Talent is the best of the Upwork alternatives. Because we built it to the best of the Upwork alternatives. And, like we said, it’s totally free to get started.
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 including:
- SEO consulting (which include local SEO, travel SEO, real estate SEO, ecommerce SEO, lawyer SEO and international SEO)
- SEO site audits
- Content marketing
- Inbound marketing
- Link building
- Facebook ads
- Paid social ads
- Online reputation management
- WordPress development
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.
How does Credo compare to Upwork?
- The Credo process is more like a concierge service that guides you throughout your project.
- They vet every agency and consultant in their network.
- The Credo team gets on the phone with you to make the right recommendations and introductions in under 24 hours.
- Credo reaches out to potential agencies and freelancers who are the best fit. When they accept, you are introduced.
- Credo helps with project proposal reviews and clarifications, and then checks in from time to time to ensure the project is moving along well.
Fiverr bills itself as the world’s largest online marketplace for freelance services on demand. They originally offered $5 services. However, that has since changed. You can find just about any kind of service you want for five bucks and more,, including folks who will design a t-shirt, prank call someone, beatbox your name, and lots of other wild services.
What makes it different from Upwork?
- You have the option to post a project or browse through gig offers to find something that fits your requirements.
- Fiverr is best used for specific gigs with predetermined outcomes.
- High rated sellers and Pro-level providers charge way more than just $5. Expect to get what you pay for.
- Creating an account is free and you can communicate with the freelancer prior to placing an order with them to ensure outcomes will be delivered in the manner and time frame you need.
- Fiverr is better suited for people who want a gig completed quickly and within a small budget.
- Like we mentioned above, it covers a wide range of services and is less focused than other platforms.
As you might suspect, Fiverr isn’t as likely to yield a high-quality outcome for you or your business compared to competitors. 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 easy to hand off, it might be worth looking at Fiverr.
Of the sites like Upwork, this one is more unique. Though it is an Upwork competitor, it has a very different business model, and it’s good for different types of projects you would not normally use Upwork for.
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.
Alternatively, employers can 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.
Freelancer.com and Upwork are very similar in their offerings. The only major difference being pricing, access to tools for the subscription level and quality of the tools they provide.
Here are some key differences to note with this Upwork competitor.
- Pricing on Freelancer.com varies from $3 to 3% of the project cost, depending on which is greater. Upgrades can be purchased at an extra cost for things like priority, full-time work, NDA, etc. Compare this to Upwork’s base plan, which is charged at 2.75% of the project cost.
- Contests are another option on Freelancer.com. This allows you to get freelancers to apply for your contest while you get to pick the winner, who will ultimately be assigned the prize. While it is free to post a contest, you will need to provide funds equivalent to the contest prize. You can also add upgrades to extend the contest, assign priority, NDA etc. One big downside of hosting a contest is that many freelancers don’t enter because they don’t want to create spec work (where they don’t get paid). So, running a contest might not return the quality you’re looking for and may take more time than simply hiring one freelancer for your project.
- Don’t wish to manage your projects? You can consider adding a project manager to your project. However, fees will differ depending on the size of the project.
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Outsourcely was actually born from the limitations and costs 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.
It is in solving these differences that Outsourcely stands out as an Upwork alternative. Here is how it is different.
- The talent on Outsourcely is by and large looking for long-term remote work opportunities.
- Outsourcely allows employers to interview and hire talent directly without any involvement from Outsourcely.
- Employers can pay talent directly without extra fees being levied.
- Prospective employers can interview and hire talent with real-time communication tools built into the platform, including real-time private chat, browser-to-browser video and voice calling, video and voice messaging, or direct email. This makes the hiring process much quicker and easier.
- Like Upwork, you can find a freelancer through a skills search or by posting a remote job.
- Employers have the option of managing their remote team via the Outsourcely Team Workplace platform, or even inviting their existing staff to Outsourcely in order to use a single management tool.
Employer plans start at $19 per month. This plan comes with limited contact options.
Outsourcely does offer the ability to create a free job post to get a taste of the platform. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you think it is not a good fit.
If you’re looking for high-quality freelance 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, and even if they just decide not to. Basically, if you have a project, it will get done.
How does Textbroker compare as an alternative to Upwork? Here are a few differences.
- This site focuses purely on freelance writing services.
- You create an account and get to select your order type, quality level and set up instructions.
- You get access to 1000’s of writers from all over the world at different skill levels, as per their star rating.
- You can then deposit funds to place the order.
- You get to decide who writes the article and delivery dates.
- Alternatively, you can use the managed service option which starts at $2500, where a team handles the entire process for you.
- Textbroker’s API makes integration with your CRM or CMS easy.
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 areas.
Workhoppers is the anti-thesis of Upwork-type freelance sites and was designed for companies to find and hire professionals in their own city.
How is Workhopper different from Upwork?
- No commissions are paid. Just a monthly plan fee that is as low as $19 per month.
- Can find freelancers who work in your local area for full-time, part-time or contract roles.
- A matching algorithm provides a curated list of potential candidates, as opposed to having people apply or having to hunt them down.
- You save time by contacting candidates directly and immediately.
- You get to negotiate terms with the candidate, saving time and money.
With Workhoppers, there are 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. It 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.
Freeeup was created by Nathan Hirsch out of the challenge of getting access to top talent quickly. Nathan initially started out vetting freelancers for eCommerce businesses like his, and then branched out into other skill sets as demand grew for the service.
How is Freeeup different from Upwork?
- First off, it is not a job board.
- The candidates available possess a wide variety of skill sets, not limited to one focus area.
- As part of building their talent pool, Freeeup vets candidates for you based on skills, attitude, and communication. They only allow the top 1% into the network.
- They offer one to three pre-vetted candidates that are handpicked for you based on your work request. Usually within 24 hours.
- In instances where candidates require specific knowledge or software expertise, Freeeup will recruit and interview for you outside of their marketplace at no cost to you.
- Once introductions to potential candidates have been made, you can communicate with them via email, Skype or phone.
- Freeeup handles payment for freelancers every week via credit card, PayPal retainer and ACH for U.S. clients.
- Freeeup also offers a no-turnover guarantee. So even if your freelancer quits for some reason, they cover all retraining, replacement costs and provide a new person right away.
- There are no sign-up fees or monthly fees. They make money off the difference in the hourly rate.
The ability to pay your freelancers directly, again, can save you thousands of dollars. All work by freelancers you hire is only undertaken after the number of hours has been approved.
When candidates are suggested, you are under no obligation to hire them and can instead provide feedback to Freeeup to help find candidates that would best suit your project or work requirements.
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PeoplePerHour is similar to Upwork in that it also offers a trusted dynamic platform where you can post a job and have freelancers apply for it. However, it also offers popular requests at a fixed price. Freelancers get to define these requests, known as hourlies, and the price for it.
In what other ways does PeoplePerHour differ as an Upwork competitor?
- It is free to set up an account.
- There are no fees involved in hiring a freelancer but payment processing fees when using a credit/debit card or PayPal will be passed on to you.
- Posting a Job on PPH is free. If you want to feature your job listing there is a fee.
- You can browse “Hourlies,” which are fixed price offers which freelancers can start on immediately.
- Alternatively you could post a job and let freelancers in the PeoplePerHour community find you.
- Another way to get started is to search profiles of freelancers, and get in contact with them directly.
- The “WorkStream” in your PeoplePerHour account is a single dashboard that enables you to track activity, communicate, and manage payments.
- PeoplePerHour also offers buyer protection. In other words, it holds funds for the service you purchase in escrow until it has been delivered.
Consider a comprehensive team management platform
In addition to Hubstaff Talent, you can also manage your team’s time and projects with Hubstaff and Hubstaff Tasks.
Hubstaff time tracking allows you to easily add freelancers and contractors so they can track their work hours, and then get paid quickly and accurately.
Hubstaff Tasks is an Agile project management tool that uses visual project boards and detailed tasks to keep your whole team on the same page. Assign tasks to freelancers and contractors, and then get progress updates as they work on projects.
Add checklists, due dates, relevant files and much more so that handing off projects to outside professionals is easy and streamlined.
Use all three tools together to find talent, track their hours, and keep projects moving forward.
What are your favorite 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!
Looking to hire a WordPress developer? Check out this Freelancer to Agency Series on how to hire freelance WordPress developers for your agency.
This post was originally published in March 2016. It has been updated for accuracy, and to include more relevant platforms.