Toptal vs Upwork


Upwork vs Freelancer : Which Freelance Platform better suits your project?

The world of work is constantly evolving, with more firms as well as talent transitioning into freelance opportunities.  When it comes to freelance platforms, Upwork and Freelancer are two popular platforms that connect freelancers with clients seeking their services. Both platforms offer a wide range of job categories and provide opportunities for remote work.

Read on to see how these two popular freelance platforms compare based on several key factors.  This would help you make informed decisions regarding which of these freelance platforms would better suit the unique needs of your project.

1. Quality of Freelancers: Unvetted vs Curated Talent 

Both Upwork and Freelancer have a large pool of freelancers with varying skill sets and experience levels. However, Upwork tends to have a more stringent vetting process for freelancers, which often results in a higher overall quality of talent. Upwork requires freelancers to go through a thorough application process, including skill tests and portfolio reviews. Upwork’s strict vetting process and higher quality standards therefore often result in a more professional and reliable pool of freelancers.

On the other hand, Freelancer has a less strict vetting process, which means there might be a wider range of skill levels among freelancers on the platform. Freelancer also has a larger user base, resulting in a wider range of job opportunities. Even though Freelancer has a larger user base, which means there are more freelancers to choose from, quality can be more inconsistent since talent is not subject to rigorous vetting processes.

2. Scope of Work Available

Both platforms offer a wide range of job categories and industries, ensuring that clients can find freelancers for almost any type of project. However, Upwork has a more diverse job marketplace, with a broader selection of specialized skills and industries. This makes Upwork a preferred choice for clients who require specific expertise or niche skills. 

Freelancer, on the other hand, tends to have a larger pool of freelancers in more general fields, making it suitable for clients with more generic project requirements. 

3. Pricing Models

Upwork and Freelancer offer different pricing models for clients and freelancers. Upwork primarily operates on an hourly basis, where freelancers track their time and clients pay based on the hours worked. This pricing model is particularly beneficial for long-term projects or those requiring ongoing collaboration. Upwork often charges freelancers a sliding fee based on their earnings, ranging from 5% to 20%. This fee decreases as the freelancer’s total earnings increase. Upwork uses its own payment system called Upwork Escrow, which allows clients to deposit funds for the project that are released to the freelancer upon completion.

Freelancer, on the other hand, allows clients to set fixed project budgets or negotiate rates directly with freelancers. This flexibility in pricing models can be advantageous for clients with specific budget constraints or for one-time projects. While Freelancer offers a free basic membership, it charges freelancers a flat 10% fee for each project they complete. Clients on both platforms are generally responsible for paying the fees associated with hiring freelancers. Freelancer uses a system called Milestone Payment, where clients can set milestones and release funds accordingly.

4. Dispute Resolution

Both platforms have dispute resolution mechanisms in place to address any conflicts that may arise between clients and freelancers. Upwork has a dedicated dispute resolution team that intervenes in case of disputes and strives to find a fair resolution for both parties. Upwork therefore provides a more structured and formalized dispute resolution process compared to Freelancer. At Upwork, disputes are resolved through a mandatory mediation process, where the neutral third-party resolution team assists both parties in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution.

Freelancer also offers dispute resolution services, but the process may vary depending on the nature of the dispute. Freelancer’s dispute resolution process is more flexible compared to Upwork, allowing freelancers and clients to negotiate and resolve issues among themselves. While both platforms aim to address disputes efficiently, the differing approaches offered by Upwork and Freelancer provide freelancers and clients with options that best suit their needs and preferences.  In general, both platforms prioritize resolving conflicts efficiently to maintain a positive user experience.

5.0 Upwork reviews

Currently, Upwork is holding a review score of 3.4 out of 5 on Trustpilot, and a score of 4.8 out of 5 on G2.

Upwork rating

Upwork rating


Both Upwork and Freelancer are reputable freelance platforms that offer a wide range of freelancers and job opportunities. Upwork generally excels in terms of the quality of freelancers and the diversity of job categories available. On the other hand, Freelancer provides a more flexible pricing model and a larger pool of freelancers in general fields. Ultimately, the choice between the two platforms depends on the specific needs and preferences of clients and freelancers.

The choice between the two platforms of Freelancer and Upwork finally depends on individual needs, priorities and the level of expertise required.  Having a careful evaluation of the above discussed factors related to these platforms will enable you to select which platform between these two are better suited to your needs, helping you effectively accomplish project goals.

The chart below summarises a comparison drawn on Freelancer vs. Upwork:

Project scopeShort and long-term projectsMainly short-term projects
Dispute resolutionFormalized, with a dedicated dispute resolution teamFlexible, with freelancers and clients negotiating
Pricing modelFlexible pricing modelFlexible pricing model
Freelancer vettingSome extent of vetting in placeNo official vetting
Diversity of serviceBroader selection of specialized skillsWider pool of generalized skills

Importantly, do note that all information provided in the above chart has been based on general trends, and are subject to variation based on individual circumstances and particular projects.  Also, these companies may have any changes to their service, highlighting the importance of referring their official websites to get latest information.

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