Unlike some of the other freelance platforms, Upwork is available worldwide. You can register as a client or freelancer, no matter where you are located. Upwork posts over 3 million jobs annually and turns over $1 billion. That’s serious freelancing in any currency. Initially it was all about content, writing and SEO articles but Upwork now boasts freelance work in graphic design, web design, all things internet, voice overs, translations, social media posting and marketing, video creation, virtual assistants and much more. There are virtually no restrictions to what kind of services can be offered.
How to get started on Upwork as a freelancer
Moreover, there are several further tests you can take to show clients what you are capable of. These tests range from language skills to more broader knowledge, such as customer service and email etiquette. These tests are optional, but sometimes having passed a specific test is set as a requirement by clients.
Bidding for projects costs you tokens. This system is in place not to force you to buy more tokens, but to keep freelancers from sending out spam applications. The tokens you get for free are usually enough to get you started. You get 60. Most projects cost you 2 tokens. That’s 30 projects a month for which you can bid.
There are three options on how you can get paid for a project: The full amount after concluding the project, in milestones (very useful for long-term and bigger projects) and hourly. Hourly contracts involve the Upwork Time Tracker, a software you will need to install on your device that will keep track of the hours you worked by also tacking screenshots, measuring your keyboard activity and telling your client which software you were using while working for them. On the plus side, Upwork says that using their Time Tracker guarantees that ‘an hour worked is an hour paid’.
How to get started on Upwork as a client
The funds will only be released to the freelancer when you approve the payment and this can be done either at the very end of the project or with several milestones. For hourly contracts you will have the option to keep an eye on what your freelancers were working on while tracking the time, allowing you to raise alarm should hours be tracked that weren’t actually spent working on your project. Should you be particularly happy with a freelancer’s performance, you can also pay a bonus on top of the agreed amount.
Freelancers that are attracted to your project posting have the option to look closely at the company details, feedback provided by freelancers, and payment record before applying to work for that business or individual. So to attract the very best freelancers, your profile, feedback and good standing are as important as those of the freelancer.
Fees and additional services
A few months ago, Upwork raised its service fee for new contracts from 10% to 20%. However, you will not always get charged 20%. After the first $500 earned through a client, the fee drops to 10% and then 5% once total billings with a client get above $10,000. Please do keep in mind that this applies to each client. This means that for one client you get charged 20% and another, because you exceeded $500 in total billings with that particular client, it is 10%.
Should you manage to land a place in Upwork’s Top Rated programme by fulfilling the criteria mentioned here, not only will clients be made aware of your high-quality work, further perks, such as premium customer support, also await. As a freelancer you can also become part of an agency through which you can get work without having to apply to clients’ project postings yourself.
Upwork provides a few additional services for clients. There is a service called Upwork Enterprise in which they help you find the people you want for your business or project. It’s certainly cheaper than hiring a HR Headhunter, and with a talent pool that covers the globe, a company looking for the right person is more than likely to get them through the Upwork platform. Upwork has an impressive list of companies using their services for their recruiting process.
Clients can set up a bank transfer, Credit Card payment or a Paypal system that authorises automatic deductions.
Pros and Cons for freelancers using Upwork
• Interaction message set up between client and freelancer is quick and easy
• The hourly rate system is simple to set up
• The sheer amount of work is nothing short of amazing. Thousands of jobs to go through
• No restrictions to the type of projects and skills that can be offered
• The 20% fee is a killer. You need to factor this Upwork cut into your rate, which might not always be possible.
• Lack of feedback when your bid fails. You remain clueless, which means trying to work out whether it was the bid price or your lack of suitability to do the job.
The design of the website and the immense amount of available projects for all kinds of skill sets make Upwork a joy to work with. The high fees borne by freelancers, however, make this freelance platform slightly less attractive, especially when looking for smaller one-off projects.
Pros and Cons for clients using Upwork
• You have the ability to set the project parameters – skill level of the freelancer and price range
• You can really get jobs done very cheaply
• Choice also means that it will cost you time to filter through many applicants to find the right one
Using Upwork as a client is uncomplicated and you can use the features you need without being distracted because other features keep on popping up. The Top Rated badge will help you select the crème de la crème of the freelancers amongst your choice of many.
– a Freelancer at Work