8 Best Upwork Alternatives for Freelancing

Are you looking for Upwork alternatives? For freelancers looking for projects, Upwork is the first platform that comes to mind, and with good reason: it’s the largest freelance marketplace to date.

But popularity doesn’t make it the best choice. Expensive fees and fierce competition have spurred freelancers to look elsewhere.

While most of us may find Upwork to be a fantastic choice, it isn’t the only option. You’ll find other platforms that offer lower fees while hosting vetted projects and accepting a wider variety of professions. If you are looking for better options than Upwork for freelance jobs, here are 8 of the best Upwork alternatives today.

Why seek Upwork alternatives?

Upwork website

1. Upwork seems to favor the hirer

Upwork’s bidding process favors the hirer more than its freelancers. This means talented professionals may have to undercut themselves to win projects in a bidding war. If you’re looking to charge premium rates, Upwork may not be the best option for you.

2. Fees are hefty

You won’t only lose a percentage of your total pay on Upwork; you also need to dole out cash for sending out more than ten proposals every month. Each proposal, which Upwork calls “connects”, costs $0.15 and is sold in bundles of 10 to 80.

Upwork also charges a sliding fee of 20% for the first $500 billed with the client (though this fee reduces to 5% once you’ve exceeded $10,000 worth of lifetime billings). These exorbitant fees are mostly the reason why most freelancers seek Upwork alternatives.

3. Getting your first client can be difficult

There is a lot of competition on Upwork, and I mean a lot. Trying to land your first project can be very frustrating. Most freelancers in Upwork will have to sign up for more than 15 gigs to score a client – and that takes a lot of hard work. For freelancers looking to bag a quick client, Upwork alternatives that serve as matchmakers are the best choice.

The 8 Best Upwork Alternative for Freelancers

1. FlexJobs

FlexJobs website

Why it’s better than Upwork: 

Upwork has its fair share of untrustworthy clients because of one reason: they don’t vet companies. FlexJobs hand-screens every posting while giving you access to more than 32,000 flexible jobs from over 49,000 companies.

What is FlexJobs? 

FlexJobs, one of the best Upwork competitors, is a subscription service focused on freelance, part-time, and flexible opportunities. All of the platform’s available projects are telecommuting jobs.

If you’ve been in Upwork long enough, chances are, you’ve already been victimized by shady companies who won’t pay you fairly for your work. FlexJobs checks every opportunity before it’s posted on the website to create a safe and secure environment for its freelancers.

The website claims that its research team spends more than 100 combined hours daily to review all companies and jobs. With an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau, I’m inclined to believe them.

This safety comes with a price, however. The platform has several membership options to choose from. If you’re not satisfied with the platform’s service quality, you can cancel your subscription and request a refund within 30 days.

Pricing: $14.95 per month or $49.95 per year. A subscription gives you access to unlimited jobs, free skills testing, export job search resources and tips, email alerts for new jobs, and a personalized portfolio.

2. SolidGigs

SolidGigs website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

Upwork receives thousands of new job postings every day, and while most may consider this as one of its greatest strengths, it is also one of its most significant weaknesses.

Freelancers looking for a high-quality job will have to sift through thousands of entries to find one that’s perfect for them. Unfortunately, time is a freelancer’s currency.

SolidGigs only sends you the best 1% of job matches from multiple sources, so you spend less time searching and more time working.

What is SolidGigs? 

SolidGigs offers freelancers just that – a list of solid gigs that are tailored to their preferences. “Trade your worst clients for some of the best companies in the world,” their website says.

SolidGigs is a freelance jobs platform that offers a more personal approach to its job offerings. Instead of showing you a slew of available jobs, it handpicks the best jobs available on the internet while considering your preferences.

Since you’re only shown the best gigs available, you spend less time looking for jobs and more time working, which ultimately means more money for you.

Apart from listing available jobs, SolidGigs offers a comprehensive suite of tools, courses, and resources to help freelancers enhance their skills while attracting and retaining the best clients.

Pricing: $2 for the first month and $19 every succeeding month.

3. FreeUp

FreeUp website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

If you find scoring projects difficult in Upwork, FreeUp is one of the best Upwork alternatives for you. If you’re looking to make money online quickly, this freelance marketplace prides itself on its fast hiring process. Once you’re accepted into the platform, you can chat with a client for 10-15 minutes before getting hired.

Unlike other platforms where you’re mostly left to fend for yourself, FreeUp is a social community. Here, you can meet, interact, and learn from other freelancers through online group chats.

What is FreeUp? 

Just like others on this list, FreeUp is a marketplace where freelancers can offer services to clients around the world. The platform vets all freelancers before joining the network, but the business relationship is kept only between the client and freelancer.

However, do note that the platform only hires the top 1% of freelancers, so unless you’re exceptional at what you do, getting in may prove to be a challenge.

Pricing: FreeUp skims off 15% for every hour and fixed rate, with a $2 minimum for every hour billed.

4. Guru

Guru website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

Guru offers better subscription plans with lower fees than Upwork’s pricey 20% service rate. If you’re looking for Upwork alternatives that can provide you a more robust set of tools without sky-high prices, Guru may be the best choice.

What is Guru? 

If you’re a professional with lots of experience, Guru can be one of the best alternatives to Upwork for freelancers. This freelance marketplace, which has been around for more than a decade, targets experienced workers rather than entry-level freelancers. It comes with robust tools and features to help you win projects and offer top quality work.

Just like Upwork, Guru operates on a bidder system. Once a client accepts your bid, you create an agreement that dictates your payment terms. You may choose to get paid by task, per hour, through recurring payments, or in milestones.

Pricing: The free account offers you ten free bids per month, but you may opt for the platform’s various paid membership plans that range from $11.95 to $49.95 each month.

Paid plans will give you more bids while also reducing Guru’s job fee, where it skims off 5-9% from your payments. We’ve done our homework and found this to be notably lower than Upwork’s service fees.

5. Outsourcely

Oursourcely website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

Very few job platforms allow freelancers to keep 100% of their earnings, and Outsourcely is one of them. Employers pay 100% of Outsourcely’s fees in this freelancer-friendly platform – a real breath of fresh air for freelancers who feel victimized by Upwork’s exorbitant fees.

What is Outsourcely?

Looking for better options than Upwork for freelance jobs? Just like Upwork, this freelance marketplace aims to connect businesses with remote workers around the world.

With a pool of over 300,000 professionals and a variety of unique selling points that can blow its competition out of the water, Outsourcely is one of the best sites like Upwork for freelancers.

For starters, Outsourcely has zero fees and makes most of its money from the client-side. While it’s completely free to use the platform, you may opt to subscribe to its advanced membership option for priority support, top search results and job application placement, and the ability to make voice and video calls.

Oursourcely puts a premium on long-term working relationships, so if you’re looking for a quick gig, you may be better off using other freelancing platforms.

Pricing: Oursourcely has zero fees, which means you get to keep 100% of your hard-earned money. If you’re looking to get premium placement on search results, you may sign up for the paid membership for $10 a month.

See Related: Mistakes to Avoid When You Hire Freelance Lawyers

6. 99designs

99designs website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

If you’re a graphic designer or artist, 99designs may be one of the best apps like Upwork for you. While it’s easy to undercut yourself in Upwork just to win clients, 99designs assures that you get paid what you’re worth based on your skill level.

What is 99designs? 

When it comes to graphic design, 99designs has a lot to offer. If you’re a graphic artist using Upwork for a long time, it’s easy to feel lost in the noise and, at times, misunderstood. You may feel like you’re getting underpaid or that your work is often undervalued.

As a platform made exclusively for design, 99designs understands a graphic designer’s problems right to the core with a platform that promises to showcase their work in the best way possible while paying them what they deserve.

Unlike Upwork that works on a bidding system, 99designs evaluates each freelancer and assigns them a rank, which helps them get paid what they’re worth. Clients may either work directly with a freelancer or hold a contest. The platform claims that designers get paid more for their work on 99designs than on other platforms.

Pricing: The platform charges a $100 introduction fee spread out over the client’s first $500 charge. It also skims off a platform fee for each project that ranges between 15% for entry-level and 5% for top-level freelancers.

See Related: 99designs vs fiverr: What is Better for Design?

7. Toptal

Toptal website

Why it’s better than Upwork: 

Working at Toptal means you’re working with top tier professionals. As a platform specializing in software development, having a trusted network of peers equates to a faster ramp-up time on the best available technologies.

It also means you get to leverage the platform’s premium network and customer base, with possibilities of landing freelance projects from big names.

What is Toptal? 

With claims of hiring only the top 3% of freelance talent, Toptal is one of the best comparable sites to Upwork. While it mainly specializes in software developers, designers, product managers, finance experts, and project managers may also join Toptal exclusive freelance network.

All freelancers must go through a rigorous 5-step screening process to join Toptal (the interview takes around a month to complete). While entry might be difficult, those lucky enough to get accepted get access to high rates and premium customers.

Unlike Upwork, Toptal offers a strong sense of community where freelancers can communicate and collaborate. Here, you can discuss topics and learn from other “Toptalers” to improve your skills and knowledge.

Pricing: It’s entirely free to join Toptal as a freelancer. Currently, there is no available information about how much Toptal skims off a freelancer’s total pay.

See Related: Toptal vs Upwork: What Is Better?

8. Textbroker

Textbroker website

Why it’s better than Upwork:

Writers in Upwork are mostly at the mercy of their competition. If you’re looking to score clients, it’s almost necessary to undercut your rates. Textbroker is a freelance writing platform that fully understands how a writer works. This means that the platform pays you fairly with features that help you grow.

What is Textbroker? 

Textbroker is a content writing website where clients can submit content requests. Freelancers can then select any of these assignments to work on for a pre-determined rate, or work directly with a client and set their rates.

Textbroker hires writers from different levels, so whether you’re a beginner level writer or a professional wordsmith, you’re free to join while getting the pay you deserve.

If you’re wondering how to make extra money, working on this platform is a great way to spend spare time. After a concise writing sample, Textbroker then assigns you a level to determine your initial payment per word count.

You may be paid 0.7 cents/word at the lowest level and 5.0 cents/word at the highest level. If you’re working on a DirectOrder basis, you can set your rate per word regardless of your quality level.

Pricing: It’s entirely free to join Textbroker. Currently, there is no information available about the platform’s margins.

See Related: 9 Best Freelance Writing Jobs | Earn from Writing

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