With millions of registered freelancers, and around 100,000 gigs on offer at any one time, Upwork is the biggest and best-known marketplace for online freelance work. But there are plenty of other sites like Upwork, all of which can provide you with alternative sources of work.
This is particularly relevant nowadays, for a couple of reasons.
Why you May Need Upwork Alternatives
Firstly, Upwork’s fee structure causes some freelancers to turn away and look for Upwork alternatives. This situation escalated back in 2019 when Upwork began to charge freelancers for the “Connects” required to apply for gigs.
Upwork fees can grab a fair proportion of your income, especially on lower-value freelance gigs, and there ARE some cheaper alternatives out there.
Not Gaining Access to Upwork
Secondly, we increasingly hear from people who aren’t managing to get accepted for Upwork, receiving the dreaded “Upwork profile not approved” email.
This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the quality of a new Upwork profile. It’s just that – at times – the site is oversubscribed with a particular type of freelancer. We’ve heard from several perfectly credible writers turned away recently, for example.
With this in mind, this article lists some other sites like Upwork. You should find it useful – whether you’re defecting from Upwork, or simply want some additional places to find freelance work.
Alternative Sites Like Upwork
Freelancer.com is another of the jobs sites like Upwork that works as a bidder site. You set up a profile and list your skillsets. You can buy membership plans to get additional monthly bids and other perks.
To find a job, you search the system yourself. However, you can set up filters, saved searches and alerts so that the right projects effectively present themselves to you. Transactions go through the system and are secured via encryption.
When you see a project you like, you make a bid for it, defining the price yourself. You can find fixed price and hourly rate jobs. In addition to bidding on projects, you can join contests and offer your work as a service provider.
As with most big freelance platforms, high fees, fake projects and clients who are unwilling to pay for quality are all hazards you will need to be wary of.
We were honoured to interview the CEO of Freelancer.com for our podcast. You can find the episode here.
If you want to avoid scams, the vetting of jobs before they get posted makes FlexJobs a refreshing alternative to Upwork. FlexJobs is primarily about remote roles, but freelance opportunities pop up to.
You have to pay for access to the curated list of remote, home-based, freelance and flexible roles but there are a variety of subscription options. You can read more about FlexJobs pricing here.
Once you subscribe and create your profile, you can search the job listings for work and apply for jobs that meet your criteria. FlexJobs offers skills tests, email alerts, and expert tips and resources to help you be more successful.
It is important to note that FlexJobs is not in any way involved in the hiring or paying of workers. In fact, most jobs on the platform have their own separate application process.
If you want more info, check out our detailed FlexJobs review.
PeoplePerHour is another well-known site in the freelance world. It’s a similar platform to Upwork, and people often have similar complaints about high-fees and dodgy clients. Contrary to the name, PPH offers both hourly and “per project” gigs.
The system uses artificial intelligence to match freelancers with projects that suit their skill set. This makes it a good generalist site for people who offer multiple services, since the site claims to provide clients with freelancers who are “experts in every skill imaginable.”
Like Upwork, with PPH you provide proposals on projects and quote your desired fee. You can send 15 proposals per month for free and buy credits to quote on more.
Through the site, the client places a deposit on the project and then pays in full upon completion. The money is protected in escrow until the client releases it.
Project streams on the site also allow for open communication and project management directly through the platform. As with Upwork, clients rate your work and produce reviews, which then appear on your profile and form part of your online reputation as a freelancer.
If you want more info, we have a detailed report of PeoplePerHour from someone who works regularly on the platform.
Another one of the popular sites like Upwork that operates on a bidder system, on Guru it’s free to create a freelancer account. You create a profile, jobs get posted to the site, and you submit your price quotes to the open jobs you are qualified for.
When someone accepts your bid, you create what is called an “agreement” in the system. This dictates payment terms. You can be paid by hour, by task, in milestones, or even using recurring payments. Payment happens securely through the system, with the ability to confirm when a project is funded.
The guru.com payment system is a little convoluted. It’s not a simple case of Guru taking a percentage of your earnings. (Although it’s fair to say that with Upwork’s 2019 fee changes, Upwork is beginning to use a similar model).
It’s free to use Guru, and you get 10 job bids per month. Then there are various paid membership plans ranging from $11.95 to $49.95 per month. These plans offer more bids and can also reduce the Guru job fee, where 5-9% is taken from your project payments. This is notably lower than Upwork’s highest 20% rate. You can see more about Guru’s membership plans here.
If you’re looking for job sites like Upwork, but would prefer not to be involved in endless bidding wars, you may like Hubstaff Talent’s subtly different approach. The site connects individual freelancers and agencies with the companies that need their services.
When a company likes your profile and listed skills, they can start a conversation with you. You can also review and apply to job postings yourself.
Although Hubstaff Talent lists individual gigs, it’s not as focussed on that as Upwork. It’s marketed to businesses who want to “build a remote team,” so in some respects, it’s a little closer to a job site.
The best news? Hubstaff Talent is free for the freelancer to use. You simply make a profile, which lists your details, availability and skills. You can also link to other profiles and upload your resumé. You then get an email when someone wants to talk to you about providing services.
You can also optionally use Hubstaff Talent to track your time on a project. Some clients may request it, some may not.
Even if a client uses Hubstaff’s software to manage communications and issue payments, the agreement is between the freelancer and the client. Hubstaff does not provide escrow accounts and is not involved in any payment issues which might arise.
We have a review of Hubstaff Talent here. It’s important to note that it’s not a site that’s anywhere near the scale of the more well-known Upwork alternatives, so you won’t find tens of thousands of gigs, although we’ve seen an increase in volume year-on-year. Comments also suggest it’s not entirely immune from sketchy clients and scammers.
Unlike Upwork, Freeup is not a job board, but it can be a good alternative for freelancers looking for work.
Freeup vets the freelancers that apply to work with them, looking for the top 1% of freelancers. The focus is on skill sets rather than services.
When a work request is received, Freeup suggests freelancers to the client and enables them to interview the freelancers. Freeup handles payment for freelancers and charges the client a 15% commission on top of the freelancer’s hourly rate.
Although this platform saves you the effort of bidding for work, you will need to do well during the vetting process and interviews in order to get work.
If you like the idea of performing small one-off tasks, then Fiverr is the popular place to be. It is one of the best-known Upwork alternatives. People do increasingly use Fiverr to offer larger (high value) services too.
Freelancers use the site to deliver everything from voiceover work to design to data entry. If you can do it, you can offer it as a service.
You set up an account for free, define what you do and then get notified when people submit an order. When someone contacts you, you can communicate directly through the system, as with Upwork.
Payment gets transferred to you when each order is completed. The name Fiverr is a little misleading these days, as you can set the price for each of your services to anything between $5 and $10,000, and also offer different versions of services at different prices.
With LinkedIn being the epicenter of professional connections in the digital world, it made sense for LinkedIn to start their own freelancer service. Basically, the site helps people to find freelancers who are perfect for their projects.
This Upwork alternative is currently only available to those in the US. That said, LinkedIn is making other such services more widely available, such as LinkedIn Open for Business.
LinkedIn members make a request for a project they need to complete. You then get an email if that request matches your experience. You send back a proposal, and then the prospect can see your full LinkedIn profile. Your regular LinkedIn profile and ProFinder profile are connected, meaning changes to your regular profile are reflected in the ProFinder profile.
You need to apply to the ProFinder service, which you can do here. You will be allowed to send 10 proposals for free. This is designed to let you get a feel for the service. After that you need to upgrade your account to LinkedIn Premium for Business in order to continue using ProFinder.
Here’s another one of the Upwork alternatives that focuses on connecting workers to long-term remote jobs, rather than just gigs.
This platform is geared for people looking for full-time work. The site offers remote job postings from a wide array of fields, from accounting to software development to insurance.
You simply create a free profile that outlines your work experience and skills. Your profile then becomes searchable by businesses.
The site seems to target businesses in the startup realm. You can also apply directly to the remote jobs. Businesses can communicate with you via private chat or email, and the site also offers an interviewing platform with browser-to-browser video or voice calling.
When you start work, you get paid directly and keep 100 percent of the pay. This is in stark contrast to Upwork, where freelancers pay up to 20% in commission. On Outsourcely, companies pay to use the system to find workers.
Toptal focuses on targeting businesses who need highly-skilled freelancers. They offer work for software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers.
Toptal prides itself on a very rigorous 5-step screening process which means that they only accept the top 3% of freelance applicants.
As a result, Toptal charges their customers fairly high rates for providing vetted professionals. You can see more about Toptal rates here. This should translate into higher pay for freelancers, but Toptal does not reveal its margins.
Another advantage is that Toptal does the work of matching freelancers to clients. This can save freelancers a lot of time and effort.
If you have the skills and experience but do not want to invest time and effort into locating clients then this could be a good option to look in to.
ServiceScape is a newer site like Upwork that connects freelancers to businesses needing their services.
You set up a profile that lists your skills, which can then be browsed by ServiceScape’s client base. As you work with different clients, you have the chance for your rating and visibility in the system to increase as clients provide feedback.
If you hate the idea of bidding, this is another site where you might feel more at home. Profiles tend to feature predefined projects with default (adjustable) prices. Clients can then elect to buy these pre-set services. However, the system can also handle custom projects.
ServiceScape does not have any membership fees but it does take a (rather staggering) 50% commission. Something you need to consider when setting your prices.
The site directly advises that you can gain new clients or a wider array of clients by setting prices lower, which can boost your ratings. As you become more established, you can increase your prices incrementally. In reality, this is very much how the freelance world works!
This is a crowdsourcing job site which is focused exclusively on graphic and web design.
Designers are vetted on trade skill and assigned a rank when they apply. This is designed to help ensure fair pay on the platform.
You can make money by working directly with clients or by winning design contests. The site is designed to help freelancers by creating visibility and a vibrant community. Emphasis is also placed on creating long-term relationships between clients and freelancers.
There’s a $100 introduction fee for each new client and a 5-15% platform fee on each project.
If you want to keep your work local, TaskRabbit connects people who need work done with freelancers in their area. This makes it distinctly different to some of the other job sites like Upwork.
TaskRabbit jobs are typically manual labor tasks like moving and packing, heavy lifting, handyman work or furniture assembly.
Tasks vary in pay based on what is required, but they tend to run to around $50 to $100, according to TaskRabbit’s homepage. Freelancers receive the hourly rate that they establish for a task since TaskRabbit charges the person hiring the freelancer a service fee.
TaskRabbit mainly operates via an app. People can post jobs and review freelancer profiles through the app by skills, previous job reviews and prices. As a worker, you get notified about jobs nearby, and can select the ones that work for you. Payment goes through the app, too.
14. ProBlogger Jobs
This is another niche job board, but it provides a good alternative for freelancers looking for blog related jobs. This is particularly useful as there are reports of writers being turned down by Upwork and other job boards due to the sheer volume of freelance writers applying.
Freelancers do not have to pay to access the jobs listed on ProBlogger nor do they pay any commission. ProBlogger makes money by charging the clients to post jobs.
While this model does not provide as much safety as a board that screens jobs, it does serve to limit scams more than sites where it is free to post.
Although this is a no-frills job board, it is also a no-cost alternative that gives you access to writing jobs, especially during periods when Upwork is no longer accepting new writers.
We have a review of ProBlogger Jobs here if you are interested in learning more.
Bidvine is similar to TaskRabbit, but it currently only serves the UK. It also allows people to offer a wide array of services to people in their area, from web design to personal training to private lessons to photography.
You can create a profile for free at Bidvine. Preferences in the system allow you to select what type of customers you are looking for.
You can review jobs and bid yourself, or set up the system to send bids automatically. The cost to bid will depend on the service and the job size.
Payment for work done is handled directly with the client.
Unlike many other systems, Bidvine allows you to communicate with clients via phone or email, if you wish.
As you can see, the internet is home to plenty of sites like Upwork, each offering different commission schemes, remote working styles and tasks to perform. If you’ve been wondering what the freelance world looks like outside of Upwork, be sure check out some of these sites.
- New to freelancing? Our new course will remove all the confusion and overwhelm and give you a clear plan for getting started. Check out all the details here. You can also read an impartial review here.
- If you’re struggling to pick up the kinds of jobs you want, take a look at Jobscan, for help with levelling up your resumé and LinkedIn profile (we have a full review here).
- If you want some tips to help you gain success on the freelance boards, this freelance tips article will help.
Michelle Lovrine Honeyager is a freelance writer who has written features for a number of consumer and industry print magazines, as well as stories for niche websites, digital lifestyle magazines and general news sites.