Upwork Top Rated: What It Means and How To Get It

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Upwork is a massive freelance platform with hundreds of thousands of jobs available at any one time.

But there are also MANY freelancers competing for them, which means standing out can give you a serious head start. One way to do this is to gain Upwork Top Rated status.

In this article, we take a look at what’s involved in achieving this coveted status on Upwork.

Why Have a Rating System in The First Place?

As a platform with so many active freelancers, Upwork needs a way to enable clients to find the right freelancer for their job.

One very effective way to do this is by placing highly visible badges on the profiles of freelancers that meet certain criteria.

This has not replaced all of the other metrics such as Job Success Scores or the Upwork Responsiveness Score but it does provide a very fast way for clients using the marketplace to find the top Upwork profiles.

What Badges Are Available?

Upwork badges

The first badge available to new freelancers on the platform is the Rising Talent badge. This is designed to give new users who perform well an initial boost, rather than to be a permanent status. It is relatively easy to obtain an Upwork Rising Talent badge, as we discuss in this separate guide.

Once you move beyond Rising Talent, you enter a phase where your Job Success Score is your primary distinguishing factor. This is where many freelancers become “stuck,” and one of the reasons why we want to help you understand how to gain the Top Rated badge.

Gaining Top Rated Upwork status was the primary goal for freelancers for a long time. It is a clear sign that you do great work. The fact that Upwork has subsequently added two new badges does not change this!

Top Rated Plus and Expert-Vetted are badges that only a select group of freelancers will ever achieve. This is sometimes due more to the nature of your work than the quality of it. So don’t place too much emphasis on trying to get these badges.

What does Upwork Top Rated Really Mean?

This badge means that you are within the top 10% of talent on Upwork. It is based primarily on client feedback, and the reputation that you have built for yourself on the platform.

Achieving this status is not easy but it will definitely help you to boost your profile on the platform, and become even more successful.

Upwork Top Rated badge on a user profile

How To Ensure Your Account Becomes a Top Rated Upwork Account

Sadly there is no way to absolutely guarantee you will become and remain Top Rated since it depends on your Job Success Score.

However, you can certainly improve your chances by always doing outstanding work and getting to know what metrics Upwork uses to determine if you qualify.

Qualifications Required to be Top Rated

  • Your profile must be 100% complete.
  • Your availability must be up-to-date.
  • Your first hire on the platform must have taken place at least 90 days ago.
  • Your account must show some form of activity during the last 90 days.
  • Your current Job Success Score must be above 90%.
  • You will need to have had either Rising Talent Status or a Job Success Score of at least 90% for a minimum of 13 out of the last previous 16 weeks.
  • You must have 12 earnings of at least $1,000.
  • Your account must be in good standing with no recent holds.

This may seem like quite a lot to consider, but you can keep track of these items on the “My Stats” page.

Knowing what is holding you back from receiving the badge will make it that much easier to focus your efforts and overcome the obstacles that stand in your way

Benefits of Top Rated Status

Most people are so focused on getting the badge on their profile that they forget that other benefits come with being Upwork Top Rated:

  • Reduced fees on Featured Jobs.
  • Faster payments on hourly contracts thanks to the elimination of the five-day security hold.
  • Invitations to submit proposals to jobs assisted by Upwork Talent Specialists, thus saving you connects and getting you even more exposure.
  • You receive a “Job Digest” email featuring jobs based on your skills and job history.
  • You have access to premium customer support.
  • You actually get more control over your Job Success Score, as you have the ability to occasionally request that client feedback be removed from your profile!

How is Top Rated Plus Different from Top Rated?

The primary difference between the two is based on the type and size of the contracts you complete.

To become a Top Rated Plus Upwork freelancer you must work on high-budget or long-term jobs. This is why not every freelancer can necessarily aspire to Top Rated Plus status.

The benefits behind the scenes are identical to those of Top Rated freelancers so the primary motivation to switch, if possible, is really down to how it looks on your profile.

Upwork Top Rated Plus badge on a user profile.

How Hard is Upwork Top Rated Plus to Achieve as a Freelancer?

Earning Top Rated Plus status on Upwork isn’t difficult, as such. However, it does require you to perform consistently on the platform over a prolonged period, and to maintain a certain level of income.

First off, you must first earn and maintain Top Rated status. In addition, you must have worked on or be working on a large contract within the last 12 months with no negative outcomes. You must also have total earnings of at least $10k in the last 12 months.

How Important Is Achieving Top Rated or Top Rated Plus Status?

Although we have dedicated an entire article to becoming Upwork Top Rated, the reality is that you don’t really need this status to be successful on the platform.

There are people on Upwork with Job Success Scores in the low 80% range that have made over $200k on the platform.

The reality is that a badge or status is not going to make or break your freelance career. Working towards these badges is a worthy goal, but not an end unto itself.

Ultimately it is the quality of your work and your personal dedication to excellence that will determine how successful you are.

What Next

If you found this information useful then you should also check out our Upwork Tips for Success.

If you’re just starting out on your freelance career, our Freelance Kickstarter course includes detailed lessons that will help get you started on Upwork – covering everything from separating out good clients from bad, to how to word your pitches.

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