There are a couple of websites that often dominate discussions around home working: Upwork and FlexJobs.
Both are widely advertised and heavily used – and can prompt passionate debate. They each have plenty of fans and plenty of detractors.
At HomeWorkingClub, we have extensive experience with both platforms. Once you’ve read through this guide, you’ll be in a good position to decide which of the sites is most worth investing your time and energy in.
- Upwork vs FlexJobs: The Basics
- The Differences Between Upwork and FlexJobs
- Number of Jobs
- What About Freelance Work on FlexJobs
- SO…Which Site Is Best for YOU?
- Just Starting Out In Freelancing?
Upwork vs FlexJobs: The Basics
The most crucial thing to understand is that although both Upwork and FlexJobs are frequently mentioned in the home working world, they are in fact very different sites.
So let’s look at exactly what each site is:
Upwork is a freelance job board, where clients can post job requirements / gigs, and independent freelance workers can bid to work on them.
FlexJobs is a subscription-based job board that lists “remote, work from home, and flexible jobs” from various sources across the web.
So, yes, both sites are job boards, but the similarities largely end there. The differences are much more significant.
The Differences Between Upwork and FlexJobs
- Upwork is intended entirely for freelancers. While you will find (lots) of work you can do “remotely” / from home, it is all freelance / self-employed work.
- FlexJobs lists all kinds of flexible jobs. While there are some freelance positions on the site, it’s primarily aimed at people looking for a more traditional job – i.e. being employed by a single company.
- Upwork is much more than just a job board. It’s a full platform for freelance workers. It handles applications, job offers, client communications, payments, feedback, and much more.
- FlexJobs does much less. It’s primary purpose is sourcing job listings, which you then apply to direct with the companies involved. That said, FlexJobs also provides access to a wide range of courses and career resources as part of its (inexpensive) membership.
Next, we will compare Upwork and FlexJobs in some more specific ways.
You can get some level of free access to both Upwork and FlexJobs. There’s nothing to stop you accessing the sites, reading some of their resources, and having a scan through the available jobs.
But to do anything useful with the sites, you will need to be prepared to hand over some cash.
It’s impossible to strike a direct comparison here, because the payment models are completely different.
Upwork charges you in various different ways. While you can create a profile and browse jobs for free, you need to pay for Upwork Connects in order to apply for anything. As and when you land some work, Upwork also takes a commission on your earnings (on a sliding scale from 20% down to 5%, depending on how much you bill each client).
Take a look at our Upwork fees guide to find out more.
FlexJobs simply charges for membership, which gives you full access to all the job listings (non members can only see the basics, without enough information to apply).
There are no fees to apply for any jobs. The site offers weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual membership. An annual membership (at full price) works out to $4.16 per month, but there are frequent offers that bring this price down.
Read our full FlexJobs review for full details.
Number of Jobs
If you do a FlexJobs vs Upwork comparison on number of jobs alone, Upwork “wins” by a long way.
At the time of writing, there are:
- 215,949 open jobs on Upwork.
- 29,914 open jobs on FlexJobs.
But it’s rather missing the point to make this comparison. As already explained, these are very different platforms. Plenty of the jobs on Upwork are just short, one-off tasks. Generally speaking, many of the opportunities of FlexJobs are closer to being full-time opportunities.
What About Freelance Work on FlexJobs?
One thing that adds to confusion around FlexJobs and Upwork is that several lazy bloggers have published reviews of FlexJobs, looking at it merely from a freelancer’s perspective.
Some freelance roles ARE advertised on FlexJobs – but it’s not the primary purpose of that platform. A search using “freelance” as a keyword generates listings for around 4500 jobs.
FlexJobs is a site intended for flexible and remote workers of all kinds – again, this is a reason why you can’t directly compare it to Upwork.
SO…Which Site Is Best for YOU?
If you’re looking for work, you could easily spend hours or days ploughing through the listings on either FlexJobs or Upwork. So which should you concentrate on?
Here are some scenarios – hopefully one will fit with you’re situation:
If You’re Just Starting Out in Freelancing:
Start out with Upwork. You will find a huge selection of gigs, including those relevant to “entry-level” workers.
If You’re Looking for a Full-Time (or Part-Time) Remote Job:
Sign up to FlexJobs. Upwork doesn’t generally have any listings from companies looking to hire employees, in a conventional sense. FlexJobs is a better choice if you’re looking for an employer / employee relationship.
If You’re a Freelancer Looking for More Clients:
Upwork is probably the best port of call, but don’t ignore FlexJobs either, especially if you’re an established freelancer with plenty of experience. More and more freelance roles are finding their way onto FlexJobs these days, and you’d likely only need to score one of them to more than justify your membership fee.
We hope this article has helped you to understand the fundamental differences between Upwork and FlexJobs – and also shown you why it makes no sense to try to do a direct “vs” comparison.
We have plenty of information on both of these sites – and many more – elsewhere on HomeWorkingClub. Here are some suggested starting points:
Just Starting Out In Freelancing?
For a comprehensive step-by-step guide to getting started in the world of online freelancing, why not check out our course? It includes an in-depth module on mastering the intricacies of Upwork.
Here’s what one recent student had to say about it:
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.