Compare 8 Upwork Competitors [With Real Freelancer Insights]

8 min read

In business since 2013, Upwork is one of the most well-known freelance marketplaces. With its lengthy tenure, Upwork now uses its proprietary data obtained from freelancer and client outcomes to continue improving its matching algorithms.

The platform offers clients space to list jobs, as well as browse through freelancer profiles in a wide range of categories. Freelancers with varying skill sets create profiles and bid on jobs by creating targeted proposals

If you’ve had great experiences already, you might be inclined to keep selling freelance services or hiring freelancers using Upwork. But perhaps you’ve discovered some of the downsides. Here are some of the top complaints Upwork users have shared:

From Upwork freelancers:

  • Poor pay + steep 20% site commission

  • High competition makes it difficult to get hired

  • Time consuming account setup + project proposal preparation

From companies hiring Upwork freelancers:

  • Costly for both the company and contractor

  • Unsatisfactory dispute resolution

  • Freelancers changing agreed-upon rates

  • Issues with time tracking functionality

If you’re looking for the best Upwork alternatives for your unique needs amongst the plethora of freelance marketplaces, look no further.  We’ve rounded up some other options for you — along with the pros and cons based on insights from real user reviews.

1. MVP Match — Network of Skilled Tech Talent

At MVP Match, we specialize in connecting freelancers in skilled technology disciplines like product management, design, and engineering with trailblazing teams building next-generation digital products.

A unique player among freelance platforms, we’re more than just a freelancer marketplace. 

We’ve created a network of highly skilled talent across the digital product development space. Through our platform and services, technology startups and brands are sourcing top talent to scale their remote teams.

Pros for freelancers:

  • Personalized team helps you find jobs that fit you

  • Fair market value for your services

  • Quick hiring process

Cons for freelancers:

  • Rigorous screening and testing processes — accepting only the top 3% of freelancers

  • Not for the right platform for beginners

Pros for businesses:

  • Highly skilled freelancers

  • Hard-to-find talent handpicked for your company

  • Quick talent sourcing

  • 2-week trial period — requires a low commitment to start

Cons for businesses

  • Only for businesses able to invest in skilled freelancers

  • Not for one-off freelance gigs

2. Fiverr — Affordable, Odd Jobs 

If you’re looking for fixed-price projects at affordable rates, look no further than Fiverr’s services for as low as — you guessed it — 5 dollars. Fiverr freelancers offer many digital marketing services from graphic design, social media, web development, web design and more. And that’s just the start!

Skilled specialists may find it difficult to get paid what they’re worth on this platform, though for amateurs and new freelancers, it may be a good option.

Is Upwork better than Fiverr? Upwork is a better platform than Fiverr if you’re a client looking to make a job posting or a freelancer looking to bid on jobs. Fiverr’s platform is geared towards clients looking to browse through freelancers’ specific service offerings. 

Pros for freelancers:

  • Low commitment

  • No applying to jobs needed; interested clients will reach out to you

  • Available in any country or region in the world

  • Easier to set up than Upwork

Cons for freelancers:

  • Frequent spam messages or scam attempts

  • New accounts don’t get featured, making it difficult to get jobs and reviews

  • 20% fees taken from freelance sellers

  • Lack of seller support in dispute resolution

Pros for businesses:

  • Affordable services

  • Lots of categories

  • Easy to search

Cons for businesses:

  • Poor customer support or dispute resolution

  • Percentage of sellers with trained experience are low

  • Deception amongst sellers resulting in low-quality results

  • Language barriers may make it hard for parties to communicate

3. Freeup — Pre-Vetted Marketplace for E-Commerce Industry

The Freeup platform specializes in e-commerce, though it is not entirely exclusive. Freeup offers companies looking for vetted freelance providers a chance to describe exactly what they are looking for and get matched on-demand.

This model eliminates the time it takes to search through freelancer profiles or sort through applications. Companies receive an email with a candidate to interview, then decide whether to hire or move on to the next. 

Pros for freelancers:

  • Opportunities for consistent work 

  • Great for freelancers in e-commerce

Cons for freelancers:

  • Vetting processes eliminate many from using the platform

  • Issues with support

Pros for businesses:

  • Talent pool consists of only high-quality freelancers

  • Fast solution to fill your work needs

Cons for businesses:

  • Unable to make your own freelancer selection

  • Most ideal for e-commerce companies

4. Freelancer.com — High Volume Options

With over 62 million users and thousands of skill categories, Freelancer.com is a sizable Upwork competitor. The sheer volume of jobs and users looking for work on this platform may look like a positive, but user reviews warn to look out for spam. 

Pros for freelancers:

  • Lots of jobs available

  • Easy application process

  • Anyone at any skill level can use it

Cons for freelancers:

  • Locked or retracted payments while the platform investigates client issues

  • Many illegitimate jobs

  • Poor user interface

  • Fixed fees across ongoing work

  • Subscription fees if applying to more than 8 jobs a month

Pros for businesses:

  • Choose how you pay, hourly or fixed rate

  • Easily communicate with your hire through private chat options

Cons for businesses:

  • Large number of profiles make it difficult to find the right person for your job

  • Less expensive compared to Upwork overall, but service upgrades raise the fee

  • Lower quality compared to Upwork

5. PeoplePerHour — Gig & Job Listing Combination Platform

PeoplePerHour (PPH) is unique in that it offers the best of both worlds in the Fiverr vs. Upwork debate. The PPH platform uses the “hourlies” equivalent to the service gigs of Fiverr, plus employer posted jobs, similar to Upwork. Unlike Fiverr and Upwork, this UK-based company mainly caters to the European market rather than operating internationally.

Pros for freelancers:

  • Low fees

  • Many jobs available

  • Easy application processes

  • Site is easy use and navigate 

Cons for freelancers:

  • 20% fees plus additional charge during disputes

  • Customer service typically sides with hiring company

  • Tough competition

  • Illegitimate job postings

Pros for businesses:

  • PPH supports businesses in selecting the right candidate

  • Easy hiring process

  • Jobs are free to list

Cons for businesses:

  • More expensive than Upwork

  • Large pools of applicants for jobs

  • Customer service is difficult to reach

6. Hubstaff Talent — Small Fixed-Rate or Hourly Project Listings

A smaller player amongst freelancer marketplaces, Hubstaff Talent is a free platform for companies to list small projects at fixed-price or hourly rates.. 

If you use Hubstaff Talent, it’s important to know their standard policy is to let freelancers and hiring clients resolve issues amongst themselves. This can have both advantages and disadvantages depending on your case. But for a free platform, it’s definitely an Upwork alternative to consider.

Pros for freelancers:

  • Receive emails with recommended jobs fitting your profile

  • Send messages to your potential clients

  • No bidding on jobs, simply apply and interested clients will reach out to you

Cons for freelancers:

  • Low job availability

  • Time tracker tool has bugs which can lead to client issues

  • No support from Hubstaff Talent admins in disputes 

Pros for businesses:

  • No hidden fees, charges, or markups

  • Many filters to find the freelancer you’re looking for

  • Tools to easily monitor freelancer workflows

Cons for businesses:

  • Difficult to verify worker’s credentials

  • Not ideal for complex projects

7. Outsourcely — Job Board to Hire Direct

The Outsourcely platform is an online job board where companies are typically looking to hire remote workers direct and long term. Both full-time and part-time remote jobs are available on this platform.

Pros for freelancers:

  • Find long or short term remote work

  • Free for the freelancer

Cons for freelancers:

  • Often lower-paying roles

  • Low volume of jobs to search

Pros for businesses:

  • Post a job or search for a worker

  • Interview and hire direct

  • Find talent from all over the world

Cons for businesses:

  • Verification processes can be difficult

  • Customer service can be poor

  • Not a mobile-friendly site

8. Guru — Less Crowded Option for Beginners

Guru is a freelance marketplace that not only offers marketers, writers, and designers an opportunity to find work, but also other professional fields such as architects, legal counsel, secretaries, and more. 

Pros for freelancers

  • Easy to set up, navigate and apply to jobs

  • Opportunities for freelancers in niche services

  • Better for new freelancers since it’s less crowded than other platforms

Cons for freelancers

  • Limited quality opportunities

  • Website bugs can create communication issues between freelancers and clients

Pros for businesses

  • Affordable options

Cons for businesses

  • Reports of scams and low quality work

  • Project management issues

Niche Alternatives:

Credo for Digital Marketing

If you’re looking for a marketplace with strict vetting processes for digital marketers or search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, Credo is a great option. Different from standard freelance marketplaces offering a range of services, Credo stays in the digital marketing realm. 

Textbroker for Outsourced Writing

When outsourcing your company’s writing needs, why search through crowded online marketplaces? You skip sourcing altogether through a service like Textbroker. Textbroker pre-vets freelance writers with the content marketing and copywriting skill sets your business needs. 

For Skilled Tech Talent, Choose MVP Match

If it’s a network of skilled tech talent you’re looking for, MVP Match is your answer.

We’re not a marketplace. We’re an organization solving hiring needs for the world’s builders and visionaries in the digital product realm. If you’re looking to hire, reach out to us and let us find the talented freelancers you need. 

If you’re a freelance product manager, engineer or designer, join our freelancer network and let us help you find your next opportunity.

About the Author

Match wants to bridge the perspectives of talents and companies, and Marta’s job is to blend all the elements without burning the engine. She translates backstage know-how into practical insights and stories. What can’t be written on a blog will land on socials as a meme. She believes that shaping the #futureofwork is all about transparency and courage in communication. While collaborating with writers and authors from all over the world, she makes sure that everything that ends up on the Match blog makes the bridge stronger than ever.