Fiverr vs Upwork: Pros and Cons of Freelancing on Both Platforms
Are you a freelancer looking for a website to uncage your skills and talents for monetary compensation, but you do not know where you and your skills would be most valued?
Then, you have come to the right place to find that out.
However, there are many sites and promising platforms and websites that could help you exchange your skills to money funds.
In this article, we will discuss two such platforms: Fiverr or Upwork. See which one is the right fit for you, or where will you see your time well-spent.
Fiverr came to life in 2010 from the endeavors of Shai Wininger and Micha Kaufman who established its headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was meant to be a platform that provides freelance services of all kinds to people of all kinds around the world.
It was named Fiverr as the website supposedly offered services starting from $5. In fact, it still does.
In 2020, the website receives more than 50 million visitors per month according to Similarweb. and it’s increasing fast. By 2019, this platform had attracted more than 2 million buyers to the platform. The average amount spent by the buyers is $135 per year.
In 2015, Upwork came to be as the result of a merger between Elance-oDesk companies. Although the companies had merged in 2013, the rebranding happened only after two years.
Upwork is also a global platform that helps freelancers find work while businesses get the work done. Upwork’s headquarters is located in California, USA.
Similarweb shows that the platform receives more than 30 million visitors per month. It is said that there are about 12 million freelancers, while about 5 million buyers.
Every year there are more than 3 million works available on this platform and it has $1 billion worth of transactions per year.
|Revenue||$253.4 million||$59.9 million|
|Gross Service Volume||$1.76 billion||$293.5 million|
|Active buyers||525,000 (est)||2,100,000|
|Active freelancers||500,000 (est)||255,000|
|Average spent per buyer||$3300 (est)||$150|
|Average spent per transaction||$780||NA|
After getting acquainted with the companies, let us go straight into the point and talk about the earning potential in each of the platforms.
To compare the platforms even further, we need some statistical data. One we found is not quite the latest though it should give a clear enough understanding of their standing as of 2018.
To get the best estimate of earning potential, there are a few key differences that need to be clarified between the two platforms.
- You post gigs offering a number of services and clients come to you
- You control the price and what you offer for that.
- You offer services that are somewhat related to your skills
- You apply to work, thus, you actively seek out for the job.
This might seem like a small difference, yet it plays a big role in freelance behavior and the relationship between the client and the service provider.
Even though Fiverr suffers a lot from its bad reputation of being the online marketplace for cheap labor. there are people who are making a good living just from freelancing on the platform.
You can read this article if you are interested in to find out what the top freelancers make.
On average, a person with an average experience and average pricing for his gigs could get about $300-500 per week.
While there is no limit on how much one can make, there is, on how much one can work. Thus, no one is going to stop you from working your ass off to make more.
However, it could be difficult to find jobs in the beginning. That is why most of the freelancers will not make it through the initial torture of time for the first few months to a year when getting a gig is something that should be celebrated.
Assuming one fills his profile with the right words and qualifications and stuff, he goes through the first few months, and acquires a dozen 5-star ratings and now receives a job offer or two a day.
Also, having received a dozen positive ratings and now he raises his price to $200-$250 per project at whatever our imaginary dedicated individual is good at. That is when he might make that average.
The time spent to earn that depends on each and every individual freelancer, and their field and the type of work, for example, someone who does voice-overs could finish one project in an hour while a copywriter could take a day or two to write a copy of 2000 words.
The table below shows how much freelancers on Fiverr earn on average.
Although, Fiverr is more freelance focused while Upwork is focused more on the clients, the earning potential seems to be higher on Upwork. One reason might be that you negotiate based on an hourly basis which could be quite confusing and difficult for both parties.
While Upwork made more than $300 million in 2019, it is impossible to find what percentage of it went to freelancers who are like the bread and butter of this platform.
So, there is no telling exactly how the freelancers are treated on this platform. Freelancers, in general, are treated in a stingy manner regardless of the platform in the beginning. So, when starting it does really matter what is the average since the beginner will be working for less than that.
There are four possible ways to receive your well-earned money with Fiverr.
- Fiverr Revenue Card
- Bank Transfer
- Direct Deposit (only in the US)
There are a few ways to get paid with Upwork.
- Direct bank transfer (US only)
- Direct to local bank ($0.99 per transfer)
- U.S. Dollar Wire Transfer $30 per transfer
- M-Pesa (Kenya Only)
Fiverr vs Upwork: Work Potential
Finding jobs, or gigs whatever they may name, just work is another important part of being a freelancer. But it does not matter what is your potential to make money if there are no works available, right?
Luckily they are available all around these two platforms in many categories including Graphic & Design, Writing & Translation, Music & Audio, Programming & IT, Digital Marketing, and so on.
The sub-categories may stretch as wide and big as ones’ imagination can take on Fiverr as they do not put many limitations on what idea you can monetize. Whereas, Upwork seems to like long-term projects which is why they are called jobs, not gigs. Upwork also puts a limitation on what you can monetize.
The following seem to be the most popular categories of work on Upwork:
- Branding and design
- Video animation
- Copywriting and content writing
- Digital marketing and advertising
- WordPress and web dev.
These, on the other hand, seem to be the most popular services on Fiverr:
- Voice over talents
- Internet research
- Data entry
- Graphic design
- PHP development
Both platforms have a wide variety of categories with professional freelancers available, those merely are the relatively more popular fields at the moment.
The only big difference Fiverr has more categories and allows freedom in this regard, while Upwork is a bit uptight in this.
In the above infographic, you can find out the number of categories along with other vital information compared between Fiverr vs Upwork.
It is understood that most freelancers go to Fiverr if they are looking for a quick gig or short-term project to work. For longer and more serious projects, it is more common to go for Upwork.
Getting the work has a few complications on Upwork for there is a bidding system. You have to apply for the job and get an interview, pass, only then you can have the job, it is basically like in real life. But it is not over yet, because you have to pay to apply for a job.
They have these “connect” tokens which translates into $0.15 to apply for every single application. This bidding system is not well-accepted among the freelance community for many reasons. Because it is easy to get outbid as the platform is global, not every freelancer sees the time spent on projects as worthy of compensation as the rest of the world.
You could be living in one part of the world where the socioeconomic situation is vastly different than the one of your competitors. For example, a $100 project which you think is not worth hours and hours of your time, whereas someone on the other part of the globe might be ready to spend those hours.
It is not to say that it is unfair, but to just bring the difference into your attention so that you could make an informed decision.
After you finish filling your profile and qualifications and stuff, all you need to do is just wait to be contacted. With Fiverr, the good news is it is all free.
Quality Of Projects
The difference between the type of person who comes on to the platform should be clear by now.
Many people who are looking for freelancers to work longer on custom projects usually go out looking for them on Upwork.
You will be able to find many professional and qualified freelancers because of the bidding system. And if you have a project where the criteria are not 100% set, for example, you have to design but you are ready for some professional opinion on some technicalities of the picture. For that purpose Upwork usually is the place to find the freelancer.
Fiverr is a good place to find easy, temporary projects on the other hand. As was seen from the table above, the average spent per buyer is much less on Fiverr, due to these reasons.
Some other reasons may be that Fiverr hosts more people from both sides, buyers, and sellers. And it is often one encounters a fake job or a fake profile.
They are not quite necessarily fake, it could be the people who kind of got started and forgot, or perhaps, got demotivated whatever it might be, it brings the reputation down by a lot.
Upwork, being very much client-centric, does not allow for many fake profiles to go around, nor jobs.
One more positive point about Upwork is that buyers and sellers usually work together on more projects than just one. It means buyers are truly looking for people whom they can collaborate with on multiple levels.
It is for this reason, reputation of Fiverr vs Upwork might be considered to be a tiny bit better, even though many freelancers don’t like the bidding system.
So, from the perspective of a buyer or business, if you are looking for a pool of professionals who are ready to grind it out for cheap, you should go to Upwork. Not because you cannot find them on Fiverr, in fact, both platforms have their degree of professionals.
You should go on to Upwork if you are the kind of person who wants to do the least amount of research to find the right person. However, if you do not mind cruising around and surfing on the platform, Fiverr will definitely have the right type of person. It might just take you a few mins to or so to go through their profiles, offers, etc.
Since the payment systems on both platforms are quite safe, this section is going to be very short.
They both use escrow methods to fulfill the payments from their buyers to freelancers. In simpler terms, you pay for the project you ordered as soon as you confirm. However, the freelancer will only get the payment after the completion of the project.
This helps both the buyers and freelancers.
For buyers, you will not have to worry if the freelancer will take the money and just skip the part where they were supposed to do something for that money 😉.
For freelancers, they will know that they will get paid upon completion of the task.
Upwork has contracts to protect both parties, while Fiverr guarantees 100% money back if the client is not satisfied, the system that some clients take advantage of often.
To find out more in detail head over to Upwork’s payment protection page.
You can also head over to Fiverr’s page for online safety tips here.
Overall, the payment system is very well thought of and designed on both platforms that there is no need to worry about anything.
It is no secret you want the maximum amount of projects with the least time spent on them, as a freelancer so you can optimize your earnings.
You could maximize your earning also by charging more which is why you might want to grow your portfolio and make a name for yourself.
In order to do those, you need the right platform that could serve as the standing ground for your career. Even though there are many examples of those who have made it on either of the platforms, success is not guaranteed.
After carefully reading through the article, you should have a clear understanding of which platform could be the one that gets you off the ground in the comparison of Fiverr vs Upwork.
Before you leave, just a reminder for you to take into consideration all the aspects of the platforms.
For example, do you want the clients to come to you, or do you want to be applying for projects they a freelancer to help with?
Would you rather work on smaller gigs at a time or a one big project?
Study the options carefully then, make an informed decision. If you feel that buying and sellin g skills are yet other skills you want to put into practice, check out the guide to Selling on Amazon vs. eBay.
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