Sites Like Upwork — Reviews Of Top 5 Upwork Alternatives

Endless online lists of Upwork competitors repeat all the same marketing things from press kits. Instead, we based our chart of the best Upwork alternatives on personal experience and user reviews. Check out the sites like Upwork that we selected for you!

Sites like Upwork: our short-list of the best Upwork competitors

«Upwork alternatives» is probably one of the most popular search queries among business owners considering hiring an independent contractor.

It’s not that Upwork is bad. On the contrary, its reputation is well-earned. Many customers and freelancers fruitfully work together on projects in jolly cooperation.

So, what’s the problem?

If you want to learn a bit more, just read on. If you already know your reasons, you can

Jump to the list of alternatives to Upwork now

So, why bother searching for freelance websites like Upwork?

The reason for this is that… No, wait. Three reasons for this are:

flying money

Poor security

Yes, Upwork does have ID verification procedures. And yes, the platform does have an escrow service to protect your payments. But oftentimes, this still fails to protect you from scammers and cheaters, who defraud your money and disappear. Encountering a problem like this for the first time you contact the support service, but BLAM!

shit

Upwork’s support sucks

Sad but true. Perhaps, with millions of customers and freelancers using Upwork it is impossible to address all requests properly. Perhaps, someone has had a wonderful experience with Upwork’s support.

But in reality, Upwork’s support seems to be working according to pre-compiled manuals. If the problem is not typical and isn’t described in the manuals, it will probably take days or even weeks to resolve. And, in this case, the solution will probably be in Upwork’s favor, not yours.

thumb down

Bidding sucks too

As the CEO of a technological startup, you are probably busy fighting turmoils that young companies typically face. Considering this, do you really have time to wade through dozens of bids to find just one competent freelancer?

This is not to mention that unscrupulous contractors can try to win the enormous competition among websites similar to Upwork by lowering their prices to the minimum or just cheating. Qualified professionals who value their time and labor leave Upwork in favor of other platforms.

Simply put, if bidding ran for president, we wouldn’t vote for it.

Is it that bad?

Well, no. There are good things about Upwork too. There is an escrow, due to which your payments are safe. It is possible to find truly amazing freelancers for ridiculously low prices. Also, there is an ID verification system – not perfect, but it’s still something.

But, all this does not overlap the need for sites similar to Upwork, only better.

So, this raises a question:

Who is the best Upwork competitor?

It depends (surprise!) on what you need a freelancer for. Some websites similar to Upwork house contractors of all possible professions, others specialize in several narrow fields, focusing on quality.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the sites similar to Upwork. As for the platforms like Upwork for you to use, we’ll leave the choice up to you

Let’s roll.

Lemon.io vs. Upwork

Since Lemon.io specializes only in web and software development, we’ll be comparing it to Upwork only in this regard.

Lemon.io vs Upwork
Lemon.io vs Upwork 2

Freelancers’ skill

In various juice commercials companies «carefully handpick every lemon to deliver you the freshest morning juice ever». Similarly, Lemon.io selects only the best freelance developers for you to work with. How? Due to its multi-stage vetting procedure:

  • general check
  • assessing professional skills
  • test assignment
  • live interview.

Upwork is a bidding platform, so there is no such thing as vetting here. You get to work with whoever applied to your order, and there is no guarantee that this person will be a qualified pro.

Speed

Lemon.io finds you perfectly matching developers in no time. Like, «Hey, we’d like to hire a deve… oh, thanks». Okay, it actually looks like this: you describe your project → magic going on → you get yourself a developer. Usually, within just 24 hours.
98% of Lemon.io clients hire the 1st candidate the platform suggests them. You probably will, too.

It can take you forever to find a freelance developer whose skills and expertise would match your needs. And even when you do, they can disappear at any moment, and no one will compensate you for the time and resources lost, or won’t provide you with a substitute contractor.

Prices

Working with European and Latin American developers, Lemon.io provides you with a better price-quality balance than some of its more famous competitors.

Upwork is one of the largest freelance marketplaces in the world, which means you can find devs from anywhere. Hourly and fixed rates differ greatly here. Just keep in mind that «cheap» does not mean «good».

Security

Safety! You sign an NDA with every freelancer you hire on Lemon.io. Besides, your data is protected with encryption algorithms, so you should not be worried about the safety of your project data.

Despite the fact that Upwork uses escrow and has ID verification, your risks of running into a scammer on this platform are considerable. Also, Upwork is full of ghosts!

Customer support

Lemon.io support does its best to actually prevent problems instead of solving them. If an issue still occurs, Lemon.io works as a mediator between you and a freelancer, solving complicated arguments instead of advising you to «look up in our user agreement».

Upwork’s support service is infamous for its inoperability. We’d not be surprised if they had a pink slowpoke on their logo.

Miscellaneous

Lemon.io is a recent rebranding of Coding Ninjas, a well-established freelance platform for vetted developers.

Lemons cause people to make funny faces.

Upwork is a veteran of freelance marketplaces. Is it good for you? Well, the old dog never learns new tricks, doesn’t it?

Upwork can make you cringe and grind your teeth sometimes – especially when dealing with the support service.

And the winner is…

Lemon.io!

An obvious victory. Lemon.io is just by all means better for hiring top developers than Upwork. Simple as that.

Lemon.io vs. Upwork 3

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Upwork vs. Freelancer

Perhaps you expected something like a clash of titans or a planetary collision under this heading, but in fact, these two marketplaces have a lot in common. So, it makes more sense to show their similarities and differences in lists, not tables.

Similarities

Bidding

Both Upwork and Freelancer are bidding platforms. As a client, you post an order with a job description. Freelancers whose qualifications meet your requirements apply to the order, naming their prices and deadlines. You then review their portfolios and testimonials, and choose one or several contractors whose experiences match your needs.

Diversity of skills available for hire

As these platforms are the biggest freelance marketplaces in the world, the number of freelancers working there is astonishing. This means that you can find experts of any profession here – if you can afford to hire by trial and error.

Varying hourly and fixed rates

Registration and order placement is free on both platforms. Since the sum that you will spend greatly depends on a hired contractor’s hourly/fixed rate, there is little point in discussing Upwork vs Freelancer in terms of prices.

Mediocre support

Both websites share the same issues with support.

As these platforms are the biggest freelance marketplaces in the world, the number of freelancers working there is astonishing.

Differences

Fees

On Freelancer, depending on whether you hire a freelancer for a fixed price or an hourly rate, you will need to pay different fees. For fixed-price projects, it’s going to be 3% of the sum or $3, whichever is greater. For hourly-rate projects, the platform levies 3% of each payment you make to a freelancer.

Upwork, in its turn, only has a 3% payment processing fee, that’s it. Freelancers, however, pay a fee of 20%, which is one of the favorite arguments for many scammers persuading you to work with them off-site.

Features

Upwork has a cleaner and more user-friendly interface but lacks features such as live chat. Freelancer.com interface can look overloaded with all those menus, categories, and filters, especially if you are new to the platform. Live chat is present, though, which is nice.

And the winner is…

Upwork. By a slight margin. It just seems to be investing more into its ID verification and the quality of work than Freelancer. Guys in Upwork realize that many customers who hire contractors for the first time do it on Freelancer – just because they are first in Google by the search query “freelancer.”  Things you do for the win.

Upwork vs. Freelancer

Fiverr vs. Upwork

Fiverr vs Upwork 2
Lemon.io vs Upwork 3

Freelancers’ skills

If you can’t decide which one to choose, Fiver or Upwork, consider this: on both Fiverr and Upwork you can find skilled and honest contractors working for reasonable prices. Many positive reviews on Trustpilot often commend on the competence of the freelancers hired on these websites. But, Fiverr often has better freelancers in categories like «video reviews», «voiceovers», «animation» and other media.

Fees

Naturally, Fiverr can cost much more than $5. It depends on freelancers’ rates, but also on fees and commissions. There is a $1 processing fee for the jobs costing up to $20 and a 5% commission on orders that cost more.

Upwork only takes a 3% payment processing fee, regardless of the order sum.

Prices

Fiverr is a platform where contractors can provide all kinds of smaller services (usually in creative and digital fields) for $5, hence the name. This does not mean that you can’t spend a fortune on Fiverr freelancers.

Upwork only takes a 3% payment processing fee, regardless of the order sum.

Security

There were reports about client’s bank card having been charged multiple times by the platform, with no appropriate reaction from the support team.

Upwork uses escrow, so your payments are safe.

Customer support

That being said, customer support is rather mediocre on both websites.

And the winner is…

Well, both platforms win. How? Fiverr is better for outsourcing for smaller design tasks: fix a logo, add a banner, change colors of an app icon. Also, Fiverr historically employs better media specialists. For everything else, we’d recommend using Upwork.

Fiverr is okay, but Upwork takes the upper hand due to escrow, fewer fees, and a greater variety of skill sets available for hire.

Fiverr vs Upwork

Guru vs. Upwork

Guru vs Upwork 2
Guru vs Upwork 3

Reviews

The platform has a lot of negative reviews on Trustpilot and an F rating on BBB. To us, it doesn’t look like a good reputation.

Despite its flaws, Upwork is one of the first websites many people think of when they make a decision to become freelancers.

Reliability

The inaccurate rating system can mislead you into hiring a contractor who lacks skills to work on your order. Mind that Guru.com has an option for freelancers to remove negative feedback from their profiles (for a fee).

Contractors cannot edit or delete feedback left by their previous customers.

Customer service

Both Guru and Upwork are bidding platforms, so you can expect all the typical outcomes: severe competition among freelancers, multiple bids on every order for you to look through, varying hourly/fixed rates, lots of underskilled contractors, and possible risks such as ghosting or scam.

Security

Guru.com uses SafePay: you must upload the money to a SafePay account before a contractor starts working on your project. Once they are done, they send you an invoice and you release the money to the contractor. The problem is, according to some reviews, SafePay does not save you from scam freelancers.

Upwork escrow ensures the safety of your money when hiring freelancers for a fixed price. Either a contractor does a good job and the money goes to them, or you are able to withdraw payment if anything goes wrong.

And the winner is…

Upwork!

It is just less controversial, and its payment and feedback mechanisms are more transparent and reliable.

What's the best Upwork alternative?

So, who’s the best global Upwork alternative?

Lemon logo

Lemon.io

Agility and efficiency can do wonders. If you want a quick and reliable solution to any of your development-related problems, better call Lemon.io. We are professionals of the freelancing realm.

Lemon logo

Fiverr

Fiverr is good for tasks related to design and media, but Upwork has qualified specialists in a wider range of freelance services.

Lemon logo

Guru

It’s not bad – otherwise, the company wouldn’t last since 1999. But, compared to other freelance sites like Upwork on the list, Guru.com might be not the best choice.

Lemon logo

Freelancer

Just like Dr. Strange and Dormammu, Upwork and Freelancer are stuck in the eternal struggle (you decide, whom of the two is Dr. Strange). But, in our opinion, Upwork is a tad better. However, if you don’t like both, try looking for other competitors to Upwork — they are plentiful.

And now it's time for a brief and useful FAQ

  • Is Lemon better than Upwork?

    Actually, these are two fighters performing in different weight categories. What’s the difference between them? Upwork is a bidding marketplace whereas Lemon.io is a vetting one. What does it mean? Let’s clarify together!
    Anyone can register on Upwork — there’s no filtration whatsoever. The road to Lemon.io, on the contrary, is open for strong Middles and Seniors only.
    No one tests the web developers on Upwork, whereas on Lemon.io all the registered specialists undergo thorough 4-stage vetting.
    Lemon.io has a whole Customer Success department caring about all your interactions with developers and answering all your queries.
    At Lemon.io, the Matching and Recruiting departments find the most suitable candidates for your projects in 1-2 working days, and if the first ones won’t suit it, you’ll be offered other professionals to choose from.
    If the developer won’t satisfy your requirements sometime in the future, Lemon.io grants a swift substitution.
    All in all, if you crave decent and guaranteed quality, Lemon.io is better. However, Upwork can be also fine — if you want some quick gig to be done by cheap coders.

  • Is there an alternative to Upwork?

    Naturally, there’s a whole bunch of bidding alternatives to Upwork. The examples that come to our mind, first of all, are Freelancer, 99Designs (mostly for design projects), or PeoplePerHour. 

  • Who are Upwork's competitors?

    If we’re talking about bidding platforms only, the most prominent Upwork competitors are Freelancer (one of the top bidding platforms ever), 99Designs (one more bidding platform for designers and visual specialists), Gigster, Fiverr, or Guru. 
    If we’re switching to the vast vetting field, then the competitors’ pool becomes completely different — for example, Turing.com, Toptal, or Lemon.io. However, the basic functional principles of vetting platforms are totally different: they test all their freelancers, don’t accept Juniors, and mostly have a proper Customer Care department.

  • How difficult is it to join Lemon?

    There are two answers to this question. On one hand, it’s relatively easy to join Lemon.io: you just need to follow the link, leave your contact details, fill in the application form, and pass a 4-stage vetting procedure (professional network check, English language check, soft skills, and hard skills tests). On the other hand, our vetting process is quite rigid — and only 4% of developers go through this fine sieve. 

  • Can I freelance without experience? 

    Actually, yes. There’s a whole bunch of platforms where newbies start their freelance path. They’re called bidding platforms. On such platforms, freelancers don’t pass any preliminary tests. They just come, register, and pick up suitable projects. Bidding platforms work on the reverse auction principle: the one who offers the smallest price for their work will win the bid. Juniors with no experience can easily start winning bids on Upwork or Freelancer — and move on, gaining experience. Moreover, bidding marketplaces help gain experience in multiple different fields — for the eventual transition to the next experience level. 

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