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Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

As a business owner, you likely wear many hats. You may be responsible for sales, marketing, customer service, and accounting – among other things. While it’s important to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in all aspects of your business, you can’t do everything yourself. That’s where freelancers come in. Freelancers are professionals who offer their services on a project-by-project basis, rather than working full-time for one company. 

Especially when starting out, there may not be enough work – or budget – to hire a full-time employee. In addition to cost savings, there are other benefits to hiring a freelancer, including access to expertise and skillsets that you may not have yourself, and more flexibility.

Business owners can delegate just about any task to freelancers, especially with the rise and accessibility of freelance platforms. For example, business owners can hire help such as personal assistants, accountants, legal support, and logo designers. The trick is finding the right freelancer for the job, who is professional, talented, and reasonably priced.

You may be wondering if hiring a freelancer is the right move for you and wondering the best way to get started.  Upwork and Fiverr are two of the most popular freelance marketplaces that ease the process of hiring skilled professionals to help with your business needs. Although Upwork and Fiverr function similarly, they differ in some fundamental ways. So, let’s dive into the comparison.

How does Upwork work?

Upwork is an online freelance marketplace connecting professionals to clients. Upwork was founded in 2015 after the merger of oDesk and Elance and now is a worldwide platform that reaches 180 counties with 12 main industry categories, ranging from admin support to software development.

For business owners, Upwork works in four easy steps:

  1. Post a project on Upwork’s job board
  2. Start receiving proposals from talent
  3. Communicate easily with freelancers using Upwork’s in-site message system
  4. Pay directly for services through Upwork, keeping finances secure and simple

Upwork offers a variety of project options, such as short-term and long-term work, hourly rates, and fixed price rates. Upwork makes it easy to find long-term freelancers open to recurring or ongoing projects.

The site’s main function is its active job boards, where freelancers find jobs and send applications to the client. Upwork also features a Project Catalog where freelancers sell packages for services at a fixed price. The Project Catalog is great for specific, short-term projects.

How much does Upwork cost to use?

Upwork is free to use, and there is no charge to post a job on the site. However, there is a 3–5% payment processing and administration fee on purchases.

How does Fiverr work?

Fiverr is an online freelance site for individuals selling nearly any legal service. The site has over 550 categories, including logo design, social media, voiceovers, and copywriting. Fiverr was founded in 2010 and quickly became a go-to site to outsource work for a bargain price.

On Fiverr, the freelancers are called sellers, and they create “Gigs,” which are the packages for the services they sell. Sellers generate a page for each gig that outlines the deliverables, timeline, and costs. Many gigs start at a base price of $5, which is where the site’s name comes from.

Fiverr has five simple steps for buyers:

  1. The first step is to search their expansive gig database for services
  2. Choose a gig that meets their needs
  3. Communicate with the seller to make sure expectations and requirements are aligned
  4. Place an order, which includes an upfront payment
  5. Receive the final product and approve the work to release the payment

Fiverr focuses on short-term projects, although buyers can purchase the same gig as often as they want. Buyers can also create a request for help, which is posted to a job board that sellers can apply for; however, this method is less popular.

How much does Fiverr cost to use?

Fiverr does not charge a membership fee to use their site. However, Fiverr charges a service fee on all purchases. The fee goes to fund administrative costs and varies depending on the price of the gig. Generally, the fee is 5.5%, except for gigs priced less than $50, then the fee is $2.

What are the primary differences between Fiverr and Upwork?

One of the main differences between Fiverr and Upwork is that Fiverr highlights high-performing gigs and promotes short-term work. In contrast, Upwork highlights high-performing profiles, promoting long-term relationships.

Some other key ways that Upwork and Fiverr differ include

  • Finding work
  • Quality of work
  • Pricing
  • Dispute resolution

Finding work

When it comes to finding work, the site’s usability is essential. Two aspects of usability include project visibility and how work is initiated.

Upwork—The freelancers come to the clients, mostly. 

Upwork’s main source for finding work is through their job boards, which are known to be competitive. Some job postings can get upwards of 50+ proposals. Freelancers respond to jobs they are interested in by submitting proposals to the client. Initially, sorting through the many proposals can be an investment of time. Still, it offers business owners the opportunity to compare a wide range of freelancers and prices for one project all in one spot.

Clients can also search for freelancers using filters to narrow down the search. Freelancer profiles are listed down the search page with a box displaying their name, picture, location, and other stats such as rates, feedback, skills, and portfolio. Clients can invite or send offers to freelancers, but the freelancer initiates the work by either submitting a proposal or accepting an offer.

Freelancers can also create projects featured on their profiles and listed in the Project Catalog. These projects function similarly to gigs, and clients can purchase a one-time project from a freelancer, skipping the interview process.

Fiverr—The clients go to freelancers, mostly. 

The primary focus of Fiverr’s site is its massive selection of gigs. Fiverr graphically displays gigs using a card-style layout that is visually appealing and is an easy and informal way to find work.

The work is initiated by the buyer who purchases a gig from a seller. Fiverr is a quick way to get started on a project, as it eliminates the proposal and interview process. However, this method makes it harder to compare multiple quotes in one spot.

Fiverr offers buyers the option to post jobs; again, this option is not as popular as the gig option in finding work.

Quality of work

Quality work is essential for business owners who want to steward their time and money. But unfortunately, some freelancers market quality work but are not experts in their field, and the project outcome can be disappointing at best.

To help mitigate this issue, both Upwork and Fiverr verify their freelancer’s identities and use a rating system to help reduce the hiring of freelancers who aren’t worth their salt. Nevertheless, the quality of freelancers can vary on each site.


Upwork freelancers generally cost more, but the expectation of quality is usually higher. Upwork incorporates numerous stats that show a freelancer’s experience and talent. For example, freelancers with consistent customer satisfaction and long-term relationships earn badges that promote their profile. Additionally, about 70% of freelancers on Upwork have a college degree.

However, Upwork doesn’t require freelancers to go through reviews or verify their work history to begin using the site, so there is a risk that a freelancer has a fabricated profile and isn’t experienced. Eventually, these profiles reveal themselves with poor ratings.


Although you can find some quality gigs for the base price of $5, many low-priced gigs offer limited deliverables or may be low-quality. Fiverr uses a leveling system that promotes sellers who are high performing, maintain good reviews, and have high earnings.

Additionally, sellers can apply to become a Fiverr Pro, which involves a series of reviews that validate the seller’s experience. Sellers with a Fiverr Pro status generally charge more but are experts in their field and consistently put out quality work.

Overall, both sites have quality freelancers and amateurs. However, if you pay attention to the reviews and which freelancers are getting repeat work, you can rest assured that if you hire them, they will probably produce quality work.


The costs of services vary across each site. However, both have set $5 as the minimum price for fixed-price contracts. Although overall, Fiverr seems to have a higher quantity of budget-friendly projects.

Upwork – 

Upwork offers both fixed-price contracts and hourly-rate contracts. The minimum hourly rate is $3, whereas the minimum for fixed-price projects is $5. However, it is common to see many project proposals start higher than the minimum amounts. Additionally, hourly contracts may make it harder to budget costs as the overall price of a project depends on how long it takes the freelancer to finish the work. However, clients can set weekly limits on hourly contracts to help budget projects appropriately.


Fiverr only has fixed-price projects, with many of the gigs starting at $5 for a base service. Each gig usually offers three different packages: the base, the standard, and the premium. Many gigs provide a $5 base price with minimal deliverables, and the standard and premium packages are priced higher. However, with Fiverr’s pricing strategy, the budget is a bit more predictable because all the projects are sold at a fixed price.

Dispute Resolution

When a project goes sideways, it’s helpful to know you will get the support you need. Each site deals with conflict differently:


Upwork has several methods for resolving conflict:

  • Screen captures: hourly contracts use a screen capture system to verify the freelancer is working only on your project while logging time
  • A dispute resolution system and management system for filing complaints
  • A dedicated mediator to assist with investigations and resolutions


Fiverr has a resolution center to ask for updates or extend delivery times. However, a common complaint is that it is more challenging to get problems resolved on Fiverr.

How to hire a great freelancer:

Hiring a freelancer can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, but here are three quick tips to help navigate the hiring process:

  1. Plan out your project.

    The more details you have on your project, the better your freelancer will understand what you need. Details include expected cost, timeline, deliverables, and personal style and taste. By planning out your project thoughtfully, you will have a better grasp of your budget and the type of quality you expect.
  2. Do your research.

    Look through comparable freelancers to determine a good fit for your needs. Don’t settle for easy or first. Although you may be fortunate and land a talented freelancer on your first try, it’s generally better to look through a few profiles and gigs before deciding.
  3. Follow up.

    Don’t hesitate to follow up with your freelancer once the project has begun. Keeping the lines of communication open helps to improve the odds of success and determines early on if the freelancer is a poor communicator.

Which one is best for you?

Deciding which platform is best for your business can be tricky, but once you know what each site offers and your needs, the decision comes easily.

Upwork may be best for you if…

  • You are looking for a long-term contract
  • You want to have a more passive approach in the hiring process and have the freelancers come to you
  • You want the freedom to interview and closely monitor your projects

Fiverr may be best for you if…

  • You are looking for a quick, one-time contract
  • You are looking for a budget-friendly contract
  • You want a more active approach in hiring by choosing a gig and going directly to the seller

Overall, each site has different benefits that can offer your business that extra edge. Sometimes a quick, budget-friendly project is exactly what you need to elevate your business and take some work off your plate. In this case, Fiverr is a prime pick for you. Other times, a long-term professional is essential, and Upwork can be the tool to find the next perfect team member.

Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which Is Best for Business Owners?

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