Why You Shouldn't Be Using Upwork for Your Freelancing Business

Updated on December 11, 2017
Talulahroe profile image

Talulah Roe is a Self-Publishing eBook Author. Her series, For Divas, can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

What Is Upwork?

Upwork is a site that works as a platform for freelancers and clients looking for projects that they need to have done. They're the middleman between you and your client that secretly steals all of your money while doing so. From my experience using Upwork, they are a company that is solely based on profiting, instead of improving and enhancing.

They could care less what us freelancers think. We're the ones bringing in their money. And they take us as a joke.

What Does It Cost?

To sign up for an account with Upwork, it cost absolutely nothing. It's free of charge. However, they take 20% of each transaction you have with a client until you make $500 with that client, then they take 10%. Both of those are still pretty high amounts. We are freelancers, we work hard for our money!

In my opinion, they should only take 10% starting out and then move to 5%. In order to get to the 5% level, you will need to make $10,000 with just one client. So they are making pretty good money off their freelancers.

Aside from this, you have to pay to withdraw your hard earned money (depending on the payment method you choose.) If you ACH wire the money to your bank account it's free. If you can't do that and you need to withdraw via PayPal they charge you $1.

With a free account, you get 60 connections per month to apply for jobs. Each job is two connections. If you run out of connections and you want more, they charge you $10. This is probably the only thing they do that I agree on. That's a smart business model right there. The whole, taking 20% or even 10% of my pay is ridiculous. A lot of freelancers ask their clients to pay them via Paypal because of this fee. I don't recommend doing this until you know you can trust your clients. If you do this right off the bat, they will take your work and run.

How Do You Get Paid?

Payment on Upwork takes forever. If you have an hourly contract, they tell you that you get paid weekly but it's really every other week. You get paid 7 days after the week is over for the prior week.

If you're working on a fixed project, you'll have to wait until your client approves the work you submitted and then wait another seven days for your payment to hit your account.This is another reason people like to ask for Paypal payments. It's faster and more reliable. And it doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.

Upwork has a strict policy about accepting payment for projects outside of Upwork. But people still do it. And they will continue to do it as long as Upwork continues to charge 20%.

Payment Methods

As you can see here, there are three different types of payment methods you can use to withdraw your money. The first one which requires you to have a bank account cost no money. If you don't have a bank account (because banks are evil & you are smart), you have two other options.

One option is to pay $1 and have the money transferred to your PayPal account. I know what you're thinking it's only a $1 who cares. But when Upwork is already taking a huge amount of your money, that dollar can go a long way. Trust me, it's not worth it.

Another option is to wire the money. I don't know why anyone would pay $30 to have their money wired. That shouldn't even be an option.

Things You Can't Do

Here are several things that make Upwork a site to stay away from:

  • You can't earn decent money - They take it all
  • You can't link any of your social media, or websites to your profile
  • You can't put money on a prepaid MasterCard/Visa - You need a bank account
  • You can't get your money in a decent amount of time
  • If you have a client account, you can't find good freelancers - they do no screening. Anybody can sign up and scam you
  • The app? You can't do anything on the app. It directs you back to their desktop site almost always

Is It Worth It?

If you really think about it. Becoming a freelancer on Upwork is not worth it. You're better off going into business for yourself. Make a free website with WordPress and start there. Otherwise, you're making Upwork's dreams come true instead of your own.

Maybe if Upwork actually took the time to listen to their freelancers and make some significant changes, then it would be worth it. But as of right now, I have to give it 1 star. It's a total waste of time and I don't want you to make the same mistake I did.

Have you used Upwork for your freelancing business? How did it go? Drop a comment and let me know!

© 2017 Talulah Roe


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    • Talulahroe profile image

      Talulah Roe 3 months ago from New Jersey

      Angel - I have had the same experience. Thanks for reading!

    • montecristo profile image

      Angel Caleb Santos 3 months ago from Hampton Roads, Virginia

      I used to hire people on Upwork to ghost write for me but I was not satisfied with the work. The good ones were too expensive for me and the others were above average. Upwork is not a good site to hire ghostwriters unless you are prepared to pay good money and for having some starter blogs, I decided to do the work myself. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michael-Duncan profile image

      Michael-Duncan 4 months ago from Spain

      I completely agree with you. I was on Upwork for some time, but did not find it a platform for serious entrepreneurs with a vision for developing competencies or building a sustainable online business in a rewarding way. Thanks for the insight.

    • Atanas Yonkov profile image

      Atanas Yonkov 4 months ago from Bulgaria

      Thank you for this hub. How are the other freelance platforms better than Upwork?