UpWork vs Fiverr vs Elance: Freelance Hiring Sites Compared

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Freelance hiring sites are great for both employers looking for freelancers and freelancers themselves who need work. UpWork, formerly oDesk, is one of the biggest players in the game. They have the most categories listed to choose from and an easy to use


UpWork began in 2014 when Elance and oDesk merged and UpWork launched in 2015. At the time of the new company launching, there was a renewed commitment and vision to create the best online work place. UpWork is a great platform for companies to find and work with the best independent professionals from around the world. Their goal is to provide a trusted online workplace to connect freelancers with companies that need their services.

UpWork Freelance Jobs

UpWork offers many categories for freelancers to find a job and for companies to find a freelancer. You can browse freelancers by job categories and by skills. Their main job categories include the following types of work:

  • Web, Mobile and Software Development
  • Design and Creative
  • IT and Networking
  • Administrative
  • Writing
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Legal
  • Accounting
  • Consulting
  • Translation
  • Data Science and Analytics

UpWork has many different categories to search through, which makes it easy for companies to find the perfect freelancer for the job they need done.

UpWork Features

On UpWork, you can find a freelancer for all types of jobs. If the job can be done on a computer, desktop or mobile, you can get it done on UpWork. Companies can find freelancers for any type of job, whether it is short term, long term, big, small or a team or individual based job.

If you are looking for a freelancer to get the job done for you, simply start by writing a clear and concise job post on UpWork. Each freelancer will submit a cover letter and a link to their UpWork profile. Within minutes, you will receive applications from independent contractors, freelancers and you will also receive personalized recommendations from UpWork.

You will have the choice to pay the freelancers you hire via credit card, PayPal or bank account. All payments will go through their secure system.

UpWork Costs

When you hire a freelancer on UpWork, they will send the money to the freelancer after deducting a 10% fee. For example, if you hire a freelancer to do a job for $20, you will pay $20, and the freelancer will receive $18 after the fee deduction.


Fiverr is a marketplace that connects freelancers with those that need jobs accomplished. If you are looking for a job that needs to get done or if you are a freelancer looking for work, Fiverr can help. Thousands of freelancers advertise their services in over 100 categories and there are currently more than 3 million services listed.

Fiverr Freelance Hiring Site

You can search for a freelancer by job category, trending collections or featured gigs. Fiverr also has a great news and stories section with helpful articles for freelancers.

Their job categories include:

  • Graphic and Design
  • Online Marketing
  • Writing and Translation
  • Video and Animation
  • Music and Audio
  • Programming and Tech
  • Advertising
  • Business

Fiverr has subcategories within each of their main topics and you can refine your search by language, delivery time and other topic specific refinements. All of the jobs posted by a freelancer starts at $5 and every freelancer has a rating, reviews and a complete description of the jobs they offer.

For those looking for a freelancer to do a job, all you have to do is browse the job category and choose the freelancer, place the order and you’re done. Signing up for Fiverr is free and they offer 24/7 customer support.

Selling Your Services on Fiverr

Fiverr is great for both buyers and those selling their freelance services. They have an excellent FAQ that can help you get started with selling your gigs and signing up is free.

As a seller you can do the following on Fiverr:

  • Create your gig with job descriptions, photos, meta tags and everything else a seller needs to describe their services.
  • Manage sales
  • View your sale analytics
  • View your gig statistics
  • View and export your earnings

Earning Money on Fiverr

All freelance jobs start at $5 on Fiverr, but can go higher for more work or products you sell. For example, if you sell one service at $5, you can include more at higher prices. Buyers of your service will pay for their orders in advance.

For every $5 gig or service you sell and successfully deliver, Fiverr will credit your account with $4 (a 20% fee) once the order is completed. Fiverr offers numerous features for sellers like a badge to promote your business that you can place on your website and the ability to send custom offers to buyers that contact you via email.


Elance is now UpWork since they merged with oDesk in 2014, but they are separate from UpWork. On Elance you find a freelancer to do all types of jobs for you. You can find freelancers on Elance in more than 180 countries and in all types of fields. They are a community of over 3 million freelancers and 1 million businesses. As of this writing, they have had almost 111,000 jobs listed in the past month and $1.5 million dollars earned through Elance.

Jobs on Elance

There are many job listings on Elance for you to choose from including:

  • 308,600 Programmers
  • 42,200 Mobile Developers
  • 225,000 Designers
  • 348.000 Writers
  • 70,300 Marketers

On Elance, you can hire a freelancer or a team quickly and easily and once the job is done, pay securely through Elance.

It is easy to find a job or hire a freelancer on Elance with the following steps;

  • Post a Job: Posting a job is free and easy. Describe the work you need done and within minutes you will be getting responses from freelancers.
  • Getting Recommendations: Elance will also analyze your job requirements and then send you recommendations.
  • Hire a Freelancer: Once you have received applications for your job posting, you can then view promising applications and check out their portfolios and ratings.
  • Start and Finish: Elance provides you with all of the tools you need to manage your job, from collaboration tools to payments.
  • Payment Protection: Elance provides escrow services and time tracking software.

Elance Costs

Elance is free to join, post jobs and review your candidates. There is an 8.75% fee that is added on to your freelancers bid. You will see this fee and only pay it when the work has been approved. You can also choose to Feature your job for $25, which will get you maximum exposure.

Freelance Hiring Sites Conclusion

All three freelance sites offer a great opportunity not only for those that need a job performed for them, but also for freelancers looking for work. UpWork has the most job categories listed for you to choose from and Fiverr is the cheapest with all jobs starting at $5. Elance has the lowest fees at 8.75% and provides you with numerous tools throughout the process.


Sam Redson
Posted on Nov 9, 2016
tracy mclaren
Posted on Jun 11, 2015