Upwork is one of the leading online freelancing platforms in the world. For many years, Upwork has connected millions of clients to freelancers to help them get freelance work. However, amidst all of that, Upwork still relies on you to trust online strangers for payments that go through the platform of Upworks itself. So the question arises, is Upwork legit?
Well, considering the success of Upwork in the freelancing industry it is safe to say that Upwork is legit.
However, there are still many ways you can have a bad experience on Upwork, including getting scammed or suspended.
To help you make the best use of Upwork’s freelancing platform, let’s dive deeper into the subject.
What Is Upwork?
Upwork is arguably the largest freelance platform on the internet. Being the oldest online freelance platform (established over two decades ago), Upwork is a multi-million dollar business that is considered completely legitimate in the whole world.
Upwork primarily establishes a medium to connect independent professional freelancers with businesses and individual clients for various projects and tasks.
While you can find work for almost any task or project relating to the smallest of niches on Upwork, the most popular categories of work on the platform include the following niches:
- Web Development
How Does Upwork Work?
Upwork works as a middleman business that bridges the connection between clients and individual platforms. Contrary to many freelancing platforms allowing freelancers to sell their services, Upwork only allows clients to upload job opportunities that freelancers can propose to work for.
Clients On Upwork
To upload a project, a client will create a post that highlights the job description of the project they need a freelancer for and their estimated budget for that project. After some time, the client should receive some proposals for this job.
The client can now review all the proposals it received for their posted job and shortlist freelancers for interviews. Following this, they can finalize the freelancer(s) they choose the work with.
During the project, Upwork provides the freelancer(s) and the client with tools for communication, file sharing, tracking work hours, invoicing, and processing payments.
Once the project is completed, the client’s payment is processed to the freelancer’s account. The client can also submit their feedback on how they liked to work with the freelancer, which would affect their reputation for future work.
Freelancers Bidding On Upwork
In turn, freelancers will bid on the projects uploaded by clients by sending out a proposal that showcases why they would be the perfect professional to get the task completed. Freelancers include a cover letter with their proposed price and timeline of work with optional documents attached.
To bid on a project, freelancers use an Upwork currency called Connects. Each freelancer gets a small amount of Connects monthly for free, while you can always buy more Connects from Upwork itself.
According to Economist Report, freelancers earn 44% higher than traditional office workers.
Can You Get Scammed On Upwork?
While Upwork is as much of a legitimate business as Facebook or Youtube, much like all online platforms, it still consists of people that can potentially be scammers and can scam you.
There are different scams on Upwork that hurt both freelancers and clients by either wasting their time and resources or not getting paid for their work.
Misleading Upwork Profiles And Fake Reviews
Being an online platform, it is easy to create a fake profile on Upwork without getting caught. On a freelancer’s profile, you can add false information about yourself that praises your work without needing to guarantee it against any certificates or proof.
But that’s not the most misleading scamming technique on Upwork. The most popular technique is creating fake reviews. This is done by Upwork clients and freelancers, both.
Upwork freelancers generate fake testimonials by creating a fake Upwork client profile, posting a fake job, proposing the job from their freelancer profile, accepting the job from their client profile, and then submitting a great review for the job to themselves.
Upwork clients use the same strategy to build up their reputation as a buyer.
Payment Issues On Upwork
Upwork guarantees payments for freelancers by witholding fixed deposits from clients before the work has even started and processes payments whenever the freelancer sends out an invoice for a milestone they achieved.
However, it’s not always as easy and practical.
Many freelancers have reported working for scamming clients who couldn’t be contacted on the date of project submission, which meant the freelancer did all the work to receive no payments.
When the freelancer and client are available, on the other hand, and a payment dispute arises where a client is not satisfied with the work while the freelancer expects payment for said work, Upwork jumps in as a mediator to solve the dispute for a fair price for both of the parties.
But that’s just one side of the payment issues on Upwork.
With communications and payments working smoothly between both parties, Upwork is still heavily criticized to be a platform where it’s almost impossible to be paid what you’re worth.
With such high competition, established businesses win projects on Upwork by cutting their prices, making it extremely difficult for individual freelancers to win projects for a reasonable charge.
Consequently, they’re left with no choice but to underpay themselves. But even here, Upwork’s charges are still liable.
Upwork charges 20% fees as its own share for all payments under $500, 10% for all payments under $10,000, and 5% for $10,001+
And even after Upwork’s share, the residue freelancer’s share still faces tax deductions that bring the total disposable income to almost nothing of what the freelancer is worth.
Clients And Freelancers Can Go AWOL
Even though Upwork’s strict policies make sure freelancers are always paid for their work, there have been many reported cases of Upwork projects where either party just failed to show up, or, in other terms, ghosted.
From the Upwork client’s perspective, this happens when a freelancer accepts a project and promises submission of work on a said deadline, but when the deadline arrives there is no way to contact them.
From the freelancer’s perspective, this happens when a freelancer is ready to submit their project but the client can no longer be contacted.
While no financial losses occur in both cases, a huge waste of time and resources takes place that can significantly disrupt the operations of Upwork freelancers and clients.
Lack Of Ownership On Upwork
Another major concern about Upwork is its ownership policies for freelancers.
Upwork profiles are very challenging to maintain, requiring months and years of effort to create a profitable one.
However, even after all the work that you put in to your profile, with all the work that you submit, all your contacts, messages, reviews, etc. You never really own all of it.
At any moment, your profile can be suspended and you could lose everything that you’ve worked so hard for in a mere instant!
Granted, Upwork doesn’t suspend freelancers unless they violate its Terms of Service. But if it were to happen to me, I would still consider this as a scam!
How To Avoid Getting Scammed On Upwork?
Even though Upwork is as legit of a website as can be, there are still scammers on the website that can take advantage of you and exploit your time and resources. These scams happen to freelancers and clients, alike.
To help you avoid getting scammed on Upwork, here are some tips you can follow that should stray you away from danger.
7 Tips For Upwork Freelancers To Avoid Scams
Here are 7 of the best tips for Upwork freelancers to practice in order to avoid scams:
- Only work with clients who have a verified payment method: Upwork requires clients to verify their payment method before they can hire freelancers. This helps to ensure that the client is legitimate and can pay for the work you do.
- Check the client’s reviews and ratings: Before accepting a job, check the client’s reviews and ratings from other freelancers who have worked with them. This can give you an idea of their reputation on the platform.
- Beware of clients who offer unrealistic rates: If a client is offering an extremely high rate for a job that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use this tactic to lure in freelancers.
- Use Upwork’s messaging system: Communicate with clients only through Upwork’s messaging system, as it provides a record of your conversations in case of a dispute.
- Don’t start work until you have a contract: Make sure you have a written contract before starting work on a project. This will help protect you in case the client doesn’t pay or tries to change the scope of the project.
- Be wary of clients who ask for payment outside of Upwork: Upwork’s payment system is designed to protect both clients and freelancers. If a client asks you to accept payment outside of Upwork, it is likely a scam.
- Trust your instincts: If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, trust your gut and avoid the job.
By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of getting scammed on Upwork and enjoy a successful freelance career on the platform.
7 Tips For Upwork Clients To Avoid Getting Scammed
As an Upwork client, you can’t expose yourself to scams that waste your work but you can definitely meet scammy freelancers that waste your time by not showing up either any work or work up to an acceptable standard.
Here are 7 tips you can use as an Upwork client to help yourself work with only the most reliable freelancers on the network.
- Only hire freelancers who have a verified payment method: Upwork requires freelancers to verify their payment method before they can be hired. This helps to ensure that the freelancer is legitimate and can receive payment for the work they do.
- Check the freelancer’s reviews and ratings: Before hiring a freelancer, check their reviews and ratings from other clients who have worked with them. This can give you an idea of their reputation on the platform.
- Be clear about the scope of the project and payment terms: Clearly define the scope of the project and payment terms in the job posting or contract. This can help to prevent misunderstandings or disputes later on.
- Use Upwork’s messaging system: Communicate with freelancers only through Upwork’s messaging system, as it provides a record of your conversations in case of a dispute.
- Don’t release payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction: Upwork’s payment system allows you to release the payment only when the work is completed to your satisfaction. This helps to protect you from paying for work that is incomplete or subpar.
- Be wary of freelancers who ask for payment outside of Upwork: Upwork’s payment system is designed to protect both clients and freelancers. If a freelancer asks you to pay them outside of Upwork, it is likely a scam.
- Trust your instincts: If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, trust your gut and avoid working with the freelancer.
How To Avoid Getting Suspended On Upwork?
Upwork doesn’t allow freelancers to own their profiles and work. The only way to make sure you have complete control over your profile is by avoiding suspension on Upwork.
Here are some tips that can help you achieve that:
- Follow Upwork’s terms of service: Make sure you read and understand Upwork’s terms of service and follow them at all times. This includes policies related to communication, payments, and conduct.
- Be honest in your profile and job postings: Provide accurate and truthful information in your Upwork profile and job postings. Misrepresenting yourself or your work can result in suspension.
- Maintain a high level of professionalism: Communicate professionally with clients and freelancers and treat others with respect. Upwork takes reports of unprofessional conduct seriously.
- Complete jobs to the best of your ability: Deliver high-quality work that meets the requirements of the job posting. Failing to complete jobs or delivering subpar work can lead to suspension.
- Avoid engaging in prohibited activities: Upwork prohibits activities such as spamming, fraud, and violating intellectual property rights. Engaging in these activities can result in suspension.
- Respond to disputes in a timely and professional manner: If a dispute arises, respond to it in a timely and professional manner. Failure to do so can result in suspension.
- Use Upwork’s messaging system: Communicate with clients and freelancers only through Upwork’s messaging system. Using external communication methods can result in suspension.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that you maintain a good standing on Upwork and avoid suspension.
Is There A Better Alternative To Upwork?
While Upwork is generally considered a safe platform, there are several alternatives that prioritize security and offer additional protections to users.
Here are some safer alternatives to Upwork:
- Freelancer.com: Freelancer.com offers a variety of security features, including secure payment options, a dispute resolution system, and background checks for freelancers.
- Guru: Guru offers safe payment options, fraud protection, and a mediation and arbitration system for resolving disputes.
- PeoplePerHour: PeoplePerHour offers a secure payment system and a project management tool to help ensure that projects are completed on time and to the client’s satisfaction.
- Toptal: Toptal is a highly selective platform that screens freelancers rigorously to ensure that they are experts in their field. The platform also offers a money-back guarantee to clients who are not satisfied with their freelancer’s work.
- SolidGigs: SolidGigs is a membership-based platform that offers handpicked job postings from top companies and freelancers. The platform also offers a money-back guarantee to clients who are not satisfied with the quality of work they receive.
- Fiverr: Fiverr is one of the largest platform for freelancers where they can easily create Gig and show their skills. Don’t miss to use the Fiverr promo code when you signup to get 20% off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How To Delete Upwork Account?
To delete your Upwork account, follow these steps:
- Log in to your account.
- Go to the “Settings” menu and select “Account Settings.”
- Scroll down to the “Close My Account” section and click “Close Account.”
- Follow the prompts to confirm the closure of your account.
Q. How To Work On Upwork?
To work on Upwork as a freelancer, follow these steps:
- Create a freelancer account on Upwork.
- Set up your profile and portfolio to showcase your skills and experience.
- Browse and apply for jobs that match your skills and interests.
- Communicate with clients and submit proposals for jobs you are interested in.
- Once you are hired, complete the job to the best of your ability and receive payment through Upwork’s payment system.
Q. How Much Does Upwork Take From Freelancers?
Upwork charges freelancers a service fee of 5% for payments over $10,000, 10% for payments over $500, and 20% for payments under $500. The fee is based on a sliding scale, with lower fees for longer-term relationships with clients. Freelancers can also choose to upgrade to a paid membership to access additional features and reduce their service fee.
Q. What Are Connects On Upwork?
Connects are a virtual currency on Upwork that freelancers use to submit proposals for jobs. Each job proposal requires a certain number of Connects, depending on the job category and other factors. Freelancers receive a limited number of free Connects each month and can purchase additional Connects if needed. The purpose of Connects is to help ensure that freelancers are submitting high-quality proposals for jobs they are truly interested in.