Upwork Vs Fiverr – Which One Is Truly King Of The Freelancing Hill?

By now, we’ve all seen those ridiculously long lists of places to find freelance work online. (I'm in the process of creating my own, but with a unique twist to make it actually useful.)

And while list-posts like that are an invaluable resource for any freelancer trying to kickstart (or grow) their business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by just figuring out where to focus your energy.

In this post, I’ll tackle two biggest freelance platforms on the interwebs right now, giving my perspective on which of these monsters you should really be paying attention to.

Who Are These Giants?

In case you’ve been living in your Grandma’s basement for the past couple years, let’s quickly establish why we’re even comparing these two juggernauts in the first place.


Upwork is the result of a merger between oDesk and Elance back in March, 2014, and, as a result, it’s now the biggest freelance exchange in the world.

The platform is estimated to receive 43 million visits per month, and is said to house over 5 million client accounts, and 12 million freelance accounts, with jobs worth more than $1 billion in revenue each year.


Fiverr, established in February, 2010, is the $5+ marketplace that now ranks in the top 100 most popular sites in the US.

The platform is estimated to receive 35 million visits per month, and is also said to facilitate close to 1 million transactions per month.


Understanding The Key Differences

Despite both Upwork and Fiverr having a huge presence in the online freelancing world, and despite being compared side-by-side in this post…

...they aren’t actually all that similar.

Yes, they both allow you to connect with clients across various skill categories, but the similarities stop there for the most part.

Truth is, these platforms function very differently, and before you can even begin to know which platform is best, you need to really understand those key differences.

In a nutshell, this is how it looks:


Upwork

  • You offer services closely related to your skills
  • You bid on jobs to win client contracts, where scope is set by the client
  • The earning potential is broader

Fiverr

  • You offer gigs that can span across any number of services
  • Clients buy your gig, where the scope is set by you - the freelancer
  • The earning potential is on the lower side (initially, at least)

So… Which One Is Better?

The reason I can’t give you a straight answer to this question is because it’s the wrong question to begin with.

One isn’t inherently better than the other.

Both freelance platforms compliment your freelance business in entirely different ways - as highlighted in the comparison above.

Tapping into either of these can be lucrative -- and you can absolutely benefit from both -- but it’s more effective to master one strategy before moving on to another form of lead generation.

Lewis's Note
To summarize: Upwork is better for finding high-paying, long-term clients, while Fiverr is better for offering multiple high-volume, narrow and repeatable services.

The Real Question

The real question you should be asking has been staring you point-blank in the face since you started reading this article.

It’s not: “which platform is better”. That’s always going to be subjective.

In fact, it’s the same question I embedded into the title of this article… “Which one Is right for YOU and YOUR business?”

And if I frame the comparison in a slightly different way, it becomes a whole lot easier to identify which is the best fit.

Wrapping It Up

Look, I don’t know what business you’re in. And I don’t know what services you offer.

What I do know is, you should be able to take what I given you and figure out pretty quickly whether or not sites like Upwork or Fiverr fit into your business (not the other way around).

If for some reason you can’t do that, then you need to take a step back and figure out what it is you’re actually offering, and what format best fits that offering.

13 thoughts on “Upwork Vs Fiverr – Which One Is Truly King Of The Freelancing Hill?”

13 comments

  1. Lewis, could you please expand on the differences (bullet points in the Understanding The Key Differences section)? An example of an offer that can span across any number of services would be helpful. Not sure what it means that a client/freelancer sets the scope??

  2. Upwork stinks! You spend hours creating your profile and then get denied and their reason is that they have hundreds of applicants!! Why not let the client decide if they want to use you or not? I’m frankly disgusted!!

  3. Thank you for this article! This was actually super helpful for me. I currently freelance on Upwork and was looking to branch out to Fivver, but I may hold off on that… I like the clients being able to set the terms then I can decide whether the job is a good fit for me or not. I have developed a nice, repeatable client base that is willing to pay me the rates I want.

  4. It’s just to use the keyword of comparison for increasing viewership, not useful and wastage of time writer is not professional .

  5. Thanks a lot. It helped me choosing fiverr cuz now i’m in search for creating a routine with video editing so I can be better editing.

    After that, I would certainly improve my english as a non-native speaker and then be more secure to go to upwork.

    Thanks again. Very elucidative post.

  6. Hi Lewis, I am exploring the idea of starting a freelancing platform that is tailored to the Malaysia market. Any suggestions or advice to share?
    Many thanks, Chin

  7. very useful, Thank you for your review and you are right it depends on a free lancer or a employer posting job.

  8. IDK about Upwork its worth a try but Fiverr is the most pathetic place for sellers and sellers are just like sheep which is controlled by the Fiverr. Sellers are bullied, harassed and they impose insane penalties on sellers accounts for the crimes which they don’t even commit.

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