Upwork is the product of a merger between oDesk and Elance. It’s currently one of the best-known platforms for anyone looking for a freelance job or a remote employee.

Upwork is popular because it’s enormous. It’s been around for over ten years and boasts millions of freelancers in many fields. But its strengths are also its weaknesses. Luckily, there are plenty of Upwork competitors out there to consider.

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Why you should use an alternative to Upwork

Posting a job on Upwork can be a hassle. The sheer number of applicants to any job can be overwhelming, and some applicants will mass-apply to jobs they aren’t qualified for. Sorting through irrelevant responses can be a job in and of itself.

Yes, Upwork has a rating system for freelancers. Still, that rating system doesn’t show how readily a freelancer communicates and other essential work habits you should observe before hiring someone. Plus, the system benefits those on the platform longer, so you may overlook great freelancers just because they’re new to Upwork.

Upwork’s messaging platform and payment systems are cumbersome and rife with bugs. Communicating — especially with multiple freelancers — can be a giant pain.

Hiring and working with freelancers through the platform can also be quite costly. (In fact, we save over $30,000 every year by not using Upwork.)

Upwork may be the biggest name in the game, but many Upwork competitors out there get the job done without the downsides. Whether you want an alternative platform or an in-house process to find and hire content creators, we’ve got you covered.

Sites like Upwork:

The best Upwork competitors and alternatives

1. Fiverr


Fiverr is the world’s largest online marketplace for on-demand freelance services. They initially offered $5 services, but that has since changed.

You can find about any service you want for five bucks or more, including users who will design a t-shirt, prank call someone, beatbox your name, and many other wild services.

What makes it different from Upwork?

  • You can post a project or browse gig offers to find something that fits your requirements.
  • Fiverr is best for specific gigs with predetermined outcomes.
  • High-rated sellers and Pro-level providers charge way more than just $5. Expect to get what you pay for.
  • Creating an account is free, and you can communicate with the freelancer before placing an order with them.
  • Fiverr is better suited for people who want a gig completed quickly and within a small budget.
  • As mentioned above, it covers diverse services and is less focused than other platforms.

If you want to accomplish a quick, clear-cut job that you know is easy to hand off, it might be worth looking at Fiverr. That said, it does have its fair share of shortcomings. Fiverr won’t always yield a high-quality outcome for you or your business compared to competitors. Buyers’ options are limited as most power is in the seller’s hands.

Although Fiverr is an Upwork competitor, it has a very different business model and is suitable for various projects for which you would not usually use Upwork.

2. Hubstaff Talent (100% free)

Hubstaff Talent

Hubstaff Talent connects freelance professionals and clients with efficiency and finesse.

This free platform displays a freelancer’s hourly rate, skills, experience, availability, résumé, and languages spoken. Freelancers also have the option to add a short description to provide more information on themselves.

You can filter profiles by skill, availability, years of experience, or country. You can also run a search for keywords or phrases.

For business owners to find freelancers and agencies, they simply have to browse the profiles on Hubstaff Talent, contact their chosen freelancers directly, decide on work terms, and get started.

Agencies can start a profile and add team members to be found by business owners. Freelancers only need to create a profile, get found and contacted, and then hit the ground running.

Here’s what makes Hubstaff Talent different as an Upwork competitor.

  • It’s a free directory for companies looking for remote talent globally.
  • There are no markups or fees on either side (freelancer or business owner). That means freelancers get what their client pays them.
  • Because there are no fees, Hubstaff Talent takes a minimal role in the pairing and agreements between clients and talent.
  • There are no fees levied on projects or hourly work.
  • Employers are free to contact freelancers, interview them, and hire them at no charge.
  • You can also add Hubstaff time tracking software, which includes invoicing and payroll options via PayPal, Bitwage, and Payoneer.
  • Hubstaff paid plans start at $7 for a single user per month.

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3. Credo


One of the biggest problems with freelance marketplaces is that you just have to trust freelancers who say they’re good at what they do.

You can check their portfolios, but that’s not always a great indication of the quality of their work. Credo aims to solve that issue by vetting their providers before listing them on the site.

Unlike many freelance marketplaces, Credo specializes in a very narrow field: SEO and digital marketing. When you land on the site, you can choose from a list of services you’re interested in, including:

  • SEO consulting 
  • SEO site audits
  • Content marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Link building
  • Facebook ads
  • PPC
  • Paid social ads
  • Online reputation management
  • WordPress development

Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a list of providers you can choose from. And because the founder of Credo has closely vetted those providers, you can be confident that you’re getting top-notch talent for your project.

How does Credo compare to Upwork?

  • The Credo process is more like a concierge service that guides you throughout your project.
  • They vet every agency and consultant in their network.
  • The Credo team contacts you to make the right recommendations and introductions in under 24 hours.
  • Credo reaches out to potential agencies and freelancers who are the best fit.
  • Credo helps with project proposal reviews and clarifications and then checks in occasionally to ensure the project is progressing well.

4. Freelancer


With over 20 million projects posted and over 50 million users, Freelancer is a massive and constantly growing Upwork alternative offering similar benefits.

For employers and small businesses, signing up and getting started on Freelancer is quick and easy. You post a project to get started, fill out project details, add job skills and pricing options, and attach project files for applicants to peruse.

Alternatively, employers can contact a freelancer they find attractive for the job.

Once you submit your job, freelancers will bid on your project. Once the project is completed, businesses can rate and review their freelancer.

Freelancer.com and Upwork are very similar in their offerings. The only significant difference is pricing, access to tools for the subscription level, and the quality of the tools they provide.

Here are some key differences to note with this Upwork competitor.

  • Pricing on Freelancer.com varies from $3 to 3% of the project cost, depending on which is greater. You can purchase updates at an extra cost for things like priority, full-time work, NDA, etc. This is comparable to Upwork’s base plan (2.75% of the project cost).
  • Contests allow you to assign freelancers projects and pick a winner. While it is free to post a contest, you will need to provide prize money. You can also add upgrades to extend the contest, assign priority, NDA, etc. One big downside of hosting a contest is that many freelancers don’t enter because they don’t want to create spec work for free.
  • Don’t wish to manage your projects? You can consider adding a project manager to your project. However, fees will differ depending on the size of the project.

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5. Outsourcely


Outsourcely was born from the limitations and costs of using platforms like Odesk, Elance, and Freelancer for many years. The main frustrations the founders of Outsourcely wanted to solve were the difficulty of finding reliable freelancers, high payment processing fees, and needing help to hire directly.

In solving these differences, Outsourcely stands out as an Upwork alternative. Here is how it’s different:

  • The talent on Outsourcely is primarily looking for long-term remote work opportunities.
  • Outsourcely allows employers to interview and hire talent directly without any involvement from Outsourcely.
  • Employers can pay talent directly without extra fees being levied.
  • Prospective employers can interview and hire talent with real-time communication tools built into the platform, including real-time private chat, browser-to-browser video and voice calling, video and voice messaging, or direct email. This makes the hiring process much quicker and easier.
  • Like Upwork, you can find a freelancer through a skills search or by posting a remote job.
  • Employers can manage their remote team via the Outsourcely Team Workplace platform or even invite their existing staff to Outsourcely to use a single management tool.

Employers can choose from three pricing plans depending on their needs:

  • Free: 1 job post per month
  • Small Business ($79/month): 5 job posts and 100 connections per month
  • Professional ($229/month): 30 job posts and 500 connections per month

Outsourcely does offer the ability to create a free job post to get a taste of the platform. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you think something else is better.

6. Textbroker


If you’re looking for high-quality freelance writing services, Textbroker could work for you. Like Fiverr, this site is an Upwork alternative but runs things differently.

Textbroker guarantees your work gets done — even if your writer gets sick, can’t complete the job, or simply decides not to.

How does Textbroker compare as an alternative to Upwork? Here are a few differences.

  • This site focuses purely on freelance writing services.
  • You create an account and get to select your order type, quality level, and set up instructions.
  • You get access to 1000’s of writers from all over the world at different skill levels, as per their star rating.
  • You can then deposit funds to place the order.
  • You get to decide who writes the article and delivery dates.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Managed Service option, which starts at $2500, where a team handles the entire process for you.
  • Textbroker’s API makes integration with your CRM or CMS easy.

Buyers post a content request, and the site matches the request to one of its thousands of writers. Writers are categorized by skill level, and the pricing matches, so buyers choose what quality level they want from their writer and move forward.

The downside to Textbroker is that communication with your freelancer is limited. And, again, you get what you pay for, so if you choose a lower-quality content writer to complete your task, you’re likely to get low-quality work.

While the site boasts some high-quality writers, you may be better off forming more personable relationships with writers directly, especially since content is such a nebulous field with many gray areas.

7. Workhoppers


Workhoppers is the anti-thesis of Upwork-type freelance sites and was designed for companies to find and hire professionals in their city.

How is Workhopper different from Upwork?

  • No commissions are paid. Instead, you’ll pay a monthly plan with fees as low as $19 per month.
  • Can find freelancers who work in your local area for full-time, part-time, or contract roles.
  • A matching algorithm provides a curated list of potential candidates instead of having people apply or having to hunt them down.
  • You save time by contacting candidates directly and immediately.
  • You get to negotiate terms with the candidate, saving time and money.

With Workhoppers, there are no bidding or complicated processes to estimate the cost of a project.

Workhoppers believe in the advantages of working face-to-face, even if it’s just once a month over a coffee. Companies and “workhoppers” can communicate directly and agree together on the terms of the contract. It uses a robust matching algorithm to highlight the most qualified freelancers. That means you don’t have to go through the sorting process.

Once the job is completed, businesses can review their freelancer. All companies and jobs are vetted before they can be posted on the site.

The site intends to encourage companies to hire and meet with freelancers in their communities. This focus on long-term relationships is better for everyone.

The downside of Workhoppers is that, depending on where you live, the cost of a local freelancer could be higher. Our 2017 Global Freelancing Trends survey showed that freelancers in places with higher living costs charge more.

You can specify that you are seeking a freelancer in another city, but you’ll need to establish trust since there is no escrow payment processing. The site is an excellent option for projects that require meeting face-to-face.

8. FreeUp


Nathan Hirsch created FreeUp (formerly Freeeup) to help users quickly access top talent. Nathan initially started vetting freelancers for eCommerce businesses like his and then branched out into other skill sets as demand grew for the service.

How is FreeUp different from Upwork?

  • First off, it is not a job-matching board.
  • The candidates available possess various skill sets, not limited to one focus area.
  • As part of building its talent pool, FreeUp vets candidates for you based on skills, attitude, and communication. They only allow the top 1% into the network.
  • They offer one to three handpicked, pre-vetted candidates based on your work request, usually within 24 hours.
  • When candidates require specific knowledge or software expertise, FreeUp will recruit and interview for you outside their marketplace at no cost.
  • Once introductions to potential candidates have been made, you can communicate with them via email, Skype, or phone.
  • FreeUp handles weekly freelancer payments via credit card, PayPal retainer, and ACH for U.S. clients.
  • There are no sign-up fees or monthly fees. They make money off the difference in the hourly rate.

​​Again, paying your freelancers directly can save you thousands of dollars. Freelancers are only given assigned work after their hours have been approved.

When it comes to suggested candidates, you have no obligation to hire them. Instead, you can provide feedback to FreeUp to help find candidates that would best suit your project or work requirements.

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9. PeoplePerHour


PeoplePerHour is similar to Upwork because it offers a trusted dynamic platform where you can post a job and have freelancers apply. However, it also offers popular requests at a fixed price. Freelancers get to define these requests (known as hourlies) and their prices.

In what other ways does PeoplePerHour differ as an Upwork competitor?

  • It is free to set up an account.
  • There are no fees involved in hiring a freelancer but payment processing fees when using a credit/debit card or PayPal will be passed on to you.
  • Posting a Job on PPH is free. If you want to feature your job listing there is a fee.
  • You can browse “Hourlies,” which are fixed price offers that freelancers can start on immediately.
  • Alternatively, you could post a job and let freelancers in the PeoplePerHour community find you.
  • Another way to get started is to search profiles of freelancers and contact them directly.
  • The “WorkStream” in your PeoplePerHour account is a single dashboard that enables you to track activity, communicate, and manage payments.
  • PeoplePerHour also offers buyer protection. In other words, it holds funds for the service you purchase in escrow until it assignments have been delivered.

10. Guru


Guru provides freelancers and employers a straightforward experience when finding or posting jobs. Thanks to its security features and relatively low fees, the platform boasts a 99% customer satisfaction rate — an impressive number.

Here’s what makes Guru a notable Upwork alternative.

  • Signing up and posting a job are free.
  • You can jump straight into several freelancing job categories such as sales, development, and writing.
  • You have four payment terms to choose from: fixed, hourly, task-based, and recurring.
  • The SafePay feature provides payment security by assuring freelancers that funds are available.
  • Like with Upwork, Guru freelancers can use credits — called Bids — to apply for jobs. They receive 10 Bids every month with the free membership.
  • Freelancers working on the same project can work together through WorkRooms, Guru’s built-in collaboration spaces.
  • Employers can post unlimited jobs and use SafePay and WorkRooms at zero cost.

Freelancers can use Guru for free, but it also has a paid membership that unlocks additional benefits. This includes more bids, lower job fees, and the ability to message employers directly.

Guru charges employers a 2.9% handling fee for every invoicing transaction. You can get a 100% cashback by paying via wire transfer or eCheck, Guru’s in-app wallet.

11. 99designs


99designs doesn’t bill itself as a “freelance marketplace” like the other platforms on this list but performs the same core function. However, 99designs focuses exclusively on graphic design services and has gained recognition as one of the best ones in that regard.

What makes 99designs stand out?

  • The platform lets you select from several design templates for logos, web pages, book covers, and more.
  • There are two ways to get your projects done:
    • You can provide your design needs, budget, and deadlines to 99Designs. They will find a designer to do the job for you while you wait.
    • You can directly contact designers through the platform and negotiate and collaborate with them yourself.
  • You’ll be able to view portfolios, which gives you an idea of a designer’s capabilities before you decide to hire them. An experienced designer will have a strong creative portfolio that showcases unique skills, creativity, and style.
  • They offer a premium service called Studios, which aims toward projects that require creative campaigns instead of design pieces.
  • 99designs performs quality checks on designer submissions to an extent before presenting them to you. This means that you can expect quality work virtually every time.

Like Freelancer.com, 99designs allows you to host your own contests.

You will submit project specifications, choose a prize from 99designs’s pricing packages, and receive submissions from several competing designers. The award goes to the author of the design you select (i.e., the “winner” of the contest).

99designs charges fees based on the designer’s level. Entry-level designers pay a 15% fee for every project, mid-level designers pay 10%, and top-level designers pay 5%.

12. Toptal


Toptal is short for “top talent,” which should give you an idea of what they stand for. Of the many freelancer applications they receive per month, they end up hiring less than 3%. This demanding screening process ensures only the highest quality of freelance talent will work on your projects.

Why should you consider Toptal as a good alternative to Upwork?

  • Toptal’s application process essentially eliminates the possibility of working with underqualified freelancers.
  • You can assemble a team of project managers, designers, and developers all on the platform.
  • Toptal has freelancers specializing in various industries ranging from health care to entertainment.
  • Unlike in other freelancing platforms, you cannot browse freelancer profiles. Toptal will do the matchmaking for you based on your needs.

One can argue that Toptal is the polar opposite of Upwork and Fiverr. While Fiverr and other freelancing platforms connects freelancers with clients who just need one-time jobs done, Toptal is for clients looking to work with specialists in a more steady capacity. That said, Toptal isn’t the best option unless you’re one of the latter. This makes Toptal one of the best Fiverr and Upwork alternatives.

While Toptal doesn’t provide pricing information on its website, many review sites agree that it charges more expensive fees than its counterparts.

Toptal’s value stands out when you need to complete a complex project immediately but don’t have time to hire and onboard new employees. You might want to look elsewhere if you’re looking for quick, affordable, one-time jobs.

Consider a comprehensive team management platform

In addition to Hubstaff Talent, you can manage your team’s time and projects with Hubstaff.

Hubstaff time tracking allows you to add skilled freelancers and contractors to easily track their work hours and get paid quickly and accurately. Teams in e-commerce, software development, staffing, and recruitment also use Hubstaff to work efficiently daily.

Hubstaff offers Agile project management features that use visual project boards and detailed tasks to keep your team on the same page. Assign tasks to quality freelancers and contractors and get progress updates as they work on projects.

Plan Sprints, automate workflows and set deadlines so that handing off projects to outside professionals is easy and streamlined.

What are your favorite Upwork alternatives

No matter which Upwork alternatives you choose to work with, remember that you need a reliable solution to manage your team of quality freelancers or remote teams. Many Upwork options outlined above are enticing, but remember that you can choose the best Upwork alternative for your business.

Do you prefer to hire on Upwork, or have you used any of the alternatives above? Did we miss your favorite Upwork alternative? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you looking to hire a WordPress developer? Check out this Freelancer to Agency Series on how to hire freelance WordPress developers for your agency.

This post was originally published in March 2016. We updated it in October 2023 for accuracy and included more relevant platforms.

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Category: Workforce Management