Fiverr vs Upwork: Which is Better For Freelancers?

Fiverr and Upwork are arguably the biggest freelancing websites in 2021, but which is the better platform for a freelance writer? I’ll share my opinions on the debate about Fiverr vs Upwork for writers, as well as my own experiences around commission, customer services and finding new clients.

I share my own experience as a freelance writer, to attempt to answer the following question: Fiverr vs Upwork, which is better for freelancers?

Brief History of Fiverr and Upwork

Fiverr is an Israeli operation, set up in February 2010 by Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger. Initially, all services cost $5, hence the name of the company. This was a gimmick, and in fact, most of the services sold on the platform to begin were also novelties. It was the place to be if you wanted someone to record a funny video or sing a silly song. But these days, Fiverr is serious business. It generates $189.5 million in revenue.

Upwork was born out of a merger between earlier freelancing websites oDesk and Elance. In 2013, the platforms joined forces to create the imaginatively titled Elance-oDesk. Unsurprisingly, the new company eventually rebranded in May 2015, bringing us Upwork. They generated $373.6 million in revenue during 2020.

But which of the platforms should freelancers choose?

Fiverr vs Upwork For Writers

Since I’m a freelance writer, I can’t really comment on the difference between the platforms from any other perspective. I feel like other freelancers, such as designers or digital marketing professionals, should still get some use out of my article, but it’s very much written with writers in mind

You can learn more about my own freelancing story, as well as how to start on Fiverr, elsewhere on my blog.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Pricing

The service fee is 20% for both Upwork and Fiverr. However, Upwork offers freelance sellers a greater advantage over Fiverr. As you do more business with a client, the fees decrease.

While Fiverr’s rates remain permanently fixed at 20% of sales, Upwork adopts a sliding scale, which is advantageous for freelancers:

Total BusinessFreelancer Commission
$0.00 to $500.0020%
$500.01 to $10,000.0010%
$10,000.01 and above5%

NB: Both Upwork and Fiverr also impose these fees on any tips provided to the freelancer by clients.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Finding New Clients

Both Upwork and Fiverr take a totally different approach when it comes to matching up freelancers with a potential project. But the burning question is this: Fiverr vs Upwork for writers, which is better?


The main difference between Fiverr and Upwork is that freelancers do not create gigs on Upwork. Instead, clients post a job or project and freelancers scroll through and apply for jobs.

The main idea with Upwork, is that you as a writer must reach out to possible clients with an offer. A client will post a job first, then the freelancers will bid for that job or project. Although clients who are actively seeking to hire freelancers may occasionally contact you directly, most of your Upwork business will come as a result of you bidding on a job contract.

As a freelancer, you will need to search for a project or job based on keywords and phrases. You can filter out more relevant jobs based on the amount you will be paid, or the client’s own reputation. I’ve found this to be a great way to secure long-term business. Often, an Upwork project can last for months. Since the client has already chosen you from a list of applicants, you are more likely to be approached for further work.

Fiverr vs Upwork: the two freelancing platforms take a very different approach to matching sellers with potential clients and new business.

Upwork also allows you to create a specialised freelancer profile, separate to your main profile. This new profile can be customised to give potential clients a more specific look into your skills and achievements when applying for a job. You can apply for work in different areas using your different profiles, to keep things more relevant.


Upwork is free to use as a seller, but freelancers are only allowed to make an application for a limited number of jobs per month. The platform manages these applications using a virtual token called Connects

Freelancers use their tokens to bid on a job, but when they run out, they have to pay for more. They don’t come cheap, either. It’s $1.50 for 10 but if you want to buy in bulk, you’ll be billed les per connect. The most you can request to purchase is 150, which costs $22.50.

Each month, freelancers are given 10 free Connects, so they should be used wisely. This is the one limitation that Upwork has, compared to Fiverr.

Fiverr Gigs

Finding business on the Fiverr platform is completely different to Upwork. Here, the freelancer is the one specifying the terms of work, not the client. 

When you set up a gig, you can specify how much you will be paid, how long you have in which to deliver the work and other key factors. A client who wishes to hire a freelancer will then browse through services offered by every seller, selecting the most appropriate one. This is the main difference with Fiverr vs Upwork, where the freelancer scrolls through adverts, before settling on a relevant job.

I find that maintaining my own Fiverr gigs is one of the hardest aspects of being on Fiverr. One week I will see thousands of impressions. But a week later, the analytics graph falls off the proverbial cliff, with no explanation as to why. 

I’m sure that Fiverr does it on purpose, to share the love around all of the other freelancers, but I’ve never seen anything to prove this other than internet forum conjecture. The only solution is to go back into the market and spy on the competition. Tweak your description keywords, adjust the pricing and add-ons, and hope for the best.

Buyer Requests

Although just a small section of the Fiverr website, these projects within this miniature marketplace are crucial when you are getting set up on Fiverr. The hiring process here is different to the usual Fiverr model and actually works more like Upwork. Anyone looking to hire a freelancer can post a job request and then the freelancers can scroll through and bid on a suitable project.

However, the difference is that you will only be shown certain projects, based on your gig characteristics. For example, if you only offer services relating to blog posts on music, you will never see a job writing press releases for a sports clothing company. There is no way for a freelancer to search the entire database.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Customer Support

Fiverr vs Upwork support. My own experience of Fiverr support has been, on the whole, terrible.

I have contacted Fiverr support on no fewer than seven different occasions. Only once have they provided any worthwhile help. The first five times, my actual concern was never addressed. It was as if the agent couldn’t be bothered to read my query and tried to give me some cut-and-paste, scripted answer.

After finally getting them to read and understand my problem, they were able to assist me satisfactorily less than half of the time. In fairness, they handled my last query swiftly, successfully and professionally. One out seven is not a great look, though.

I’ve also heard, through Freelancing various groups and forums, many tales of completely unreasonable clients complaining about Fiverr freelancers, only for Fiverr to side with the customer. I’ve actually heard lots of stories about buyers acting absolutely wild on there, generally. At times, it seems like as soon as they see that Fiverr logo, they have a license to abusive to you. I haven’t really heard of anything bad like that with Upwork, personally.

I haven’t had to deal with Upwork’s customer service team as often, on account of the site seemingly having fewer crazy buyers than Fiverr. On the two occasions I’ve been forced to deal with them, I’ve found them to be knowledgeable, helpful and more importantly to me, a lot quicker at replying than the Fiverr support team.

Fiverr Pro vs Upwork Plus

So far, we have only discussed the free-to-use elements of Fiverr vs Upwork. But both Fiver and Upwork offer a freelancer the chance to upgrade their profiles. Let’s take a look at these services now.

Upwork Plus

I talked before about Connects, the “currency” of Upwork. Well, the main benefit of a subscription, which costs $14.99 per month, is a monthly supply of 80 Connects. This allows Upwork Plus freelancers to bid for more work.

The other benefits I find to be negligible. One of them allows you to see information relating to the bids of other freelancers, to help you gauge whether or not it might be worth applying. I don’t think this offers $14.99 worth of value, personally.

You also have access to improved reporting tools, but I find it quite easy to report on my own sales just by pulling the data from my regular Upwork account and copying into Excel. That way I can track sales data from multiple other freelancing platforms in one place, rendering Upwork’s reporting fairly redundant. 

Fiverr Pro

It is free to make an application for Pro status on Fiverr, but if you do decide to apply, it can be very difficult to get through the vetting process. I recently applied and was turned down. Although I was not given a reason why, I was expecting this result since my portfolio is not big enough as I only just quit my full-time job.

I ghost write almost all of my work, meaning that I do not have by-line or any way to demonstrate that it really was written by me. This is on my list of problems to rectify in the coming months, before I decide to reapply for Pro. I’m sure this will help me to pass through the vetting process next time around.

The main benefit of being a Pro freelancer is that your services will appear in a separate section of the website, away from the novelty jobs and the lower quality freelancers. In this section, you’ll find high-end business owners and other clients seeking sales copy, or other content for their websites. 

Additionally, Pro users can browse for projects in a manner similar to that of Upwork and the rates are a lot higher.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Which is the Best Platform For Freelancer Writers?

In my experience, Upwork is the best platform of the two for freelance writers.

When I first quit my job to go freelance, I had no choice with Fiverr but to offer insultingly low prices, in order to attract business from potential clients. I had to go with lower prices than I would have liked when starting out on Upwork too, but nowhere near as low as on Fiverr.

Not only did I find that clients were willing to pay more reasonable rates to beginners on Upwork vs Fiverr, but now that I am more established as a freelancer, I find that Upwork is better for long-term project collaboration. Since the commission fees drop over time with Upwork, you get to keep more money for yourself. That can only be a good thing.

The one positive that the Fiverr platform has over Upwork, is that clients bring their business to you. Although a freelancer can put in offers on the Buyer Requests section, that’s just a minor part of Fiverr’s website. 

The Fiverr model of creating a gig and selling that specific package to a client is great for creating lots of one-off or short term collaborations. Personally, I find this particularly useful when business is slow, as it keeps things ticking over between longer-term projects.

In my experience, Upwork is the better of the two freelancing platforms for writers. 

Dominic Field – Freelance writer and editor

Fiverr vs Upwork – FAQs

Is Fiverr better than Upwork for freelance writers?

Generally, no. Upwork is a better platform for long-term partnerships, as the commissions decrease over time. It’s usually easier for new freelance writers to get started on Upwork too. But Fiverr is good for keeping work ticking over, with lots of short-term projects.

Which has lower commission, Fiverr or Upwork?

Both freelance platforms charge freelancers a 20% service fee. The key difference with Upwork, which is an advantage for freelancers, is that their prices drop the more you work with a client. Once you sell more than $500 to the same client, commission falls to 10%. If you do business together for a total of $10,000 in sales, the rate falls even further, to 5%. Fiverr’s service fee remains 20% indefinitely. 

Is Upwork better for beginners than Fiverr?

From my own experience as a freelancer, Upwork is preferable to Fiverr for beginners. To get started on the Fiverr platform, you have to offer incredibly low prices. You must also work extremely hard for little money and be very patient. It took me more than 6 weeks to book my first project on the Fiverr platform, and it was editing a 1,500 word blog post for just $5. Upwork clients seem willing to pay more reasonable rates to new freelance sellers than those found on Fiverr. I am yet to use sites like Contra and Freelancer, so I have no opinion on those as yet.

Which has more sellers, Fiverr or Upwork?

If you’re looking to hire talent to work for your business, you might prefer to start with Fiverr. It’s hard to find exact statistics for the number of freelancers on either platform. Upwork certainly used to have more registered freelancers, but a recent change of business plan, coupled with a purge of millions of inactive accounts, has seen the number of freelancers fall. Fiverr on the other hand, has more than 3 million active buyers annually and continues to grow at 80% year on year (compared to Upwork’s 18%).

Upwork vs Fiverr vs Freelancer

There are now dozens of freelancing platforms and sites, including People Per Hour, Contra and Freelancer. I haven’t really spoken about any of them in this article. Perhaps that’s a future article. But away from Upwork, Fiverr and the rest, Freelancer is undoubtedly the biggest platform. Established in 2009, the job posting model is closer to Upwork than Fiverr, with clients posting requirements and freelancers bidding on jobs.

I am yet to use Freelancer myself, hence not going into any detail. But from my experience of Fiverr & Upwork, it seems like Fiverr freelancers work for far less money than the others to begin with, due to the nature of the platform.

How hard is it to get Pro status on Fiverr?

The main thing you need to know about achieving Pro status as a freelancer is that, although it is free to apply, it is very hard to obtain. No matter what type of work you do, you are free to apply, but only the best freelancers will be selected. In order to apply, you must complete some basic paperwork, submit a portfolio of work and record a 60 second video explaining exactly why you think you deserve it ahead of other freelancers. It is worth the effort though, as you will be able to charge much higher rates and reach out to elite business owners and other VIP clients.

How do I know I will get paid on sites like Fiverr?

Freelancing sites act as an escrow between the seller and the client. The fact that a site like Freelancer, Contra, Fiverr or Upwork provides payment protection for freelancers is undoubtedly one of the best features. Getting paid is just so much easier with these platforms than without. It takes the pain out of chasing up clients for payments and is one of the main justifications that Fiverr offers for having such a high processing fee.

Does Upwork Plus have a free trial?

At the moment, there is no free trial available for Upwork Plus. A month’s subscription costs $14.99.

How can I win more Fiverr Buyer Requests?

Getting your first Fiverr jobs is hard. You need to obtain social proof, in the form of positive reviews, but getting reviews without already having reviews is extremely difficult. It’s a Catch-22 situation. So the key is to make extremely competitive bids. Offer unlimited revisions, the cheapest possible rate and super-fast delivery. You usually only need a couple of 5-star reviews on your gigs before you start to gain momentum, so offer to work extremely hard on a couple of early projects and take the short term hit for the longer term gain.