Don't Do It Yourself

Upwork Review

Editor's Review

Upwork is arguably the most popular freelance website. Elance and Odesk combined under a new name to become the largest freelance marketplace in the world.  But with size comes a lot of challenges, like being able to find the right candidate in a sea of contractors.

Tip: For higher quality candidates and proposals I suggest trying Toptal. Toptal has the most rigorous screening process of any freelance website.  And they will do the recruiting process for you and pair you with candidates without a fee.

Upwork does have many safeguards to protect employers and employees.  A few points worth noting:

  1. BBB Accredited Business since 2003
  2. Over 1.8 million registered contractors
  3. Over 850,000 jobs posted each year
  4. They have a work guarantee and escrow service that ensures you only pay for work completed on fixed price jobs.
  5. They have Workrooms which enable real-time collaboration and maintain a secure log of all communications which protects both sides.
  6. You can setup milestones to track progress against deliverables for fixed price projects. Milestones helps define deliverables, keeping everything on track, within deadlines and within budget.

Many Staffing Companies Use Upwork

My Upwork postings often result in more bids from staffing companies than on other websites, but that isn’t all bad (and there is a setting when posting a job to exclude agencies – image below).

Elance employer job posting: setting to exclude agenciesThe benefit of working with an overseas staffing company is that they hire and screen their own employees.  Just be sure to interview the person who will actually be working for you.  And just because they’re pre-screened, don’t let that stop you from doing your own test assignment as some duds will still make it through.  Another benefit of a staffing company is if you hire someone for a long term assignment, they’ll often help replace the freelancer if they leave or don’t work out.

The downside to a staffing company is that they need to charge a little more than the contractor might charge themselves.  That said, in emerging markets you can still get a great deal working through a staffing agency.  And there are plenty of individual Elancers you can hire directly as well.

Because Upwork is the most popular freelancing website, it's really easy to reach a wide range of contractors.   I usually get more responses to my job posts than any other site.

Alternatives to Upwork

If you want an alternative to Upwork, try Toptal or any of these other top freelance websites.