Thanks to improvements in technology and the ability to harness the internet, freelancers and
clients can connect with each other, regardless of where they’re situated in the world. While there
are many ways for freelancers to build their businesses and make connections, a particularly popular option is to use specialist freelancer platforms like Upwork.
Although there are many freelancer sites to choose from, Upwork is by far one of the largest –
making connections between freelancers and clients easier. With that said, however, the site also
charges some of the highest fees in the industry.
There are some benefits to these higher fees. For example, while freelancers are charged on a sliding scale of 5-20%, they then don’t have to conduct their own marketing, invoice processing, or so forth, and they’re assured payment. Clients are similarly charged payment processing and job-posting fees, or may be subject to charges associated with using Upwork’s recruiters to source freelancers on their behalf, but they then also have the platform’s assurance that their hires are fully vetted and capable of delivering on their briefs.
Despite the reasoning behind the various fees, both freelancers and clients can find themselves
negatively affected by Upwork fees, as they add up over time. For clients looking to reduce
associated fees, it generally proves cheaper to hire freelancers who charge a lower hourly rate, to
work on Upwork’s milestone system, or to use the platform’s direct payment option. Freelancers can also mitigate some of their fee burden by charging higher rates, getting interview invitations, and utilising Free Connects.
The best way to see an overall reduction in Upwork fees for both clients and freelancers is to build
long-term client-freelancer relationships, as these can result in Upwork charging lower rates and
lead parties to eventually move off the site completely.