Fiverr vs. Upwork: Which is the best option for your writing, WordPress, or design job?

In this article, we will take a look at two of the most well-known micro job sites on the Internet, Fiverr and Upwork. Both of the sites are great for finding and hiring freelancers all over the world to do small online jobs or gigs at a very low price. However, each one has its own benefits and disadvantages, and their unique reasons to use either one.

Since the site is focused on WordPress and design, we will specifically look at which of the two micro job sites are best suited for WordPress tasks, as well as design and content creation. In the process of writing this article, we have gone through hundreds of hours and dozens of providers on both sites in order to test their skill, reliability, price, and speed.

Introduction

If you’ve ever tried to hire somebody to do a small online job or gig, you’ve heard of Fiverr. Fiverr is a quick and easy way to pay somebody to do things like WordPress fixes, small graphic design jobs, and content creation for your blog or other site.

In the past, everything on Fiverr cost $5, and was a very small and contained job. However, lately, Fiverr has significantly expanded, and you can spend anywhere from five dollars to over $1000 to get all kinds of online work done.

Upwork, meanwhile, is less well known than Fiverr but offers more flexibility in allowing you to hire freelancers for either a one-off gig, or a long-term assignment. On Upwork, prices are not predetermined; instead, you put out a request for service and a price range, and interested freelancers make bids on how much they would charge for your job.

On Upwork, you can pay by the hour for an open-ended job, or you can pay a one-off set fee as you would on Fiverr.

Testing methodology

In order to test which option is better, we defined several different types of job requests. Those requests fall into the following categories:

  • small-scale software/WordPress development
  • website repairs and SEO (WordPress or other)
  • graphic design or WordPress theme design
  • website content creation

We posted job requests/gigs on Upwork and Fiverr in these different categories. In many cases, we made multiple requests with different freelancers in order to avoid a one-off problem. We then scored the results based on several different factors:

  • hiring – how difficult or easy was it to find a freelancer to perform this job/gig?
  • speed – how long did it take to get the gig completed?
  • reliability – were there issues in completing the gig? what happens when things go wrong?
  • quality – did the gig get done well? were there issues with the freelancers?
  • pricing – how much did the work cost? was it a good value?
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Fiverr vs. Upwork: hiring

Although it’s relatively easy to hire a freelancer on both Upwork and Fiverr, there are several differences that can make one platform better than the other, depending on your requirements.

Hiring on Fiverr used to be extremely straightforward. In the past, everything cost five dollars, and once you bought a gig and paid for it, the seller was fully responsible for doing the work. However, things have gotten more complicated recently. Many sellers are offering multiple tiers of services, and it’s not always clear which tier fits your requirements. Furthermore, many Fiverr sellers now request that you contact them before placing an order for things that are not totally straightforward.

Fiverr vs Upwork - Fiverr Hiring
Fiverr Hiring

Still, hiring on Fiverr is relatively easy, and there is generally no need to wait for any freelancer’s approval before starting a job.

Upwork, meanwhile, uses a bidding system in which you must enter a complete job/gig description as well as provide attachments and other information before you can get bids from freelancers. While entering your job description, you’ll be asked to provide an hourly rate or total budget for the job. Once you enter the description of your job, you will receive offers from freelancers who are interested in performing your job.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Hiring on Upwork
Hiring on Upwork

In our testing, we found that most of the bidders who sent us unsolicited bids either wanted to charge significantly more for the work then we budgeted (and we believe was actual value of the work), or did not seem particularly well-qualified to do the work.

In order to get reasonable bids, we generally had to search the will of list of Upwork freelancers for people who met our requirements and had reasonable rates.  Upwork also allows you to pay $30 in order to get “50% more proposals” for your job posting, although we didn’t test how well this works.

Upwork allows you to search through its freelancer database, and send out solicitations for bids. However, this functionality is clunky, and we found that it was very difficult to use the filters provided in order to find freelancers who fit our requirements.

For instance, Upwork has a filter for freelancer hourly rate, but that filter only allows you to choose certain amounts, the minimum being “$10 and below.” Choosing “$10 and below” brings up tens of thousands of freelancers, so this filter is useless for many tasks which should cost significantly less than $10 per hour (such as data entry).

Fiverr vs Upwork: Finding Freelancers on Upwork
Finding Freelancers on Upwork

After combing through the list of freelancers on Upwork, you will often find several freelancers that meet your requirements in terms of rate and experience. In our testing, we found that we would generally get approximately a 20% response from our solicitations, but of those, several would expect too much money for the job. In the end, we would only get a couple of viable freelancers.

Advantage: Fiverr

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: job quality

On both Fiverr and Upwork, you will get a range of quality work.  Both sites have a feedback option, so you can see how well freelancers have done on previous work before hiring them.  Both sites also allow freelancers to post portfolios of work, so you can see examples of what they have done.

In our tests, we found that both Fiverr and Upwork had pretty similar quality levels.  On both sites, we hired some freelancers who did a poor job, and many who did an excellent job.

Ownership rights

One thing that is extremely important to note is the difference in ownership rights to the work produced. On Upwork, you as the client own full and complete rights to any work that is completed, and you can do whatever you want with it.  The freelancer retains no ownership to the work product.

On Fiverr, the freelancer can determine the ownership rules to some extent.  For instance, they can bar you from using the work product for commercial purposes. This can be a huge problem if you don’t carefully read the rules, since you could potentially hire someone and then later not be able to use the work as you expected.  We suggest that before you hire someone on Fiverr, read the terms here.

Overall, we were extremely happy with the quality of work done by freelancers on both sites.

Advantage: Tie

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: job completion speed

Fiverr and Upwork both have a range of freelancers who work at very different speeds.  But if you need something done quickly, you want some sort of guarantee of completion.

On Fiverr, when you purchase a gig, you generally get a completion time.  In many cases, in fact, you will be able to find a seller who promises to complete the work in 24 hours.

In our tests, all of the jobs we posted were completed on time, or less than 24 hours late. Regardless, if your Fiverr job doesn’t get done in time, you can easily complain and sometimes even cancel the gig.

If your Fiverr job is less than a day late, you can request that the seller cancel the gig, and the seller can choose whether to do so.  But if it’s more than a day late, you can click a button to cancel the order entirely.

Upwork, in contrast, has no real guarantee of completion time.  When you hire a freelancer on Upwork, the site doesn’t even request a completion date.  Some freelancers will ask you what your deadline is, but they don’t have to.

In our tests, most of the freelancers we hired completed their jobs on time.  However, we had some freelancers who took weeks (one took several months) more than expected.

The major problem with Upwork comes when the freelancer doesn’t complete the job on time.  If this happens, there is no easy way to cancel the job.  The only thing you can do is enter dispute resolution, which can be a complicated process where you have to go back and forth with the freelancer.

Another thing to note about Upwork: if the freelancer has completed some of the project, but not all of it, you won’t get your money back for the entire project.

Suffice it to say, if you need something done quickly, you should go with Fiverr.  However, if you have a mission critical deadline, you may want to forgo either site and hire someone directly whom you trust.

Advantage: Fiverr

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: pricing

Fiverr used to charge a flat $5 fee for almost all jobs, but it seems they realized they’re leaving some money on the table, and decided to raise the cost to the client a bit.

Currently Fiverr charges the base job fee, plus $2 on orders up to $40, or 5% on orders above $40.  That means for a standard Fiverr gig, you will pay $7 instead of $5.  Out of your $5 (or whatever the freelancer charges), 20% goes to Fiverr.  So in total, for a $5 gig, you pay $7, Fiverr gets $3, and the freelancer gets $4.

Upwork, meanwhile, charges a 2.75% fee to buyers, as well as a sliding amount to the freelancer.  Most of the time, this amount is 20%.  So in general, if you want to spend $5 on work, the seller will get $4, and Upwork will make a bit more than $1.

Upwork vs Fiverr: pricing
Upwork, Fiverr pricing

Thus, in theory, for the same cost of work, you will pay more for Fiverr; however, you will often find that the same work is priced differently on the two platforms.

For instance, we did a test with content writing.  We paid $7/hour to write a blog post on Upwork.  The work took one 1 hour.  On Fiverr, we bought a similar blog post for $5 + the $2 fee.  So on Upwork, we ended up paying an slightly higher per hour rate than the adjusted Fiverr rate, but the fees on Fiverr resulted in the final cost being the same.

Although this will vary quite a bit based on the job you want done, and the freelancers you hire, you may find that in the end, the total costs end up closer than they may originally seem.

Advantage: Upwork

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: reliability

Whatever job you need done, one of the most important things you need to think about is reliability.  Will you get the job done on time, at the expected cost, and without hassle?

For both Fiverr and Upwork, in the vast majority of cases, you will.   The vast majority of freelancers we used on both sites were good, and got the work we requested done as expected.   However, we did have a few problems with both sites.

As we wrote earlier, we did have a few late deliveries from Fiverr sellers, and a small amount of work that we weren’t perfectly happy with.

A billing scam?

On Upwork, the issues we had were more significant.  There were more late jobs, and one job that was delivered months after we expected it (the freelancer kept coming up with excuses as to why he couldn’t complete the work when he said he would).

But more importantly, we had freelancers who billed us for not doing work on two different occasions.  As part of our testing, we posted some open-ended hourly jobs.  On two separate occasions, we received bills from freelancers who completed their work a long time ago.  One of those freelancers billed us over $100 for work — when no work was requested or done (although he removed the bill when we disputed it).

To us, Upwork seemed more like the “wild west” of freelance, where freelancers aren’t nearly as well regulated or monitored than on Fiverr.  If you’re not able to closely monitor the freelancers, or if you don’t want to have to worry about the resolution process, we would suggest using Fiverr over Upwork.

Advantage: Fiverr

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Fiverr vs. Upwork: so which one is best?

Both Upwork and Fiverr have their benefits, and you will likely do well with either site. However, in our tests, Fiverr was easier to use, more reliable, and produced less hassle than Upwork.

If you are looking to get something done quickly, choose Fiverr. Otherwise, you are best off posting your job on both sites and deciding which option to choose based on the responses.

For specific types of work/gigs:

  • Fiverr vs Upwork for WordPress development: Upwork for larger projects, Fiverr for small bug fixes, changes, or installation
  • Fiverr vs Upwork for content writing, or blog posts: Fiverr
  • Fiverr vs Upwork for graphic design: Fiverr or for large projects, try another site like 99designs
Try Fiverr Try Upwork

 

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