Originally published: March 19, 2017
Republished: February 8, 2019

If you have technical skills, finding freelance work to do from home can be very challenging. Upwork is a site that may help you with that. I signed up with Upwork because I thought they were reputable. Then I had to wonder, is Upwork legit? Can Upwork help you find freelance work? I started doing my research and found that there may be trouble in paradise here too.  Afterall, there are so many of these companies out there. It really is hard to find a diamond in the rough. Read on to find out if Upwork is right for you.

What is Upwork?

In December 2013, Upwork was created as a rebranding and merging of Elance and ODesk and has been around since 2003. Both Elance and ODesk are online sites where you can find work to complete from home. It’s a place for freelancers to find online work. The type of work ranges from customer service all the way up to specific types of programming jobs. Jobs can be a once-off job or a longer term job that could last several months.

Who Is Upwork good for?

If you have any kind of technical skills, office skills, or administrative skills, you can more than likely find work here. There are also data entry jobs here so even if you only have keyboard skills, you can still bid on work. If you have more advanced skills such as computer programming, graphic design, or web development skills, you’ll have more job to choose from.


Where is Upwork?

Upwork is based out of Mountain View, California.


What Is Upwork About? Here’s How it Works

Companies from all over the world register with Upwork, much like Freelancer, and from submitted bids, pick freelancers with the skills they need to complete projects.

From a freelancer’s perspective, you sign up by picking a membership type and complete your profile. There are two types of memberships available. Freelancer Basic and Freelancer Plus. Freelancer Plus costs $10 per month. This is not to be confused with freelancer.com. This is simply the names of the membership plans.

When a freelancer bids on a project, albeit hourly rate or fixed rate, the client may want to discuss the project with you via Skype, etc. Once the freelancer accepts the job, the freelancer will fill out a work log for all time spent on the project. A freelancer can request a milestone payment if it’s a long project. Once the work is completed and submitted, the client approves the work log and authorizes Upwork to pay the freelancer.


Upwork Support

To contact support, click this link. You can also call them at 650-316-7500.


When do I get paid from Upwork?

Most freelancers get paid via a personal Paypal account. You must have your tax form completed and submitted on the site before you can get paid. If you live outside the U.S. a W-8BEN form must be completed. You get paid when the Client authorizes Upwork to release a payment through the client’s escrow account.

 Upwork Features

Here are a few features of using Upwork.

  • Competency tests are free
  • Live chat available
  • Support forum
  • Ability to set your profile to indicate whether you are available for work, not available or available in the future
  • Payment Protection Plan: freelancers and clients use a work diary and a team app to track work completed. There are payment protection plans used for hourly and fixed rates.
  • A variety of work to choose from
  • You can configure a search to your country

Upwork Complaints

So we’ve talked about how Upwork works and what the pros are. Now, let’s outline a few things that you may not like so much. Here’s a list of things that might be deal breakers for you:

Bidding on jobs

There can be a lot of competition to bid for jobs. And it’s a fine line you walk. You don’t want to bid too low yet if you bid too high you risk not getting the work.

Tough to Get Your First Gig

When you first sign up with Upwork it can be tough to get your first job because you don’t have any experience for companies to review.

Low Bids Usuall Get the Jobs

It’s a Catch-22. On the one hand, you don’t want to sell yourself too cheap but on the other hand, companies looking for freelancers on Upwork tend to look for cheap labor.

Dry Spells In Between Jobs

Depending on your skill set, there may be long periods of time in between jobs.

Payments Are Withheld Until Your Work Is Approved

When you accept and complete a job, you can’t have the funds released until your work has been approved and paid for. If, for some reason, the job is not satisfactory to the company, they can choose to withhold funds or only pay for a portion of work.

Many Complaints On The BBB Website

Upwork is registered on the BBB (Better Business Bureau). However, there are a number of complaints from freelancers who were not paid for their work, reports that there are jobs that are scams, and too many low-paying jobs. For those of you that rely on the BBB for reliable information this may be a deal breaker for you.



    Using Upwork may take up a lot of your time and you may end up with very little results.  It worrisome to think that you could take on a job and not get paid for it. And even if you are lucky enough to get work, you may not get paid the amount of money you think you are worth. While the decision is yours to make, I think I’ve given you plenty to think about.

    Thank you for stopping by and checking out my Upwork review. Have you decided? Is Upwork legit? Well, I can report that I completed a job and was paid within 3 days. Have you worked at Upwork? Please share your experience. I’d love to know your thoughts!

    To your success!

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    Hi! I’m Alanna Birmingham and I’m the founder of the Empty Nester Blog. This site is focused on helping empty nesters earn extra income in their spare time or full time. I’ve been making my own money online since 2012. I got started for free. You can too. Click this link to get started.

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