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5 Best Upwork Alternatives for Businesses and Freelancers in 2021

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While you might take pride in running every aspect of your site or business, it’s not healthy or sane to do so. In contrast, a freelancer may be on that same treadmill, but for finding and winning quality work. Upwork looks to help these people connect within one marketplace. However, there are a multitude of Upwork alternatives to choose from, and expand your chances of success.

Of course, not all marketplaces are equal, and you’ll want to consider whether your chosen site has enough ‘footfall’. This is only a starting point, as you’ll want to consider whether this traffic (for both end-users and freelancers) is of a high enough quality. What’s more, you’ll also want to consider the charges a marketplace levies, as this could impact your income and/or budget.

In this post, we’re going to look at five different Upwork alternatives, and note why they deserve to be on this list. The first entry is one that has been around the block a few times.

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Best Upwork alternatives to hire web professionals in 2021

These are the five Upwork alternatives that we are going to feature for you (in no particular order):

Number one on the list (that’s in no particular order) is arguably the most well-known of all gig marketplaces. Fiverr plies its trade as the cheapest way to find expertise in almost any area you need.

You could consider it the Amazon of the gig economy, as Fiverr’s paraphrased unique selling point (USP) is essentially “cheap and plentiful talent, at practically no risk to the consumer”. It’s a company we cover in a number of places across the Themeisle blog.

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In fact, this image showcases some of the niches and industries where Fiverr leverages talent and consumer need. We’ll talk about this in specific terms in a minute, but there are a number of standout aspects of Fiverr that make it a key Upwork alternative:

  • Unless your budget is zero dollars, Fiverr can find someone to accommodate your available capital.
  • What’s more, you can find a freelancer to carry out whatever task you need across an immense number of niches – much like the WordPress Plugin Directory
  • The consumer side of Fiverr is one where protection is key. For example, money doesn’t exchange hands until you approve the work, and there is a robust review and ratings system to provide feedback.

The review system helps in a number of ways. First of all, you can see everything you’ll need to know at a glance from the main marketplace screen:

Fiverr profiles in a grid display.

This includes a standard five-star rating (along with how many a seller has). However, each seller is also part of a four-tiered system. This gives you more opportunities to create ‘gigs’, to add more extras to your different packages, and withdraw money sooner.

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In its early days, Fiverr had a poorer reputation than it does now. However, it has gone from a “$5 or no dice” approach, to one where sellers now offer ranges of gigs to suit different budgets.

What’s more, each gig is based on a flat fee, rather than an hourly rate – so you’ll know exactly what you’re spending. In fact, it could be a sound strategy to utilize a couple of Fiverr gigs to carry out some WordPress tasks.

PeoplePerHour is the Fiverr of the United Kingdom (UK), but with no practical digital borders, anyone can use the service. This is good news because there is lots of freelance talent waiting for the next project.

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The PeoplePerHour home page - one of the best Upwork alternatives

While Fiverr talks about “gigs” and has had to drag itself to a more professional foothold, PeoplePerHour arrives with this built into its presentation. It feels more professional, using a system of projects and proposals to make sure the right freelancers and clients connect.

Still, there are some similarities with Fiverr, as you’d expect with this sort of system:

  • You can rate and review freelancers to provide feedback.
  • There’s a dedicated communication platform to help everyone keep track of how a project is going.
  • There’s also plenty of protection for a client’s money, through an escrow system.

The latter is important, as any client will need to pay a deposit upfront to confirm the start of a project. However, any further funds don’t release to the freelancer until the client approves the work.

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Speaking of work, the range of niches is similar to other marketplaces. The needs for buyers will feature digital marketing, quick web development work, and design work:

The PeoplePerHour profile list.

While there are always outliers, you should expect to pay on an hourly basis of around $25–55. This is obviously different from Fiverr and means you’ll want to manage your budget to make sure you can afford the freelancer in question.

We think PeoplePerHour is also a good way to work with a freelancer on a long-term basis. The hourly rate isn’t an unlimited money bag for them. Instead, you could budget for 20 hours of work, and run this type of project almost in a perpetual fashion if you need. Think about tasks such as social media management or ongoing website maintenance.

Guru is one of the best Upwork alternatives, which provides a slick-looking and professional marketplace that targets more formal talents than the others. This isn’t to say it doesn’t offer freelancers working as marketers, developers, and design; but there are also niches that cover legal, secretarial, engineering, and architectural industries.

The Guru home page - best Upwork alternatives

We’d say that Guru looks more like Upwork than those on the list so far. A client will post a job, a freelancer will respond, and the conversation will begin. However, unlike Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, there is plenty of space for a freelancer to state what they do, rather than a few hundred characters underneath a profile picture:

A profile for an agency on Guru.

With all due respect to Fiverr et al., Guru offers professional services to businesses, rather than logo creation for $5. In fact, you can see this in some of the pricing for certain freelancers:

Two profiles on Guru, showing the rates they charge.

You’ll note an hourly rate, along with a minimum spend of sorts. Also, note that Guru also displays how much a freelancer earned in the last 12 months. You could sit and break apart that figure to decide how many hours a freelancer has worked over a year, but it’s really an indication of how well they’re doing at the job.

Overall, you’ll want to consider Guru in the following cases:

  • You have a long-term need and a budget to match.
  • There is only a short-term need for a freelancer, but you need quality work in a professional field.

Either of these scenarios is tailor-made for Guru. It’s a conduit between high-quality freelancers and clients with the budget, so it’s a serious proposition.

In many ways, Hubstaff Talent sits between a number of Upwork alternatives on this list, and Upwork itself. It offers a range of freelancers yet focuses on development niches. What’s more, its diverse freelancer pool also comes with a range of prices, skewing on the cheaper side.

Hubstaff Talent

However, you’ll find that the Hubstaff Talent marketing puts these cost-effective options front and center. The freelancers with higher rates come with suitable talent and credentials:

A profile from Hubstaff Talent, showing the depth of the candidate and their rate per hour.

You will get quality though if you choose the right freelancer, which is the goal. Of course, you should pay as much as is necessary to get the right person on board, but with Hubstaff Talent, you’ll see those costs fit most budgets.

Speaking of which, you don’t only get to choose from an experienced band of digital mercenaries. The search options (and by extension, each freelancer) also specify working at a part-time or full-time capacity. This means Hubstaff Talent can help you find your next permanent hire if you so wish, rather than one-off hired help.

Back to prices and rates, and we carried out a quick search of various pricing brackets to see what variety exists:

  • $1–5 per hour: ~37,000 results.
  • $5–20 per hour: ~81,000 results.
  • $20–50 per hour: ~26,000 results.

So, while our test isn’t scientific, you’re going to get more choices within the $5–20 range. However, this makes no judgement on industry, niche, or talent. We’d expect those with higher rates to provide a more specific and expert service. A quick look at the results for the lowest pricing bracket didn’t excite us with respect to quality.

Overall, Hubstaff Talent will suit those who need someone now, with a humble budget. Consider this Upwork alternative if you want an experience that’s a notch above Upwork or Fiverr, but can’t provide the outlay for Guru freelancers.

The marketing and presentation for Freelancer skew trendy, cool, and cutting edge. As such, you’ll come here to find talents that hopefully match with your exciting vision.

The Freelancer website - best Upwork alternatives

There are two ways to procure the services of a freelancer:

  • Trawl the search functionality to pick out some candidates from the database.
  • Post a job outlining what you want and how much you’d be willing to spend. From there, freelancers can bid for the work and outline what they’d do to help you make it a success.

In our opinion, we don’t like the openly competitive aspect of Freelancer’s jobs, as you can see profiles of those bidding on work, and how much:

Two public bids for a project on Freelancer.

Even so, it’s a useful (and necessary) way to win work. On the other side of the coin, you can seek out suitable freelancers, and the listings are easy to parse and scroll through:

The profile list on Freelancer.

Overall, we’d say that Freelancer is going to be good for clients who want to discuss a project and get feedback on its viability. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll want to be confident in your work and output to stand toe-to-toe with others in the field.

As far as rates, you’ll get more value within the $10–30 range, as this is where most of the freelancers sit. The good thing about Freelancer’s system is that you can gauge the relative expertise of the talent before you pay any money.

Discover the perfect freelance marketplace in 2021

If you run a site or business and need an extra pair of hands, you have a lot of potential work to do. As a freelancer, if you need to find new business that pays well and is reliable and consistent with work, you also have to put the hours in.

A solution such as Upwork connects business owners and freelancers to cut down on the process of finding each other. However, there are lots of Upwork alternatives available, and one might suit you better.

For this post, we’ve looked at five different Upwork alternatives. Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Fiverr. Cheap, popular, and plentiful freelance talent is the order of the day here.
  2. PeoplePerHour. A more traditional marketplace that connects freelancers and clients, with an hourly rate attached.
  3. Guru. This Upwork alternative offers high-quality for a premium price, wrapped up in a professional presentation.
  4. Hubstaff Talent. A marketplace that straddles the line between PeoplePerHour and Guru, at a price nearer to Fiverr.
  5. Freelancer. This marketplace is a cool and vibrant one. There are freelancers to cover most niches, at an affordable price for all.

If you’re looking for help with a WordPress site, we also have separate posts on the best places to hire WordPress freelancers and tips for hiring a WordPress developer.

Is there an Upwork alternative not on this list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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