The freelance economy is a big deal right now. With so many people looking to connect or ways to make money online, Upwork has been a popular option for connecting buyers with sellers of various services. Formerly two separate companies (Odesk and Elance), Upwork is the new name of the merged platform. How easy is it to make extra money? Here are the facts about getting started and how much money you can expect to make.
Ways to Make Extra Money on Upwork
With 12 million freelancers competing for work on the platform, you can expect that there is quite a bit of variety of tasks being sold. Like Fiverr, the sellers present their work as a sort of store-front. But Upwork also features projects that buyers are looking to have done, and freelancers offer bids on the work with the hope of being chosen.
Companies generally hire for business-related tasks. These include technology gigs (such as app and software development), creative services (writing and logo design), business services, and administrative work (things that a VA might do.) Where a site like Fiverr has a variety of fun and entertainment tasks, Upwork seems to be all business. In fact, most of the buyers on the platform as small business owners hiring for projects that directly affect their business. Upwork claims that if a job can be done on a computer, it’s fair game to make extra money via their platform.
Improve Your Skills on Upwork
One unique aspect of the Upwork community is that they are serious about skills. In order to say that you are a native English speaker with experience writing white papers, for example, you could take a series of skills based tests – administered by Upwork – to prove that you can complete the tasks you apply for. While any tasks that can be done remotely can be done through Upwork, however, some specialized skills won’t likely have a test available. Your work experience and past completed projects would speak for themselves.
How Much Does Upwork Cost?
The platform is free to join, but there are fees associated with applying for and taking on work. To bid on jobs, you need to use up Upwork’s own currency, or “Connects.” Each job will require 1-5 connects to bid. This prevents freelancers from bidding on more work than they can reasonably take on, if hired. If a company seeks you out personally, no Connects are required to bid. Repeat business with the same company doesn’t require you to spend Connects, either.
There are two plans for freelancers. They are:
Free plan: This is called “Basic” and includes 60 Connects per Month, protection that guarantees payment for hourly work, and pre-funded milestone protection for large projects.
Freelancer Plus Plan: This costs $10 a month and gets you 70 Connects per month that roll over if you don’t use them all (total of 140.) You can also buy additional Connects for $1 each. Easily see the maximum, minimum, and average bid for any job, making it easier to see where you stand with competitors. You get the same hourly and project-based payment protection as the Basic plan, and you can customize your profile URL. Finally, you also get to keep your earnings private (although Upwork’s own research shows that this can lower your earnings.)
Fees on Earnings
What about fees paid on earnings? Upwork recently implemented a sliding scale fee structure. The fee applies to lifetime earnings, and starts on day one of your first sale. The structure is currently:
- 20% fee to Upwork for the first $500 billed across all contracts
- 10% fee for billings $500.01 – $10,000
- 5% for billings that exceed $10,000
In addition, companies hiring freelancers through Upwork pay a 2.75% processing fee per job (or a monthly fee of $25, if eligible.)
How Much Money Can You Make?
There is no earnings limit for Upwork. Since jobs vary by scope, skills needed, and length of work, the rate for each will be varied, as well. Because several freelancers will be competing for the same job, and the hiring company chooses the final candidate, there is the possibility that price will be the deciding factor. This has led to complaints that providers can undercut and win business away, making it impossible to price fairly. Many freelancers have credited Upwork with being a legitimate way to make extra money, and some others use it for full-time work, however. The potential is great for a skilled worker to make as much money as they have time for.
For example, the profiles of top writers and creative designers range to almost $125 an hour, but many charge between $25 and $40 an hour. Many of the open jobs are clearly looking for “budget” writers; a website or blog may state that they only have $5 – 12 to pay for a top-notch, error-free article with proper SEO and web-friendly layout. The key is to find companies that are willing to pay, and keep them coming back to you again and again!
Upwork claims to work with some of the top names in media and consumer brands, who have hired freelancers through their site. These include InstaPage, Airbnb, Dropbox, ZenDesk, and Tango. As more and more businesses move to allow remote workers and freelancers, additional big brands should embrace the Upwork model of hiring talent, as well.
How To Start and Make Extra Money With Upwork
See also: How to Make Extra Money with TaskRabbit
Ready to get started? Signing up is free. Just provide some basic information and confirm your email address. You’ll then fill out information regarding your experience, education, expertise, and types of jobs you feel qualified for. This information will be reviewed by potential hiring companies when looking for workers that fit their upcoming project needs. You will also indicate how many hours a week you can dedicate to work. Then, you can submit your profile to UpWork, where they will approve it before you can apply to jobs.
Completing Jobs on UpWork
Once approved, you can search available projects and start bidding! Make sure your proposal highlights why you are the best fit for the job and how you will meet expectations. Think of each bid as a job application – because it is!
If you get chosen, you’ll use the Upwork system to communicate with the client, as well as send and receive files. If you bid on a job by the hour, you’ll log into the Upwork time management system. This tracks your time spent on a project and takes screenshots of your work every 10 minutes to show the client that you have been working and make sure you get paid for all of your work.
Once your project is complete, and the client approves your finished work, you’ll get paid. For large projects, you can also set “milestones”. This allows you to get paid at various points in the project, and not all at the end. You can choose to have your funds paid via PayPal (the most popular), direct deposit, wire transfer, or Payoneer. The following fees apply:
* PayPal: $1 fee
* Payoneer: $2 fee
* Wire Transfer: $30 fee (plus any fees the receiving bank charges)
* Direct Deposit: free
You can choose to cash out at any time that your funds are available; this is usually 5 days after the client has paid for your work.