Upwork is one of the most popular platforms for finding and hiring developers. It connects millions of freelancers and employers from all over the globe and boasts online workers that specialize in a multitude of different skills. It's the perfect place to assemble a remote team — or so it seems.
While Upwork has a large user base and attracts high traffic, it also has a lot of flaws. Bidding can be frustrating, and the site's security features could be a lot better. What's more, Upwork's customer support is lacking, particularly for a platform of its caliber.
If you need more reliability and support during the hiring process, some other platforms may prove to be a better option. Read on to learn more about reasons for choosing other recruitment platforms and what we think are the best Upwork alternatives.
Why should you look for alternatives to Upwork?
There are a few reasons you should look for Upwork alternatives. You may want to explore them thoroughly before starting the hiring process. Here are our top three:
Bidding is frustrating
Upwork uses a bidding system where freelancers can set any price range for their services. Freelancers can bid on your project by giving you an hourly rate or a fixed price for the entire project. It seems simple until you realize that freelancers significantly outnumber clients. As a result, you'll probably be overwhelmed by the sheer number of bids you get. What's more, you'll have to spend hours — or even days — going through all of your bidders' profiles, resumes, and reviews to ensure you're picking the right freelancer for your project.
Bidding is also frustrating because you need a lot of time and energy to filter out the good freelancers from the mediocre ones. Unlike many competitors, Upwork doesn't use strict tests or vetting procedures to determine whether the freelancer joining the platform is actually an experienced professional. Finding the candidate with the right skills and experience for the job may turn out more challenging than it seems.
Upwork has minimal security. As many reviewers of the platform have revealed, there are a lot of scammers. Many freelancers are not who they say they are — some are even using the resumes and photos of qualified freelancers to bid for projects. Unfortunately, Upwork has no security measures or vetting procedures in place to prevent this, which leaves many employers thinking, "Is Upwork a safe place to hire freelancers?"
Another concern regards intellectual property rights. Upwork has no mechanism in place to ensure that you are the proper owner of your freelancers' work products. Your freelancer could patent the work product for one of your projects if you don't take the initiative to make them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before they start working.
Upwork’s customer support is lacking
Finally, Upwork has poor customer support. Many reviewers have complained about the platform's inability to address complex issues. For instance, the Upwork support team didn't do anything when a freelance made a massive charge on the client's account and did not pay the money back. This reviewer, in particular, paid $500 only for the freelancer to say — two months after payment — that he wasn't able to do the work and had no interest in issuing a refund. After the issue was forwarded to the Upwork support team, three weeks later, they told him that:
- The dispute was closed because he didn't reach an agreement with the freelancer within the given timeline
- He had the option to pursue the case outside of Upwork
In other words, the Upwork team is slow at providing feedback. When they finally reply to a support ticket, they are unlikely to give any solid advice for getting a refund. It seems they're also uninterested in solving systemic problems such as dishonest freelancers and payment problems.
10 Best Upwork Alternatives
Fortunately, Upwork isn't the only site to source and hire freelance developers. Many online platforms provide all the things this freelance bidding site lacks. Here are 10 of the best Upwork competitors you can use as an alternative.
Upwork vs. Revelo
Revelo is a full-service hiring solution that helps you source, find, manage, and retain top-notch developer talent from Latin America. This platform matches you with the professionals who have the right skills and experience for the job.
All the developers on Revelo are pre-vetted, so you can rest assured that you'll get what you pay for without exception. If you don't think the chosen developer is a good fit, you can ask the Revelo team to find you a new candidate within two weeks at no extra cost.
Here's how Revelo compares to Upwork:
- All the freelancers on this platform are pre-vetted for English proficiency, experience, and technical knowledge.
- Revelo has a big talent pool of senior-level developers trained in Python, React, Ruby on Rails, Node, and more.
- The service team is fast. They will match you with the best freelancers for your project within three days. Once you've matched, all you have to do is interview the candidates and hire the ones you want.
- Revelo offers excellent customer service. It has a no-risk 14-day free trial, so you can try out everything they offer before you decide to join the community.
- Unlike Upwork, which doesn't have a freelancer retention strategy, Revelo offers many benefits you can use to attract and retain freelancers. These include:
- A state-of-the-art office with amenities, a community of peers, and events to keep freelancers motivated
- Premium human resources (HR) services to handle all the HR work for you, from contracts and payroll to taxes and everything else.
- Benefits packages to make your remote workers feel like they're part of your team. These benefits — which focus on physical and mental health and professional development — will help your developers stay in the best shape.
Upwork vs. Toptal
Toptal is another popular choice for sourcing and hiring developers. Unlike Upwork, Toptal has strict vetting standards. It bills itself as an exclusive network with the top 3% freelance talent. What's more, Toptal doesn't just count freelance developers. It also lets you hire freelance finance experts, product managers, designers, and more, so if you're looking for a one-stop shop for all your hiring needs, consider joining Toptal.
Here's what makes Toptal different from Upwork:
- All Toptal applicants must pass a 2-5 week screening process designed to test their communication skills, subject matter expertise, and professionalism. As a result of their vetting process, the trial-to-hire success rate is a whopping 98%.
- Toptal will assemble a team based on your needs. You get to talk to one of Toptal's industry experts about your team dynamics, expectations, and goals. The expert will then introduce you to the right talent as soon as possible. The average time to match with a freelancer is under 24 hours.
- Freelancers on Toptal have specialized skills in advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Unlike Upwork, Toptal offers excellent customer service. Large companies will get account managers to help them make the most out of the platform.
Upwork vs. Fiverr
Here's why Fiverr is a good alternative to Upwork:
- Fiverr is more flexible. It lets you choose from more categories, and you can talk to freelancers before placing orders to customize your demand.
- The platform lets you post a project or look through existing gig offers.
- Fiverr doesn't use a bid system. Instead, the whole system revolves around gig posts. Freelancers create posts for gigs, and if you like their gig proposal, you can place an order.
- Most Fiverr freelancers aren't vetted. However, freelancers can apply to get vetted and become certified Fiverr Pro Sellers. Fiverr Pro Sellers' gigs will all be labeled with badges to show buyers that they're getting the best candidates.
Upwork vs. Turing
Turing is another platform that pre-vets developer talent for you. Like Revelo, it comes with a 100% risk-free two-week trial.
Turing uses its Intelligent Talent Cloud software to hire, vet, and match developers for your project. The software ensures that you get experienced developers within three days. Turing will also consider your time zone, so you'll be able to communicate with your freelancers in real-time.
How does Touring compare to Upwork?
- Turing pre-vets all of its freelancers to ensure you get the best picks for your team. The platform uses AI-powered technology to vet freelancers, so there's no human bias or error. Developers must pass more than five hours of rigorous interviews and tests.
- Turing's developers have over 100 skills, including Swift, Java, Angular, Python, React Native, and more.
- You can hire remote full-time employees as well as freelancers.
- Turing doesn't offer a complete hiring experience. Without a payroll system, the platform puts some extra work on your hands. It also has a limited time-tracking system and a narrow set of skill evaluations.
Upwork vs. Upstack
Another alternative to Upwork you can look into is Upstack. This platform allows you to hire experienced freelance developers and expand your team. You can start with a risk-free 14-day trial before buying any plans.
Unlike Fiverr and Upwork, Upstack doesn't focus on a large freelance marketplace but the best matching experience. In other words, it is more similar to Toptal. The main difference is that Upstack is focused on developers, while Toptal gathers all kinds of talents.
What makes Upstack different from Upwork?
- Upstack vets all the developers who apply to the platform. According to the site, only the top 1% of talent gets hired. All the existing developers have passed a rigorous 8-point hiring procedure to ensure they have the personality, experience, and tech skills required.
- The platform makes it easy to scale developers on-demand. It only takes a few days for the service to assign a new hire to you.
- There's a slack bot to keep track of the main tasks and deadlines. The feature will help you manage your freelancers and see if they're on the right path.
- Upstack leverages sophisticated AI technology to match you with the best possible freelancers. It creates a personalized list of developers for your needs, so you don't have to look through pages of profiles to locate contractors that fit the bill.
- The platform also has a comprehensive onboarding process that brings developers up to speed. It will give you more time and energy to spend on integrating your new hire into your team.
Upwork vs. Arc.dev
Arc.dev, also known as Codementor X, is a freelance platform that offers mentorship for companies and software engineers. It also helps companies find freelancers for their projects. The team operates from Mountain View, California, and Taipei, Taiwan.
Here's what makes Arc.dev stand out from Upwork:
- Arc.dev stands out from its competitors for providing mentorship to companies and freelance developers. It is an educational and hiring platform. The mentorship program offers:
- Code reviews
- Live classes
- One-on-one live help
- Long-term mentorship
- The platform vets freelancers to match them with adequate clients for a higher satisfaction rate. It is one of the strictest platforms out there: only 1% of applicants have passed its six-step vetting process.
- One can enjoy a range of other services for additional fees. For example, you can pay the mentors to check and grow your developers' skills and look at their projects for errors and bugs.
- Hiring times are super quick, thanks to the established processes. You get to onboard a contractor within 72 hours and hire a permanent staff member within 14 days.
- Arc.dev developers are from every tech stack and time zone, so you'll have no problem finding a good fit.
- The platform can also help you build a remoted distributed development team and a co-located engineering hub.
Upwork vs. Flexiple
Flexiple is a freelance platform you can use to hire pre-vetted designers and engineers. Like many other picks on this list, Flexiple will assign you the best freelancer for your project.
How does Flexiple compare to Upwork?
- Unlike Upwork and other choices on our list, Flexiple is not an open marketplace. It only allows you to hire freelance designers and developers.
- Flexiple uses a strict vetting process. The platform reviews freelancers based on their past work and experience and only onboards those who have:
- Strong technical skills
- Worked on extensive projects
- Good communication and motivation
- Consistent performance
- Top-notch reviews from previous clients and employers
- Compared to Upwork, Flexiple is a small and down-to-earth site. Since it's new, you won't be overwhelmed by the number of gigs or posts on the site. You can also reach out to Flexiple's friendly CEO and C-suite team if you have any questions.
- Flexiple doesn't use a bidding system. The freelancers charge different rates depending on their experience:
- Individual Contributors have 1-3 years of experience and charge 30 to 50 USD per hour. Most of them have only worked on a single stack.
- Multi-faceted Contributors have 3-7 years of experience and charge 50 to 80 USD per hour. Unlike Individual Contributors, they have experience in multiple stacks and mentoring positions and have worked on niche skills.
- Leaders and Diverse Contributors have more than 7 years of experience and charge more than 80 USD per hour. They have worked across multiple stacks and products and can lead teams.
Upwork vs. Gigster
Like the other sites on this list, Gigster is a platform that helps businesses hire freelancers for their projects. Gigster aims to provide scalable software development hiring services for companies that can't or don't want to hire a dev shop or a team of developers. You can use it to find a software engineer of any skill and experience, from product managers to CTOs and iOS developers.
How does Upwork compare to Gigster?
- Unlike Upwork, Gigster's freelancers must pass rigorous tests and screenings. The platform gathers top talents from startups, academia, tech companies, and enterprises.
- Gigster gives you direct access to experts on-demand. For instance, you can talk to a UX designer or data scientist if you have any questions.
- The platform gives you the ability to monitor the health and process of your project using key attributes like blockers, team happiness, bugs, and milestone tasks.
- This site will give you everything you need to install and use new software and train your team.
- Gigster works fast. The expert team will help you assemble a new workforce within 3-14 days.
- Freelancers are highly reliable, with a 95% rate on project realization considering the budget and deadlines.
- This platform has freelancers specializing in a wide range of topics, such as:
- Non-fungible tokens
- Custom development
- Gigster will assemble a team with all the key stakeholders needed for your project. For example, a typical Gigster application development team would have:
- A project manager
- Two developers
- Quality assurance
- This website will give you complete licensing and ownership for the software built by your Gigster team. You are free to commercialize anything your Gigster team creates.
Upwork vs. Lemon.io
The colorfully-designed Lemon.io is a site that allows you to hire freelancers quickly and effortlessly. It's an out-of-the-box dev hiring solution that matches you with the best pick for your project within 24 hours. Most of the freelancers on this site are from Eastern Europe, which means you can expect very reasonable rates per hour.
How does Upwork compare to Lemon.io?
- Unlike Upwork, Lemon.io does all the vetting, hiring, and onboarding for you and with you. After you get matched with a developer, you only need to decide whether the talent is right for you.
- Lemon.io requires you to sign an NDA with your chosen freelancers to protect the information and data you exchange with them.
- The hourly rates are reasonable compared to many US-based developers on Upwork and other platforms.
- Unlike Upwork, Lemon.io isn't a one-stop shop. It only helps you locate freelance developers specializing in software and web development. If you want to hire other types of freelancers, you'll have to look for another platform.
Upwork vs. Gun.io
Gun.io is one of the most innovative Upwork competitors that matches clients with freelancers. Like Lemon.io and most of the other platforms on this list, Gun.io counts developers who have gone through a vigorous vetting process.
Here's how Gun.io compares to Upwork:
- Gun.io has high standards for its freelancers. All the candidates have been vigorously screened and vetted for their skills.
- Unlike Upwork, Gun.io offers more security when it comes to hiring freelancers. The platform has a refund guarantee, and the team will help you find a replacement freelancer if needed.
- The transactions are incredibly secure at Gun.io. They all run through Stripe Connect API, so everything you pay will go directly into your freelancer's bank account.
- Unlike Upwork, this platform ensures that you own the work products. Gun.io freelancers need to sign a Consultant Agreement that assigns intellectual property rights to you before the project starts.
- Gun.io's freelancers have worked for many big names, including Tesla and Cisco. This says a lot about the quality of their work.
Which Upwork alternative is best for you?
Upwork is far from a perfect hiring solution. Although it's one of the most popular freelancing platforms on the web, it has many flaws that may bother you over time. Dealing with a frustrating bidding system, security problems, and poor customer support can cost you a lot of time, effort, and money in the long run. Therefore, going for Upwork alternatives like Revelo may be a better option for your business.
Unlike Upwork, which requires you to vet freelancers manually, Revelo handles all the tricky and time-consuming processes for you. We offer a complete hiring experience to help you find perfect freelances for your projects and assemble a flawless team.
Growing your workforce is an essential but demanding side of the business. We help you take your company to the next level by hiring outstanding developers. Contact us for more information and start building your dev team today.