Last Updated on December 21, 2020

UpWork markets itself as one of the biggest freelancing platforms in the world. There are thousands upon thousands of jobs on there at any one time. Freelancers from around the world bid on these jobs too. Some people claim that they are even making a full-time income from the platform. But, before you sign up, we are positive that you want to know whether UpWork is legit or not.

Well, that is the question that we are going to try and be answering on this page.

We are going to mostly focus on whether the platform is safe for sellers, but we do want to cover buyers too. After all, there will be some buyers that want to know that they are protected when they buy from the platform, right?

What is UpWork?

You can think of UpWork as a database of work for freelancers.

Buyers on UpWork list their jobs, and then sellers can bid on these jobs. Once the seller has seen a candidate that they like, then they can hire them.
Thousands upon thousands of jobs are added to UpWork each day across a plethora of different areas. This includes writing, coding, music, art, and customer service, to name but a few. For many buyers, UpWork is the only place that they will list the work they need to be carried out. Many sellers can also use Upwork to make a decent income.
Of course, this just answers the question ‘what is UpWork’. The real question is whether it is a safe platform to work on or order work from.

Is UpWork Legit for Buyers?

UpWork is perfectly legit for buyers. Of course, there are a few things that you will probably need to do in order to increase your chances of success.
The first is to make sure that you put together a decent job posting. Include as much information as possible for potential applicants. The more information, the more chance you have of the right people applying to work for you. It means that you do not have to go through countless job applicants that are useless.

When you have had a good chunk of applications, make sure that you ask a few of them to interview. Choose the people that have a good history of success on UpWork and those that attached decent samples to their application. The purpose of the interview is to really get a feel for which person is right for you. You don’t have to hire somebody, but you can continue to interview people until you find the right applicant.

You will need to pay upfront when you hire somebody on Upwork. However, this money will not go to the seller right away. Instead, it will sit in escrow. It can be released when you are happy with the project.

Once you have hired somebody, let them do the work. If you do not like it, talk to the seller. Tell them what you want. If you really feel that the work produced is outside of the criteria for the project, then talk to customer support. They will help you out. They may not always give you a refund on the money you have paid, but they are great for providing assistance on how to deal with any issues.

Is UpWork Safe for Sellers?

Yes. That is if you play by the rules. We have heard whisperings of horror stories about how people claim that their account has been closed down for seemingly no reason. However, guess what? Upwork isn’t going to be closing your account down for no reason. It isn’t in their interests. As long as you follow the terms and conditions, they will allow you to attempt to sell your services on the platform.

It is true that Upwork takes a whopping 20% fee from all of the sellers on the site. However, the more you work with a particular client, the lower this fee will end up getting. Therefore, if you want to make Upwork work best for you, then you will need to be on the hunt for some of those longer-term clients. That is how you can make the big bucks.

There are some people that will complain that Upwork is hard to find jobs on. They feel that the job listings are false because they never get any work. Admittedly, it is tough to find work at the beginning with Upwork. There is a lot of competition there. If you want to increase your chances of success, then focus on jobs that are really appealing to you and spend a lot of time writing a quality application for the position. You will find that the number of job offers you receive goes up. You may even get invited to special projects. Upwork is only going to work for you if you work hard for it.

How about in terms of customer payment? When you are awarded a job, the customer has to pay upfront for it. This money will be kept to one side by Upwork. Upon completion of the job, it will be released to you. If the client isn’t willing to release the money for whatever reason, then the customer service team at Upwork will be able to help you. If they can see that the work was completed to the standard requested, they will ensure that you get paid.

We think the only major issue with UpWork is that it costs credits (which you sometimes have to buy) to bid on jobs on the site. This is all well and good if you win a job. However, there are some buyers that will list a job for the sake of listing a job. They have no intentions of hiring anybody for it. This means that if you bid on them, you are left out of pocket. Thankfully, these listings are now few and far between. It looks like UpWork has done a brilliant job of cleaning them out.

Is Upwork the Right Platform For You?

We are specifically going to be talking about freelancers here i.e. those selling their services on the platform.

Upwork is a fantastic platform to get started with making money in the world of freelancing. Plenty of people are successful here. If you are the type of person that is lazy in their job applications, you will never gain work. There is too much competition. However, if you are willing to put in the effort and really show off your talent, you will have job offers coming in from all over the place.

You are never going to make the most money possible through Upwork. Not just because of the 20% fee, but the number of people competing for jobs can push the price down lower than if you approached clients directly. However, if you do things properly, you can build up a nice, stable client base. Surely, it would be better to make a little less money, safe in the knowledge that you have long-term clients?


Upwork is a safe website for both buyers and sellers alike. However, with all freelancing platforms like this, you will need to do your due diligence to really make sure that it works for you.