I am not very happy with Upwork now taking 20% of what I make. I have had to raise my price just to continue getting 10%.

Does anybody have any suggestions for a good alternative for Upwork? I do use Guru.com but it only has a new job every hour, compared to a hundred jobs per hour. I do have established customers paying me via Paypal, but new customers want to stick with the platform.

Any suggestions?

  • 2
    Are you freelancing in IT ? You might want to checkout Toptal Jul 26, 2016 at 13:32
  • 2
    You're looking at things wrong... you're focusing on the 20% in fees rather than the 80% you've earned. Change your mindset. There will almost always be fees somewhere... 4% for PayPal, merchant fees, domain registration, hosting, etc. It is important to focus on what you are earning, not on the fees you must pay to earn anything.
    – Scott
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:17
  • 4
    I do agree that a site charging a 20% comission is outrageous. Jul 27, 2016 at 13:51
  • 2
    Thank Jean. Toptal looks fantastic, but I don't think my skills are good enough. Thanks Scott. I haven't left Upwork immediately because I do enjoy the 80%. But just because "enjoy" my house, doesn't mean I should "enjoy" with the 30 year mortgage. If I can find a way out I should. Thanks for the pep talk though. :-) I did raise my price Apfelsaft, but the customers are paying more just to cover Upwork's charge. Not my fault, but still, nobody is getting a good deal out of that except Upwork.
    – DandC
    Jul 27, 2016 at 15:00
  • 5
    20% for the first $500 is nothing considering the benefits you get, most important the fact you are guaranteed to be paid, given you follow their guidelines.
    – Prix
    Jul 29, 2016 at 2:10

3 Answers 3


Agreed! Upwork charges a hell of a lot of the Fee. On the top of that Freelancer had to pay withdrawal fees, currency conversion fee, bank fee, etc. and the actual amount which a freelancer receives is very small. So, strategy is to deliver good work, make your clients happy and take them out of Upwork with mutual agreement. Upwork charges a Payment Processing fee to clients as well, which can be a plus point for you to convince them.

Other alternatives can be: http://www.guru.com/ https://www.toptal.com/ https://outsource.com/ https://freelancer.com/

  • 1
    It's actually against Upwork TOS to skip Upwork as a payment gateway (look up Upwork TOS Non Circumvention Clause)
    – The Onin
    Feb 4, 2017 at 9:02
  • 1
    When I use Upwork, I don't have to pay withdrawal fees, currency conversion fees, or bank fees. Maybe you should change your withdrawal method.
    – user45623
    Feb 17, 2017 at 1:47
  • 1
    You can take a client out of Upwork. But you have to pay Upwork certain fees in order to do that. They introduced this recently
    – prat1kk
    Feb 22, 2017 at 7:27
  • @NinoŠkopac Agreed! But there is a legal way to Opt out from the Upwork which ask for Opt out fee. upwork.com/legal (Service section 7).
    – Raj
    Feb 22, 2017 at 7:56
  • 1
    I was banned (albeit temporarily, until they actually read messages) just for mentioning bitcoin as an alternative to paypal when reimbursing me for expenses. Information only - so a client could avoid paypal fees... Now I only use email, outside upworks messaging system. I do not consider upworks TOS legitimate after this ban (a bot scanning for keywords). I would have no qualms about offering a reduced price to someone if they buy my time outside upwork. It is ethical.
    – user400344
    Feb 22, 2017 at 20:55

Here they are mentioning their price:

Beginning in June, freelancers will see a sliding service fee of either 5%, 10% or 20%. The service fee is based on a freelancer’s lifetime billings with each client (across all hourly and fixed-price contracts the freelancer has ever had with that client on Upwork).

You’ll pay:

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill your client across all contracts
  • 10% for total billings with your client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with your client that exceed $10,000

Well, you're only highlighting 20% and not 5%.


I have created today an account on HubStaff Talent. They claim not to have any fees at all. I have not tested it yet to see whether it is true.

So far, I have used Freelancer and UpWork. Both of them have fees. Freelancer even charges you 4 USD for accepting a won project (crazy idea, I guess).

Beside OutSource ( https://www.outsource.com/ ), they have also recently created OutSourceLY ( https://www.outsourcely.com/ ). This one also claims not to have any fees. I guess that they obtain their revenues from the advertisements that they post alongside the useful pieces of information.

The bad thing about OutSourceLY is that one needs to verify their account. So, if you do not feel like contacting ANY of your former employers in order to get some credentials, it is pretty useless.

  • There is no way under any circumstance a freelancer website doesn't charge anything. They need to make money.
    – SmallChess
    Jan 27, 2017 at 1:39

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