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Upwork Review: Is Upwork a Legit Way To Find Jobs Online in 2022?

In this Upwork review, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of this freelancing platform, how it works, and whether Upwork is a legit way to find an online job in 2022.

Is Upwork Legit?

Yes, Upwork is a legitimate site for freelancers to find online work.

What is Upwork?

Upwork is a freelancing platform for independent freelancers and agencies, as well as businesses looking to outsource work to connect and collaborate remotely. Freelancers can sign up and bid on jobs posted by companies or be invited to jobs directly through the website.

Upwork as a whole is geared toward serious freelancers and clients that are looking for a higher end experience compared to a platform like Fiverr. In this Upwork review, we’ll break down why this platform is a great option for freelancers looking for either short-term or long term work.

How Upwork Works for Freelancers

Upwork Review
Overall, Upwork is one of the best online platforms for freelancers. It offers a variety of job categories, project types, and you can set your own rates.


  • Payment protection
  • Variety of project structures
  • Higher paying clients
  • No minimum withdrawal


  • High fees
  • Invasive time tracker
  • Unfair disputes

To get started on Upwork, you will first need to create a profile. Profiles include your name, photo, an eye-catching description, and a spot to upload work samples to your portfolio. Also visible on your profile are Upwork reviews from past jobs, total earnings on the Upwork platform, and total hours worked.

An example freelancer profile on Upwork

You can browse through active job offers on Upwork’s marketplace and apply, or post a fixed-price project that clients can purchase.

You apply to jobs using “Connects”, a type of point system that Upwork uses. Higher priced jobs or jobs that are in more demand will require more Connects. You get free Connects every month, and can earn additional Connects by responding to interviews, and passing the Upwork Readiness Test. You can also purchase extra Connects, but it is definitely not necessary.

Once you’ve submitted a proposal or a client has purchased your service, you can get to work. All messaging, payment, and invoicing is handled directly on Upwork’s platform. Upwork does have a chat feature for communicating with clients.

They also provide a work diary for hourly projects, and an escrow system for fixed-priced projects. Once you log your time or submit your work, the client will be invoiced or approve the milestone, and your payment will be released.

These features are in place to offer freelancers Payment Protection, so that you can be sure that you’ll get paid for your work. (We’ll go into more detail on this later.)

Can You Actually Make Money on Upwork?

Yes, you can make money on Upwork, and even become a full time freelancer on the platform.

Earnings from real Upwork freelancers
Earnings from real Upwork freelancers

There are several different ways to start freelancing on Upwork. You can browse through Upwork’s marketplace, and submit a proposal to any active job offer. The marketplace has categories, filters, and a search bar so that you can find jobs that are the best match for your skills.

Alternatively, you can post your own fixed-priced projects and wait for clients to come to you.

Once you’ve built a reputation on the platform, you may start getting invited to apply to jobs as soon as they’re posted.

To see how much others have earned on Upwork, you can search through the marketplace of freelancers to see others’ total earnings from the platform. Regardless of how you choose to find your freelance work, there are plenty of new job opportunities available every day on Upwork.

Upwork Review: Pros & Cons

In this Upwork review, we’ll cover both the good and the bad of this freelancing platform. Here are a few of the pros and cons:


​​Payment protection

One benefit of using Upwork over other platforms is that they provide Payment Protection. Upwork Payment Protection is in place to protect both freelancers and clients. Here’s how it works:

  • For hourly contracts, as long as hours are logged with the Upwork Desktop App and meet Upwork’s Hourly Protection criteria, you will be paid for any time that you invoice the client
  • For fixed price projects and milestones, the client deposits funds into escrow before you start working. Once you submit work, they have the option to approve the work and release funds or request changes. Escrow funds will be automatically released after 14 days if your client does not approve the work or request changes.

Variety of project structures

A freelancing platform like Fiverr is great for quick, fixed-price projects, but Upwork is a much better option for more project flexibility. Here are a few of the project options you have:

Hourly Contracts

When you bid on an hourly contract job, you set your rate and bill your client hourly. This is a great option for longer term projects, or projects that are difficult to charge by milestone.

Fixed Price Contracts

With fixed price contracts, you have the option of setting milestones to be paid throughout the project, or setting a single price that is paid as a lump sum at the end of the project.

Fixed Price Projects

Fixed price projects are project packages that you put together and post, extremely similar to Fiverr Gigs. Clients can search for and purchase these project packages from you at the rate you set.

Retainer Pricing

Another unique feature of Upwork is that it makes it easy to set up retainer pricing. This project structure will automatically bill your client a set amount every week until your contract ends.


Upwork has recently added a consultation option. You choose when you’re available and set your rate, then clients can come to you for consulting sessions.

Higher paying clients

There is a wide range of clients you’ll find on Upwork, but from personal experience, you can typically find higher paying clients on Upwork than you would on a platform like Fiverr. Although there are fixed price projects, the majority of clients on Upwork are searching for freelancers they can work with long term.

Upwork also has enterprise clients. These are clients from larger companies who are willing to pay higher prices for higher quality work. If you are a top-rated freelancer, this will increase your chances of enterprise clients finding you, and potentially having Upwork recruiters reach out to you to work with enterprise clients.

No minimum withdrawal

On Upwork there is no minimum withdrawal.

There is a $100 minimum for scheduled withdrawals. But, you can always go into your Reports page and click the “Get Paid” button to withdraw your available earnings any time. (Upwork does have a 5 day security period for payments, so you’ll need to wait until this time passes before you’re able to use the “Get Paid” button).

Agency Options

If you would like to take your freelancing to the next level, Upwork also offers options for agencies using the platform. With an agency account, you can have multiple team members and bid on job postings on their behalf, or as an agency. This opens up the opportunity for finding jobs on Upwork that may be too large in scope for a single freelancer.


High fees

Although Upwork does offer more features than many other freelance platforms, it comes at a price. The fees can be quite hefty, ranging from 20% when you start a project, down to 5% if you have a long term or high priced contract with a client.

Invasive time tracker

The Upwork Desktop App is clunky, slow, and downright invasive. The app will randomly take and upload 6 screenshots per hour of your entire screen – that’s right, the entire screen. If you have passwords, emails, a message pop up, or any other personal information open, there’s the potential this will be captured in the screenshot and visible to your client.

Using the Upwork Desktop App also doesn’t make sense for all types of work, and unfortunately any manual time entered is not covered under Upwork’s Payment Protection in the event that the client opens a dispute.

Upwork desktop time tracking app

For some, the Upwork Desktop App is worth it to ensure that you’re covered under Upwork’s Payment Protection. Personally, I avoid clients that have an issue with manual time. If they don’t trust me to enter my own time, I would rather not work with them.

Unfair disputes

We’ve all had bad clients. With Upwork, if things get out of hand, you have the option to open a dispute. Unfortunately, as many people have reported in the Upwork Community, Upwork will review your dispute, but will almost always side with the client.

Is Upwork Free?

Yes, Upwork is completely free to use. I’ve earned over $100k on the platform and have never paid a dime.

Upwork does offer an upgraded account type called Freelancer Plus which costs $14.99/mo. Freelancer Plus includes the following advantages:

  • Being able to see bid ranges on jobs
  • Extra Connects every month
  • A customizable profile URL
  • Confidential earnings

If you don’t want the full Freelancer Plus plan, you can also purchase extra Connects separately.

How Much Are Upwork Fees?

Upwork takes a percentage of your earnings. This percentage is based on your lifetime earnings with each client:

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill a client
  • 10% for total billings between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings over $10,000

Unfortunately, these fees still apply to contracts with Upwork Enterprise clients. Upwork Enterprise contracts typically have a 10% fee that does not change throughout the duration of the contract, even if you bill over $10,000.

How Does Upwork Pay?

Freelancers on Upwork can get paid through direct deposit (ACH), PayPal, or wire transfer. Any Upwork fees are taken out of your total balance before you can withdraw the money. 

How Long Does Upwork Take to Pay?

Upwork does have a 5 day security period for payments. This allows time to process/clear payments, and resolve disputes before payments are released to freelancers.

For hourly contracts, your withdrawal method may affect when your payments are available. Sometimes it can take more than eight business days.

What Types of Jobs Can You Find on Upwork?

On Upwork, you can find jobs for almost anything. These are their current job categories:

  • Accounting & Consulting
  • Admin Support
  • Customer Service
  • Data Science & Analytics
  • Design & Creative
  • Engineering & Architecture
  • IT & Networking
  • Legal
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Translation
  • Web, Mobile & Software Development
  • Writing

How Much Can You Make on Upwork?

Depending on your experience and location, it’s completely reasonable to earn $20-$70/hr on Upwork. Some freelancers will charge more or less than this range.

Can You Get Scammed on Upwork?

Upwork is a legitimate website for freelance work, but unfortunately you may run into some scams. Report any job postings that ask for personal information, ask for free work, ask you to send them money, or ask you to move communication off of Upwork’s platform. Upwork is pretty good about removing spam and scam job postings, but it’s good to stay vigilant and avoid anything that seems suspicious.

Upwork Review: Bottom Line

Overall, Upwork is one of the best online platforms for freelancers. It offers a variety of job categories, project types, and you can set your own rates.

If you enjoyed this Upwork review, take the next steps in your freelance journey by downloading our step-by-step guide to becoming a full time freelancer.

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