Upwork Review for UK Freelancers

Paola Faben Oliveira

Upwork is one of the largest freelancer sites in the world, allowing employers to find freelancers to complete projects - and connecting freelance and remote workers all over the globe with companies which need their skills. Using a freelance marketplace like Upwork can be a good way to find work.

As a freelancer you can take on interesting projects from clients based all over the world. This gives you a global pool of potential customers - but can make sending invoices and getting paid a hard work. In this article you will find a Upwork review, to understand better how does Upwork work, it's fees and best practices.

🌎💸 How to get paid by international clients - a guide for freelancers

What is Upwork?

Upwork is the biggest global freelancing website in the world. It works to connect freelancers with businesses who need their skills, either for a one off project, or for a longer term relationship requiring custom services.

As more and more people start to work on a freelance or contract basis, and remote working becomes more popular, freelancing sites such as Upwork have become a popular way for freelancers to find work. At Upwork you can find projects over 70 categories, from web development to writing, and legal services to logo designers.¹

How does Upwork work?

To get started on Upwork you’ll first need to create a profile, highlighting your skills and experience, and the type of work you’re looking for. The platform will automatically start to match you with projects which may be of interest, and you can also browse the site for jobs which appeal to you.

When you find a project you are interested in, you create a job proposal which you send to the employer. They’ll look at your profile and the proposal, and will also be able to see the history of the work you have done previously through Upwork, including the number of jobs you’ve completed and the reviews employers have left for you.

If an employer selects you to complete a project, you’ll complete the job, using the platform’s shared workspace for sending and receiving documents, managing expenses and tracking time, and communicating with the employer. Once the work is finished, you’ll be able to create and send an invoice using the platform, to receive payment.²

How do you get paid on Upwork?

Once you’ve finished your project, you need to work out how to get paid.

Upwork hold project payments in escrow. This means the employer will pay Upwork in advance when they commission a freelancer, and they’ll hold the money securely until you agree the job is complete. At that stage, Upwork will pass on the payment - minus their fees - using your chosen payment method.

You can get paid using the following payment methods:

  • Direct deposit or bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • An alternative payment method like Payoneer or Skrill²

Receive USD from Upwork without expensive fees

Upwork standard currency is the USD, and if you want to receive your payments like a local, skipping expensive international transfers fees Wise Business can be a great option.


With Wise Business multi-currency account you can get local bank details for USD, and other 9 major currencies, and use these details to withdraw your earnings from Upwork.

Once you receive the payments in your Wise Business account you can choose to exchange it to GBP, always with the fair mid-market exchange rate and tiny transaction fees, or spend the USD with your Wise Business debit card, earning 0.5% cashback. You can use your USD balance to pay for goods and services with your card in the UK, and Wise's smart auto-convert technology will ensure you pay always with the lowest possible fee.

💡 Learn more about Wise Business

Upwork fees

If you find an employer through Upwork, you’ll pay a fee to the platform for their service. Starting from March 03, 2023 Upwork now charges freelancers a flat fee of 10% of the contract earnings.³ This applies for all contract types, hour-based, fixed-price or project catalog, but some exceptions apply.

Upwork review - advantages and disadvantages

Still not sure if Upwork is for you? Here are a few advantages to consider:

Upwork advantages
  • Any work that can be done using a computer, can be done through Upwork, making the range of projects huge.
  • Work is flexible and done entirely according to your schedule - simply choose the projects which fit your availability, and write proposals for them.
  • Over time you can build a reputation on the platform, and start to form long term relationships with specific employers.

Of course, there are also downsides to working through Upwork - here are some you should know about:

Upwork disadvantages
  • Although there are many projects available to choose from, you’re in a global marketplace, and it can be hard for newer freelancers to get their first few jobs.
  • Before you can even start with a project, you’ll need to invest time in creating a great profile, scoping and writing a compelling work proposal, and calculating attractive rates which will still be profitable for you.

Upwork alternative: Are there other options out there?

Before you decide which platform to use as a freelancer, it pays to do some research into the best one for your needs. There are many different options, including more generalist sites featuring projects which could cover a wide range of skills, through to niche options where employers will look specifically for freelancers with a specific skill, like design or coding.

Here are some generalist freelance platforms to get your search started:

Fiverr - famous for the fact that project bids always start at $5 - this lends itself to small projects such as single blog posts and small design jobs.

PeoplePerHour - this platform offers some project management tools for employers, which can make it a simple way for them to source freelancers and manage their project through to completion.

Final Thoughts

Upwork is a good option for many freelancers, as the range of projects available is huge. You could be lucky and find a great client who wants a long term relationship with a freelancer for ongoing jobs - although you’ll probably find you need to hustle a bit at first to build a reputation on the site, and make yourself attractive to the best employers out there.

Once you’re set up, it’s time to think about how to get your income from overseas clients back into the UK. A great way to do this - and avoid high fees and poor exchange rates - is to get yourself a Wise Business multi-currency account. Check out how Wise can help you pay less in exchange fees, so you can keep more of your hard earned income.

💡 Learn more about Wise Business


1.About Upwork
2.Upwork - How it works
3.Upwork fees

Sources last checked March 30, 2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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