Fiverr vs Upwork: Which one is best for Indian freelancers?

Aman Saxena

The gig economy is here. And if you are looking to start or expand your digital freelance work, Upwork and Fiverr are often a place to start.

But how do you decide which one to go for? Let this quick guide help you make the best decision for you. Read on to learn how both the Fiverr and Upwork platforms work and how they compare.

📝 Table of contents

Fiverr: An overview

Fiverr lets freelancers sell a variety of services on its platform. From writing, to video editing to more, companies that are looking for freelance work can easily search and find the services they need.

  • Over 200 categories of freelance work to sell
  • Free to join as a freelancer
  • Fiverr takes a flat commission on every transaction

Upwork: An overview

Upwork is a popular freelancer platform for businesses to find talent for their needs, and on the flip, for freelancers to find work. With a long track record, Upwork helps you find contracts and can even help you move towards creating an agency through the platform. Upwork also has a robust India site.

  • 5 million businesses have used Upwork
  • Free to join as a freelancer
  • Upwork takes a cut of the earnings through the platform on a sliding scale

Finding work

Both Fiverr and Upwork have powerful search and matching options to help buyers and sellers find each other. But they have slightly different approaches.

Fiverr is focused primarily on gig work and completing a service. You can sign up for free and post about the type of work that you do. It would then be available for the Fiverr global audience to find. You will be notified when an offer has come.

Fiverr also allows you to create packages with your services, with each one increasing in offerings and prices. You get to decide what you want to include in each. They are:

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Premium

Upwork focuses primarily on hourly work, projects and building long term relationships. You will have to create a profile on Upwork for free to start. Then you can search projects and remote jobs on Upwork and then apply for the job.

Depending on the type of work you are looking for, you can identify the platform best suited for you.

Fees

The pricing is different on each platform. Fiverr has more of a flat fee for their regular accounts, while Upwork has a sliding scale that incentivizes long term clients and work. Here is how they compare:

Fiverr Upwork
Cost to join 0 0
Cost per earned income 20% Starts at 20%

With Fiverr, you may also run into fees when you withdraw funds from your account, depending on where you want the money sent. If you use PayPal, the withdrawal fee is $0 to a PayPal account. But if you want to use Payoneer or a wire transfer you are likely to get hit with a withdrawal fee. ¹

Upwork has a sliding scale fee structure. It is based on the lifetime billing per client.

Billing amount Upwork’s cut
$0-$500 20%
$500.01-$10,000 10%
$10,000 5%

So for example, if you get work totalling up to $500 with a single client, you will be charged 20%, similar to Fiverr. But the moment that the billing with that same client goes above $500.99, you are charged only 10%. And then only 5% when the billing goes about $10,000 with the same client²

Getting Paid

Fiverr and Upwork have different methods for when you need to get paid. Let’s dive into each.

Upwork

Upwork first requires that you set up your tax status and payment method before you have access to any earnings. Then, the time that it takes for you to get access to your earnings depend on your contract:

Type of Upwork contract How Access after approval
Fixed contract Paid at milestones 5 days
Hourly contract Weekly basis 10 days

Payments that are direct to local bank accounts are only available for US account holders. Indian residents can get paid through Payoneer or PayPal. Once the funds are deposited into either online wallet, you can then withdraw the funds into your local Indian bank account.

Payoneer and PayPal have their own fee structures and exchange rates. You may have to wait additional time for the payout to either wallet. ³

Fiverr

Once the buyer has paid, Fiverr will keep their cut and then disperse the remaining 80% to your Fiverr account after 14 days. You will be able to see your earnings under the Selling menu on the dashboard.

Once the money is in your Fiverr account you can withdraw it. You can do this by going to Earnings under the Selling menu on the dashboard and then the Available Balance for Withdrawal.

Under that, there will be different options for how to withdraw the funds. Fiverr does not have the ability to pay into local currency in India yet. So the most likely option is for you to withdraw the funds into a PayPal account. But of course, keep an eye on PayPal’s own fees.⁴

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Wise offers Indian businesses and freelancers with account details in 8 different currencies to receive payments from abroad. You can use these account details to receive payments from platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. And even if you work directly with customers, your international clients will find it convenient pay you with a local transfer in their currency, and you receive rupees in your INR bank account — with eFIRC for every transfer.

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Premium accounts

Both Upwork and Fiverr have additional premium accounts to expand your offerings as a seller, get easier data on jobs, and to boost visibility. But each premium account can come with additional costs to take into consideration.

Fiverr

Here is a look at the different premium options available to sellers on Fiverr. There are options from the buyer side as well, but if you are looking to enhance your listings, you can look at Seller Plus or Fiverr Pro. You can see how it compares to a free Fiverr Gig account:

Fiverr Gig Seller Plus⁵ Fiverr Pro⁶
Cost $0 monthly/ 20% of earnings $29 per month $0 monthly/ 20% of earnings
Purpose Getting hired for work from around the world Optimize your sales and get more buyer requests Reward high performing professionals on the platform
Additional Benefits A mobile app and guides to succeed on Fiverr Get a dedicated success manager Payments clear faster and better exposure for business clients
Process Free to sign up Sign up online Review process by Fiverr Pro team

Upwork

For freelancers that want more features on the platform, Upwork has Freelancer Plus.

Freelancer Plus
Cost $14.99 monthly
Purpose Keeps your profile active and discoverable even when taking a break
Additional Benefits Get 10 additional connects and a customized profile URL
Process Upgrade online through Membership Plan on your dashboard

Similar to Fiverr, Upwork also has different plans available to clients, on the buyer side. The plans allow for boosting of a job, recommended freelancers and collaborative working. ⁷

Dispute resolution

Life is messy and so there are bound to be instances of disputes between freelancers and clients. Here is how each platform addresses it.

Fiverr has a Resolution Center that can be accessed from the dashboard. You can then select the type of issue you have. This can include:

  • Getting an extension on the delivery time
  • Ask the client to cancel the order, and state why
  • Ask the client to modify the order

Once you have selected your issue reason, you will have to explain why and then submit it to your client. They have 48 hours to respond. You can also withdraw the issue at any time.

Additionally from the client side, they can also make changes and request a progress report from you. This is solely between you and the client, and not Fiverr’s customer support.

Anything beyond the Resolution Center’s capabilities will need to be taken up with Fiverr’s customer support which can be found from the dashboard. ⁸

Upwork allows freelancers to file disputes for these 2 reasons:

  1. The client terminates the job with a balance
  2. The client does not release a payment even tho the work has been completed

Both situations require a path to resolution through the dashboard. You dispute a contract that was ended through View Jobs on the dashboard and Do Not Approve. You will need to provide your reasoning and submit to initiative a dispute. Alternatively, if it s an existing contract, you can dispute it through the dashboardand an Upwork agent will handle the case.

You can review any existing or previous disputes in the Upwork Dispute Center.⁹

The Bottom Line

Overall, for those that are looking to make freelancing a career for the longer term, Upwork would be the better choice. With a sliding scale fee that decreases over time, easy to use system and robust job search, it benefits freelancers who are looking at the work full time.

Fiverr is also great and straightforward to use. But can be more apt for someone who is looking for a side hustle. You are incentivized to complete and close projects, especially with the flat fee. The longer wait time for payments is also better suited for someone that may have other work outside of freelancing.

The bottom line is to understand the type of business you are looking to have now and in the future. Upwork and Fiverr are both strong platforms to help you expand in what you love to do.

🔖 Read more: Upwork vs Freelancer

Sources used for this article:

  1. Fiverr
  2. Upwork
  3. Upwork getting paid
  4. Fiverr getting paid
  5. Fiverr Seller Plus
  6. Fiverr Pro
  7. Upwork freelancer plus
  8. Fiverr Resolution
  9. Upwork dispute

All sources checked as of 8 November, 2021


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