Is Upwork Free? How to Earn Extra this Holiday Season on Upwork

Is Upwork Free

Is Upwork Free?

Yes, joining Upwork, filling out your profile, searching for work, and creating your projects are all FREE. Their service fee is calculated based on your earnings from each client, and a sliding scale rewards long-term relationships.

You can upgrade to Freelancer Plus to market your services more effectively, submit proposals, and stand out from the crowd.

What is Upwork?

Upwork is a freelance marketplace that connects employers with a global pool of remote workers. Upwork has been used by more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies to connect with talented, independent professionals.

If you are a new freelancer or working in a new field, you can gain valuable experience without pitching clients all the time. However, the site is flooded with freelancers willing to work for a lower wage, which can impact your earning potential.

Overall, Upwork makes it easier to find work and earn more money. But you should be careful about which type of gigs you apply for. 

You can also read: Upwork vs Fiverr: Which Job Site is Better for Freelancers?

How to Side Hustle on Upwork?

Create a One-Punch Profile

For prospective employers, your profile serves the same purpose as a general résumé. You will not find a decent job unless you have one.

Fill out the job type you want to do, the specific areas in which you are skilled, and your level of expertise. Because this is all self-reported information, please be truthful. If you are hired for jobs that you cannot complete, your account may be placed on hold or closed. 

Following that, include a headshot and a detailed description of your experience. 

You may also link to a portfolio or specific work samples that potential clients can review. You can also enter your education, the number of hours you can work per week, your preferred location, and your preferred rate. 

If you are not sure what to charge, look at the rates of other freelancers with similar experience on Upwork.

If your profile is verifiable and accurate, Upwork will typically approve it within 24 hours. Then you can get to work.

Make Use of Extras on Your Profile

Your Upwork profile is essential in your job applications and when clients are looking for candidates for jobs. Upwork has added new features to your profile in the last 4 or 5 months that can be extremely useful.

You can now create a “specialized profile.” 

This section allows you to focus on specific skills rather than combining them all into one. It means that if a client searches for freelancers, you will appear in that profile. 

Thus, it allows you to include a customized portfolio and specific details about that skill so that the client can quickly evaluate your profile. 

Fill in every detail and concentrate on skills you think your skills would at their best. The “popular projects” tab has also been added as a new section. 

This tab allows you to describe a custom project you can offer and set a price for it. This section is more beneficial for clients because they can see your profile and which services you provide.

Make a Wise Decision When Selecting a Membership Plan

For freelancers, Upwork has two membership plans: Basic and Plus.


Although this plan is free, you will have to pay to connect with potential clients. On the basic plan, freelancers pay $0.15 for each “Connect,” the platform’s internal token, to submit proposals to clients. Each month, you can roll over up to 140 Connects.

If someone contacts you, you do not need to use any Connects. The more enticing your profile, the more likely potential employers will contact you. 

Simply displaying your best work or emphasizing specific experiences can help you stand out. Volunteer experience is also beneficial if you are new to your field.

The basic plan also includes payment protection for hourly and project-based payments.


This plan costs $14.99 per month and includes everything in the basic plan, as well as the following:

  • Every month, 70 Connects are made.
  • Visibility into how much a competitor has bid for a job.
  • Option to keep earnings private.
  • You can change the URL of your profile.
  • Inactivity never causes a profile to be hidden.

Connect with Reputable Employers

Submit proposals for jobs in your wheelhouse using your Connects. A cover letter, your desired fee, and answers to the client’s questions should all be included in proposals. You may also submit examples of any work that you believe is relevant.

Get a sense of the potential employer’s reputation before applying for a job. Start your search with the Better Business Bureau, Glassdoor, and a Google search for the company’s news coverage.

Like Uber or Lyft, both parties rate each other after completing the contract. Employers are placed on a five-star scale, and their ratings appear on their profiles. 

Your Job Success Score is a percentage that appears on your profile and represents the number of gigs completed to the client’s satisfaction based on client ratings. These ratings help you decide whom you want to work with and allow others to decide whether to hire you.

Maintain all communication and payments on the website, even if everything appears in order. Clients will be held accountable for shady charges or work requests, as well as making claims about your work without documentation, thereby discouraging scams.

Set your Price and Start Working

Always remember that Upwork deducts a percentage of your earnings. The fee structure is based on the total amount you bill with a client over time, so the smaller the cut took, the more you work with a client. 

The following steps are most likely to be taken by Upwork:

  • 20% off the first $500 you bill a client.
  • 10% on total billings ranging from $500.01 to $10,000.
  • 5% on total billings with a client over $10,000.

You can be paid hourly or on a fixed price basis. The fees on Upwork are the same for both. On Upwork, your hourly rate is the price before the service deduction. 

So, if you charge $20 per hour for your first gig, you can expect to earn $16 per hour after the 20% fee. After you’ve billed $500 to that client, the price drops to 10%, and you’ll earn $18 per hour.

The same concept applies when negotiating a rate for a fixed-price job: if you’re paid $400 for a job, you’ll be paid $320 after the 20% cut. Once you’ve billed $500 to that client, the fee is reduced to 10%.

Free Trials Aren’t a Good Idea

Before offering you a contract, some people will message you and ask you to complete a quick trial, after which they will hire you if your work is better than the rest.

DO NOT WORK FOR FREE unless you’re getting paid for the trial. Consider this: if a hiring manager has 100 applicants and contacts 70 of them to participate in free trials, they could pretty much complete the job without having to hire anyone. Do not do anything for free, no matter how trustworthy the person appears to be.

Check The Contract Again

Between the time you apply, and the time you receive the offer, the contract can be changed. As with any agreement, read the offer carefully and double-check that the rate you agreed on is the same.

Communication is Critical

It is expected to converse with the client before being hired for a contract. Whether through Upwork messages or a video interview. You should conduct yourself professionally and maintain a business tone throughout.

Attempt to respond to messages as soon as possible. Employers on Upwork are looking to hire as quickly as possible, so the job will most likely be gone if you don’t respond within a day. 

You should also discuss the requirements with the employer and what they expect from you. Especially if there is anything in the contract about which you are unsure. It’s better to ask than to get it wrong, so don’t be afraid to do so.

What You Reap Is What You Sow

You may believe that you can relax and do things at your leisure because you work from home. Take that thought out of your head. 

If you and your client agree on a project completion date, you must complete it a day ahead of schedule and send it to them. A successful project will almost always result in additional work from that employer or a 5-star review that will help you land your next job.

Work hard at everything you do because you never know what opportunities will arise.

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The VA Reviewer

The VA reviewer is an avid traveler, a licensed accountant, practicing corporate and tax lawyer, and an online entrepreneur. He has leveraged his online job experience and professional qualifications to provide solutions to problems hounding businesses.

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