Upwork vs. Fiverr wasn’t a battle you’d expect to see pre-2020 but as the pandemic has surged so has remote worker solutions across the country. As the pandemic has dwindled down to a controllable level, the reliance on Business Processing Outsourcing (or BPO) solutions hasn’t. Remote workers are in higher demand than ever before.
Statistics show that there are at least 5 million people in the US alone who work at least half the time in a remote capacity. That doesn’t include the millions of people who live in other parts of the globe who serve as employees for US based companies. Two of the best known solutions for remote workers are Upwork and Fiverr. In this article we are going to discuss what Upwork and Fiverr are and how companies are using them for their BPO and remote employee solutions and projects while also showing why a BPO solution is most likely better if your aims are focused on hiring quality employees with permanence in mind.
If you’d like to skip the long read and get your answer to what is better, Upwork or Fiverr, now – here it is:
Upwork vs. Fiverr
Let’s see how they fare against each over, Upwork vs. Fiverr, and against a BPO as well.
- Fiverr is best suited for small gigs
- Fiverr is cheaper in many cases
- Fiverr’s quality varies wildly in terms of talent
- Fiverr leaves the bulk of managing the person to you with little help from software, etc.
- Fiverr lets you pay after approval
- Upwork is best suited for larger and/or longer projects
- Upwork can be more expensive than Fiverr
- Upwork’s talent pool is more consistent than Fiverr
- Upwork offers many tools for managing people (payroll, efficiency, etc.)
- Upwork hold your money in escrow when the job starts
- Upwork’s talent pool can be too large and overwhelming
- Upwork is very limited in terms of finding the right candidate
- Both platforms are exploited for reviews and experience for each freelancer
- Both platforms require extra work for hiring, managing and overseeing workers
- Both platforms make it difficult to see who is actually good when you don’t hire the most expensive candidates
- Both platforms cannot guarantee location of candidates as the geography is easily circumvented by many
Upwork vs. Fiverr vs. a BPO
- A BPO solution is much better, more affordable and more practical than Upwork
- A BPO solution is easier in terms of hiring and managing candidates as you have both software and human oversight
- A BPO doesn’t really compare to Fiverr as remote hiring through a BPO company is more in line with long-term and larger projects
- A BPO is more cost effective across the board thant Upwork
So, in summary Fiverr is great for small gigs or low frequency jobs and tends to be more affordable. Upwork is better for long term projects and hiring team members who will require on-going payroll and accountability (billed hours, tracking work flows, efficiency, etc.)
Neither are suitable for companies looking to hire long-term workers who will immerse themselves in the mission, vision and culture of your company. A BPO solution will provide you with remote employees who will do exactly this and, in the long-run, be more efficient and affordable for your hiring goals.
That being said, to start off the Upwork vs. Fiverr face off, let’s go over what they are, what their pros and cons are and then we’ll compare it to modern BPO solutions.
How Upwork works
Upwork is a pretty simple to use website that allows people and companies to hire freelancers, contractors and even long term employees from all over the world. Unlike Fiverr, Upwork provides you with some pretty awesome tools that directly assist project managers or managers in general to oversee projects, bill hours and even track a remote employee’s every move.
As of the time of this article, Upwork has over 10 million contractors and service providers enlisted and looking for work. Once you make your account you simply need to provide your information and a billing method, Upwork accepts all major credit cards and banks. Then you can begin by posting your first job.
Your job posting will require descriptions to help applicants understand what the remote position will entail. It will also require you to select relevant categories and skills pertaining to the job. This is very useful since once you post the specifics of your job on Upwork, as opposed to Fiverr, you actually can both pick and wait for candidates. In other words, candidates who fall under these categories will be able to apply.
Your candidates will range in terms of experience both on and off of Upwork as well as cost. Once you find candidates you like, you can then begin chatting with them or call them directly to set up an interview or ask questions. Once you like a candidate, you simply invite them to accept the job. Once accepted, Upwork works as an escrow of sorts where you pay for the job or phase or hours and once you approve Upwork passes on your money to the remote employee (with a fee added to it).
Upwork is an easy-to-use website offering talent from freelancers of all backgrounds. The site has over 10 million people registered and ready to take on work.
How Fiverr works
Fiverr is a website that brings together low-cost employees or service providers that fall more into the category of what a ‘gig’ is. Yes, you can find a web developer who will gladly build you a site. But the quality, the efficiency, the oversight will vary greatly as all the research and administration over the gig provider relies FULLY on you when you use Fiverr.
Using Fiverr as an employer is very easy. You create your account, you add a payment method and you browse the site as if you were purchasing something on Amazon. Except, instead of a new milk frother – you are searching for talent. Remember, the name of the game on Fiverr is ‘solutions for gigs’.
Once you select your remote worker, you then proceed to make an order. Pricing varies on experience, factors like delivery date or specifics concerning your gigs (say you want an article then the pricing may be based on word count). Once ordered, the worker will deliver the requested work in whatever amount of time you agreed upon. Unlike a BPO, you typically won’t hear from the remote employee until the work is ready for review. At this point you have X amount of days to review and approve or reject the work or the work is automatically approved.
If you’re in need of oversight for your remote employee on Fiverr, plus accounting, plus reliability for on-going and detailed work – Fiverr is not for you. We’ll go over this more in the Pros and Cons section.
The Pros and Cons of Upwork
As we mentioned previously, when it comes to gigs and short term projects (or even once in a blue moon projects), Upwork comes out the victor in the duel between Upwork vs. Fiverr. While most remote contractors are willing to set up a relationship with anyone who is looking for on-going work or not – the truth of the matter is that accountability will always be a big issue with Fiverr.
Fiverr doesn’t offer innate tools to manage contractors, bill them or any oversight whatsoever. While the guarantees it offers are great, in terms of work done or what the remote worker does on his time is really left up to an honor system and this can be a deal breaker for many people looking for a BPO company and/or solution to enter the world of remote employees.
As for the cons of up work, there are quite a few. One of the first things to consider when using Upwork is that having a massive pool of talent can seem like an advantage but the reality is that the talent pool is so large that it ends up being a disadvantage in many ways. With a BPO solution the company typically helps you in the recruiting process and already has candidates available who will meet the necessities of the job role you’re trying to fill. On Upwork, you have to go to candidates who apply, are recommended by the system and/or that you engage directly because you may feel that they may be good options for the position in question. With these three scenarios the problem becomes having to sift through each one and then ensuring that they are in fact qualified for your position. Remote workers like in-office workers will always try to present themselves as suitable candidates whether or not they actually are.
An advantage with Upwork, and Fiverr as well, is that they have a pretty good review system for the most part. The disadvantage is that their system, like many other systems, can be easily exploited. In fact it’s estimated that up to 1/3 of remote employee feedback can be, in certain job roles, completely fabricated through many of the loopholes that exist in the review systems of both companies.
The reality is that Upwork being a big company does provide many advantages for companies looking for a BPO solution or remote employees for short or long-term projects. However, the size of Upwork also means that their size can become significantly cumbersome for employers who have to search through their massive talent pool in order to find the candidates who best fits a position.
One more drawback is that their remote worker geography, in terms of where these freelancers are and live, is also easily exploitable. Many of these remote workers get virtual addresses in cities across America and then increase their prices as they pose as remote employees who live within the United States. Like any other massive website, many of Upwork’s strengths end up being disadvantages at a certain point – disadvantages and advantages that they share with Fiverr as well.
The Pros and Cons of Fiverr
So, what is the good and bad regarding Fiverr? Comparing Upwork to Fiverr doesn’t mean that they are polar opposites. Nor does the fact that they tend to focus on different niches of Business Process Outsourcing mean that they don’t overlap. That being said, Fiverr does have a strength that separates it from Upwork. Say for instance, you need a voice over for your company greeting. Fiverr is perfect for this as it wouldn’t make sense to hire a voice over artist as a remote employee with on-going billing for a small gig such as this. However, if you needed daily voiceover work for video projects or social media content – then maybe it would be more affordable for you to look for a more permanent solution.
In terms of pricing Fiverr can be cheaper when it comes to smaller gigs. Even with larger job opportunities for remote workers, Fiverr can provide solutions for that as well. Many of the Freelancers on Fiverr will have pricing for ongoing projects or work that may require billable hours over a long period of time. However, the absence of mechanisms to facilitate paying these workers, ensuring that they are working efficiently, and that they are being tracked in terms of what they’re doing on their computer with your company’s resources make Fiverr an interior option when it comes to these larger and longer projects.
What sets Fiverr apart from Upwork is really the ease behind filling small job opportunities. If you were to hire a graphic designer who needed to work on a daily basis for you over the course of many months and/or years then Upwork would be a great option. But if you need a graphic designer to help you with a logo or with one or two designs then Fiverr would not only be a cheaper option but it will also be the easiest way to find the right person for this smaller project.
Upwork vs. Fiverr vs. a BPO company
A Business Process Outsourcing company, otherwise known as a BPO company, competes more directly with Upwork than it does with Fiverr. A BPO company like Upwork is more suited for companies of all sizes looking to fill roles that will require many hours a week over a long period of time. While a BPO company may be able to fill smaller roles for smaller projects, the reality is that a BPO company is more suited to fill major roles or permanent roles in a company.
Now, how does a BPO company fare against Upwork? Very well actually. The advantages of a BPO solution over Upwork’s freelancer pool are just too many to mention. For one, you don’t have to worry about a massive pool that requires a ton of searching and filtering. Most BPO companies provide their clients with an account manager who learns the ins and outs of their clients’ companies in order to hire on their behalf. Furthermore, they already know their pool. Having a thorough understanding of what a client needs and who is who in their remote workforce is a wonderful advantage to work with.
Another thing to consider is that everything Upwork offers in terms of quality control and monitoring, a BPO solution already does it and in many ways better. A Business Process Outsourcing company can help with not only the hiring process but also in the management needed behind each remote employee as well as the training. Taking those responsibilities on behalf of their clients, permits managers and owners to focus on what they do best.
Upwork can do a lot of this but the responsibilities are laid at the feet of each client. You have to create the ad, get it approved, then go through numerous applications, set up appointments, screen each candidate from scratch and then hope you find the right one. At that point, you now have to negotiate blindly with each contractor. A BPO company will already have pricing in hand and will save you the time of negotiating and/or wondering if you are overpaying. With Upwork, you have to engage each potential candidate one-by-one and hope that you reach a conclusion that benefits both parties. You also have to ensure that their information is accurate and not fabricated because Upwork does not individually represent every remote employee. It’s your responsibility to ensure that they are in fact adequate candidates while a BPO on the other hand will gladly screen remote workers for you to save you the time and headaches that come with that difficult process.
The truth is that, as stated before, Fiverr doesn’t really compare or compete with a BPO company because Business Process Outsourcing isn’t really built for small, one time projects. Smaller scale work requires little in terms of oversight and billing. Fiverr freelancers work more for volume and can really only make money if they are efficient and handle various gigs on a daily basis. In that regard, Fiverr stands above Upwork or a BPO solution provider. But in any other regard, it pales in comparison to both.
The Verdict: For anything that isn’t a one-time thing, a BPO solution is better than Upwork and Upwork is better than Fiverr.