Why People Hate Upwork – A user experience!

I do have the opportunity to see the both side of Upwork, both as a freelancer and client. I was using oDesk solely as freelancer until 2014 and was very happy with oDesk until it acquired elance and re-branded their name as Upwork Global Inc on July 2015, but I don’t like it at all from the very beginning. From my experience, it was good (at least useable interface and service fees) before switching to Upwork. I’m writing this article to share my experience with the freelancing community so that if they ever read my article and take step to fixing the issues on some day in the near future!

Recently Upwork increased their service fee from 10% to 22.75%. As you are landed here – I presume as like many others you also hate to pay 20% from freelancer + 2.75% from client thus 22.75% as Upwork service fee. Not only this, Upwork became slow and hard to work type. Freelancers are facing lots of complication to maintain their active profile. I’ve even noticed some social media pages where they discuss about the problems of working in Upwork. Now thinking to find an alternative option that works for both you and your freelancer. If this is the case, keep reading – I got something awesome for you!


On August 27, 2015, I had opened a support ticket on Upwork , where I humbly asked them about the team features on Upwork platforms for the agencies like Us – It was as simple as that they must add team features for agencies exactly what now Elance had. Needless to say, I was on Elance from 2013 and was happily working with my team and was able to earn on average $8k/per month.


Please have a look on the ticket below:-

Request #4815920

Agency/team features like Elance?

Hi there,

I am an agency owner and I lead a team of 19 people on Elance marketplace. I was good at Elance with my agency but as Elance is moving to Upwork, now I am focusing on Upwork to build my client base again.

Last month, I upgraded my agency membership to “agency plus” from basic. Unfortunately, I found Upwork functionality is different than elance. Where on elance, I can bring any of my team members to the client project [both fixed price/hourly] and they can track the time while working for the client (was very helpful features). But here on Upwork this feature was/is not available yet.

At Upwork, a client needs to hire my team member separately which requires an overwhelming effort to manage a client to do so. I found most of the clients don’t have time to do so.

So I have a couple of question:

1) Do you have any plan to implement these features like Elance?

2) If you have a plan, by when we can expect this features will be publicly available for the agency like us.

Most importantly, do me a favor, please. Don’t answer me with a generic template. I have very bad experience with Upwork support team and it’s my feelings that you guys just wasted my time most of the cases in the past.

Appreciate your insightful answer. Thank you.



Here was the reply from customer support:-

Hi Muhammad,

Thank you for contacting Upwork!

I’ve reviewed your concern and I will be happy to assist you with that today!

Muhammad, I’d like to let you know that I appreciate your feedback and please do remember always that we value the business you bring in this platform. Yes, I understand that Elance and Upwork have a lot of differences, but we have similar goals in connecting, collaborating and helping people succeed.

In Upwork, the clients cannot hire the entire agency as each freelancer must be hired to an individual contract. There must be an individual contract for each person. If it’s an hourly contract, each freelancer needs to track time, so the client must hire every freelancer on a contract. But, if it is a fixed-price contract, and you intend to add more freelancers who’ll work on a contract, you can always reach out to the client to let him know that you’ll have another person/s work on the contract.

What I can do now is to forward your feedback to our Product Development team. Also, you may want to check our feedback forum via this link:http://community.Upwork.com. This way, the whole community can see and discuss it.

I’d also like to share that your feedback will still be reviewed. That’s why, I can’t say any exact date or time frame as to when this feature will be publicly available in Upwork. But, please be assured that we’ve heard your opinion and we’ll always find a way to give our users the best online experience.

Hope this helps! If you have any other concerns, just let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Have an awesome day ahead!



High Value Support | Upwork.com (formerly oDesk.com)


Click here to see the reply from their customer support:-

Overall, it was not a bad reply but this was just to make me happy by using their highest level of customer service pitch but sadly no specific answer for my valuable questions!!

Again, I follow up for my ticket on September 26, 2015.

Hi, I wanted to follow up if there is any update on the issue I raised on Request # 4815920.

I can’t move to Upwork until the team features are not available. Can you provide me an update?

Kind regards,



And there I received a cheap replay again: Please have a look below:-

Hello Muhammad,

Thank you for contacting Upwork Support!

I’ve reviewed your concern and I will be happy to assist you with that today!

As per checking, that ticket has already been closed, but the representative who handled that request has forwarded your comments to the Product team. Here in Upwork, only the person hired is allowed to do the work. The person doing the work must be hired so they can log their time appropriately, unless it’s fixed price contract. If fixed price contract, the Staffing Manager can assign it to other agency freelancer and then the Staffing Manager can deliver the work once complete and the client can pay if satisfied.

Please let us know if we can be of additional assistance. I will be glad to help.



High-Value Support | Upwork.com (formerly oDesk.com)

What agency features require to run agency businesses successfully at Upwork?

Honestly speaking, I was very happy with my agency on Elance.com. My agency earning was on average $2000 per week thus $6000 – $8000 per month. As the merging process started, my income level started to go downward day by day. And unfortunately, its became $3000- $4000 per month at this moment.

Below are the issues which Upwork must accommodate before invite agencies to Upwork: Team functionality should be exactly functional like Elance. What I mean exactly like Elance are:

Limited Agency Features:

Agency Owner/Account manager should be able to bring his team member to execute client projects where agency team member can track timer and send bills to the client for hourly or fixed price job. (Currently they don’t have this features even at agency plus membership). Last month, to test this features I upgraded my membership to “agency plus” and just lost membership fee 25$ without any benefit. I immediately canceled my subscription when I discovered the fact though. 🙂


Problem with Manual time:

There should be no restriction on adding manual time. Currently at Upwork, you can’t add manual hours if its overlap with your tracking hours, which is truly disgusting. Today, I try to add 25h for a client and after trying 3 or 4 times, I just give up – every time it was showing you can’t add time as its overlap with some hours. I believe there should not be any restriction on adding overlap hours since client knows they hire agencies and willing to pay manual time. Most importantly, there was no restriction on Elance to do so, but why Upwork is preventing us from adding overlap hours? It should not be, right?


Non-user friendly Reporting:

Also, the time sheet overview should look like elance – I hate the current Upwork overview. It’s really disgusting when you spend hours to add manual time to find the untracked time slot.


No Option for Misc. Invoice:

There is no option to send misc. invoice to the client (till today as I am updating the article as on 23 Nov, 2015). So even your client agree to pay you additional amount for extra work you need to request client to send it as a bonus and wait for his time to pay you as a bonus. This Bonus payment system is still fine as I found client pay as bonus if you follow up with them BUT what if you forgot to ask client when you have to deal with 20/30 clients every week?


No option to adjust billed hours:

Let’s imagine a scenario like you work for 30 hours in a week for a client but client want to pay for 25 hours for some budgetary issue or you simply want to give him a discount. You are unable to adjust the hours on Upwork but it’s still on Elance.


Poor Customer support:

Upwork must improve user experience score on their customer support. From my experience it was very bad and most of the time, I just felt they are wasted my time as they came back with a pre-made template answer which actually does not answer my question/concern. Sometimes such situation happen, when I strongly refused their reply then a senior staff replied me with an apology.

Whereas, I was very happy with the Elance customer support team. Over 95% of the cases, I found, they dig down to the issue and come back with a solid answer.


5-star Rating:

Upwork removed the ‘5-star rating’ from the freelancer’s profile for their new feature so called ‘Job success score’.


Regarding profile duplicate issue:

Recently, I got an invitation to join Upwork but what I actually discovered is they are not offering you a profile merge option. What they actually offering is to keep your strongest profile and close you’re another profile (if you are already on Upwork). For my case, my both profile is strong and I don’t want to lose any reputation. Freelancers/Agencies who are already on Upwork, they must provide an option to merge their Elance reputation with their existing Upwork profile. I don’t mind if they offer this current option to freelancers/agencies to those whose Upwork profile is poor – they must be happy to down their existing profile. But why should I completely lose one of my hard earned reputation which took me many years hard work to build?

The most dangerous thing is you have to close all you’re running Upwork contracts to perform this merging process. I have more than 15 open contacts with Upwork clients now, so how can I close my entire contract to bring my Elance reputation here? Disgusting!!

I’m going to update this article over the next few weeks. Meantime you can have a look on another articles : How to Avoid 20% + 2.75% Upwork fees?

Please share your thought and suggestion on the comment section below.


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