I received a rather surprising email from Upwork the other day. It offered me 0% commission rate (forever) if I moved my non-Upwork clients to Upwork. I don’t know whether this is just for Top Rated freelanvers or whether they are rolling this out to everyone. This seems an odd move on their part but I don’t think I will take them up on the offer. There are several reasons why.
Edit: This seems to only apply to Top Rated Upworkers, but my points below still stand.
We’ve heard from top freelancers like you that you’d like to work with all of your clients through Upwork. That’s why we’re offering you a special promotion – with clients you bring to Upwork, you’ll pay 0% on fees. You’ll be able to give your already-stellar Upwork reputation an extra boost, all while taking advantage of the features we provide.
For a limited time, start a contract with a client on Upwork (provided they don’t yet have an account) and we’ll automatically apply the 0% fee to all contracts you have with that client, ever.
Here’s how to get started:
- Send your client your personal invitation link.
- Have them hire you on a job
- We’ll apply the 0% fee on your contract within 3 business days.
Thank you for being one of our best freelancers. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
The Upwork Team
Firstly, I’m not convinced that this is the right move, especially for my clients based in the UK. Despite Upwork claiming that their currency conversion rate is competitive, it could be better. I may not lose the 10% or 20% commission, but I will lose money in the currency conversion and in the unnecessary withdrawal fee. Granted, it’s only $2 but I see no benefit for making this move beyond the benefits I already get from keeping my client(s) off Upwork.
Secondly, it has to be beneficial for my clients before I recommend they do this. Upwork now charges clients for every cash deposit they make. I might not end up paying a commission, but my clients will be out of pocket. It is not beneficial for any of my clients to continue paying extra for this.
Thirdly, I’m not sure I believe that I will never pay commission once the client is locked in to Upwork’s T&Cs. They can change these at any time. Once the move is made, I will be stuck with this client in Upwork for two years.
My fourth and final reason is that when Upwork goes down (and it does with frustrating regularity) I will do some work for my non-Upwork clients to avoid lost productivity and money. Being at the mercy of a woefully inadequate Upwork platform as we were a couple of years ago when the site was down for days does not fill me with joy.
Should You Take this Offer?
Why does any business do anything? It’s beneficial for them. They’ll make the extra money from any clients who take them off on this offer. Unfortunately, despite the tantalising offer, I see no major benefit to myself doing this. It’s simply not worth the extra effort for me and expense for my clients. From an Upwork perspective, it seems like a desperate move. Perhaps the increase of commission from 10% to 20% has cost them dearly, hence the recent promotional offer of selected jobs reducing to 10% commission. I imagine many former clients have now moved away due to the extra cost and reliability problems.
However, I would not tell you not to take up the offer, but if you work in an area where you have little protection against non-paying clients leaving you with no work and no money, it may be worth it. If you are based in the USA and don’t need to rely on currency conversion, it may be worth it. Personally, I have a large number of reliable clients and don’t feel I need the much-promoted Upwork payment protection through Escrow.