Upwork is one of the many freelance sites on the web where you can hire freelancers to do all the work related with having a website. Whether you need someone to develop a site for you, or do some programming, maybe create content for your website, or even do some graphic and art designing; you can get it all done through Upwork. In fact, I am a regular buyer on Upwork and other freelance sites on the net, and I have no hesitation in saying that Upwork is perhaps the best.

Elance has 11 different categories under which you can post your project. These are:

·      Website Design
·      Graphic Design & Art
·      Software & Technology
·      Writing & Translation
·      Sales & Marketing
·      Administrative Support
·      Audio, Video & Multimedia
·      Management & Finance
·      Legal
·      Training & Development
·      Architecture & Engineering

In addition to these main categories, each category has its own sub categories. Thus, as you can see from the above, all your website development, creation, and management needs can be met by hiring service providers from Upwork to do your project.

Currently Upwork has over 50,000 service providers in all their 100 categories (including sub-categories). Although there are a few novices and amateurs on Upwork, largely, their service providers are top professionals from their field, who are excellent at their job. You can hire any of these service providers to do your project and can expect to receive work of the highest quality.

Apart from getting a staggering choice of professionals, the best part about hiring through Upwork is that you can hire these professionals at very competitive rates. In fact, many a times, you can literally outsource your work for as less as 1/4th the cost that you would have paid to hire someone to work for you full time.

Using Upwork is very simple and above everything else, it’s FREE! You simply need to sign up with elance and create your buyer’s profile, after which you are given your ID and password and you’re all set to go.

Here’s what you need to do to post a project on Elance:

  • Visit Upwork.com and click on the link where it says ‘Outsource Your Project Today’.
  • The page you will now be directed to provides all the information about using Upwork; the benefits of hiring their service providers, what it costs you, and their different categories. But if you’re simply interested in posting your project, you need to click the circle on the right side of the page that says ‘Post Your Project’.
  • After this you will need to enter your username and password and you will be directed to the page where you start with your post. If at this time you do not have a username, you can click the link that will take you to their sign up form and then proceed from there.
  • To post your project, you have to choose a category, and then describe your project in a manner so as to give all the required information to the service providers. Here you have a choice of two levels of projects. You can either post your project as a Basic one, which means that all the service providers in your category will be able to bid on your project; or post it as a Select project, which means that only Select service providers will be able to bid. By posting a select project, you will get better proposals for your project as Select service providers have to pay more to Upwork as fees and commission, and thus you will get only the serious bidders. This indicates that you are also a serious buyer and are not just trying out Upwork. Upwork even gives you an entire month to award the project and only takes the deposit if you haven’t awarded the project after that much time.
  • Once you have selected the project level, described your project, and confirmed your posting; your project will be posted immediately. Soon after you should start receiving some bids.

This is the procedure for posting your project on Upwork, and is also described in detail on the site itself.

You will receive numerous bids from service providers and it can get pretty tough to pick one. But Upwork provides good details about service providers to help you to pick the right one. Along with the respective pitch and proposal of each provider, you will be able to see their Upwork rating (maximum of 5.0) and read the feedback reviews left by other buyers for those service providers. By reading these reviews, you get a good idea about the quality of work the provider does, their professionalism, their rates, how good they are at meeting deadlines, how good they are at communicating with clients, and also their level of expertise. By evaluating and comparing all these parameters, you can choose the service provider who best meets your project needs.

Once you award the project to anyone, you should ask them to sign a contract before starting work. Upwork has some sample contracts that you can choose from. If any service provider refuses to sign the contract, you should not just walk away from them but run!

From personal experience I have seen that it is not best to award the project to the lowest bidders. Sometimes you will get bids that are very low and you may be tempted to award them. However, if you choose any service provider based on only their low bid for the project, you simply cannot expect the best quality of work. ‘You get what you pay for’ is something I have learned the hard way! And this is not to say that a low bid indicates low quality of work. What I am essentially suggesting is that you should review the proposal in its entirety and only then award a bid.

Unfortunately, even though Upwork works perfectly most of the time; there are times when you may get fleeced. Not by Upwork, but by some service providers. There have been instances when I have paid advances for a project, only to have the service provider disappear with my money or give me really shoddy and incomplete work. Although most service providers are thorough professionals and honest people (the feedback review that we give them certainly helps to keep them honest and is one of the biggest weapons available to Upwork buyers), you may come across some providers who simply do not care. But Upwork customer care comes to the rescue here too. If the service provider is active, they will intervene and help you to sort matters out. Upwork also has the credit card details of all service providers, so worst come to worst; they may be able to charge their card for your money.

But here’s a little something that I have come up with to help myself. There was an instance where a particular service provider took a considerable advance from me but did not give me any completed work. After a few weeks, they stopped responding to my mails entirely. I created another buyer’s profile, posted a lucrative project, and invited that particular service provider to bid on it. Voila! He placed a bid, got in touch with me, and I had my man! A little sneaky I’ll admit, but immensely effective.

And while we’re on the topic of money, the one thing that really pisses me off about Upwork is their billing and payment system. Their procedures for authenticating your credit card can test the patience of a saint. But with the introduction of PayPal as a payment system, this too seems to be working out just fine.

All in all, I have had positive experiences hiring freelancers through Upwork, and you could very easily too.