If you’re trying to decide which freelance marketplace to use, you’ll want to compare LinkedIn ProFinder and Upwork. While they both have the same end goal of connecting freelancers with clients, they operate very differently. Here’s a breakdown of how each platform handles the process from start to finish. If you want just a quick summary, there’s a comparison table at the end of the post.
LinkedIn ProFinder vs Upwork
Freelancer Application Process
The application process for LinkedIn ProFinder is covered in “How To Get Freelance Jobs From Linkedin ProFinder,” but basically if you have a LinkedIn profile, it’s a simple matter of connecting to ProFinder and indicating your areas of expertise.
Upwork’s application is a little more involved. In addition to adding services, skill levels, and experience levels, a full profile needs to be created. This includes a photo, employment experience, education, hourly rate, availability, and location.
LinkedIn ProFinder and Upwork operate using different business models. ProFinder is subscription-based, while Upwork is primarily transaction based.
LinkedIn ProFinder is free for the client to post jobs and connect with freelancers. Upwork brokers the transaction, so clients pay a 2.75% processing fee on top of the rate paid to the Freelancer. Upwork also offers a Pro option that provides personalized headhunting. This costs an additional 10% plus a one-time fee of $500, but you can hire multiple freelancers for that fee.
Freelancers can submit up to ten proposals on LinkedIn ProFinder for free. After that, they’ll pay $59.99/month for a Premium Business subscription and can submit an unlimited number of proposals. This is discounted if the freelancer pays annually.
Upwork has two levels of membership to participate as a freelancer.
- Basic: Free, and allows up to 60 “connects” per month. That means every time you connect with a potential client, you use one of your credits. According to Upwork, most proposals require two Connects. Unused Connects expire at the end of each month.
- Plus: $10. Provides 10 additional Connects each month, and up to 140 unused Connects rollover to the next month.
Upwork charges fees to Freelancers on a sliding scale based on the level of billing. Freelancers will pay a hefty 20% fee for their first $500 in billings for one client. It drops to 10% for billings between $500.01 and $10,000, and anything over that is a 5% fee. These fees are per client, so if a Freelancer works multiple jobs for a client the fees will be based on the total billed.
Skill Level of Freelancers
When a client is looking to hire a freelancer, the most important consideration is whether or not the contractor can actually do the job. LinkedIn ProFinder approves applications based on each freelancer’s existing profile and the platform explicitly states that “recommendations are essential,” which makes the marketplace a de facto peer-reviewed pool of potential hires. Upwork also manually approves applications, but it takes awhile to build up the freelancer’s reputation because it’s based on work that’s completed through the platform.
One of LinkedIn ProFinder’s goals is to help clients and freelancers connect on a more local basis, so it begins the search for Freelancers within the client’s geographic region. If there aren’t enough Freelancers within that radius, the search will expand until more qualified applicants can be included.
Clients can search from the entire pool of candidates on Upwork, and they can also limit the search based on the candidate’s location.
Contracts & Payment
With the exception of the Pro option, Upwork makes its money through the service fees charged after a freelancer has been hired. Because of this, Clients and Freelancers who prefer to work independently of Upwork, can do so – for a fee. Either the client or the freelancer can pay an “Opt-Out Fee” of $2,500 or 15% of the rate the Client pays the Freelancer during the Non-Circumvention Period, or all Service Fees that Upwork would earn from the Freelancer, whichever is greater. On top of that, Upwork will charge 18% interest calculated from the first payment to the Freelancer until the Opt-Out Fee is paid. More information (See #7 – Non-Circumvention)
|Freelancer Application Process||Areas of expertise||Must create complete profile, including education and employment history|
|Client Fees||Clients: free||Clients: 2.75%. Pro option is additional 10% + $500.|
|Freelancer Fees||First 10 proposals free, then $59.99/mo or $575.88/yr||Basic: Free for 60 Connects/mo
Pro: $10/mo for 10 additional Connects
Service fee based on the lifetime billings with each client:
|Skill Level||Vetted by LinkedIn||Vetted by Upwork|
|Geography||Localized – typically within 100 miles. Search expands based on availability of Freelancers||Anywhere|
|Contracts & Payment||Independent of LinkedIn Profinder||Processed through Upwork. Opt-out fee available.|
As you can see, LinkedIn ProFinder and Upwork provide very different experiences for both Clients and Freelancers.
Learn how to get started on LinkedIn’s Profinder in this short series of YouTube Videos.
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