Fiverr vs Upwork: 3 takeaways from my 1st gig purchase

After receiving my first Fiverr deliverable, I’m convinced that Fiverr has a strong moat and a long growth runway. I was having WordPress problems for my website and decided to try Fiverr and Upwork.

Three things stood out:

First, Fiverr is way ahead of Upwork in terms of buyer experience and ease of use. Fiverr allowed me to browse for sellers without a user account. After typing “WordPress fix” into the Fiverr search bar, I found a highly rated seller (thousands of positive reviews) offering a lump sum USD10 for the fix. With Upwork, I couldn’t even browse sellers without setting up an account. Setting up a Upwork account took more steps even when I used a Google sign-in to expedite the process. I had to answer questions about my business email and interests. With Fiverr, the sign-up process was much faster.

Second, scope of work and price for Fiverr sellers was well defined. Upwork offers options for fixed prices and hourly rates so it can be a bit confusing for buyers. Upwork prices for fixing WordPress issues were also higher than Fiverr. I had to scroll down to the 2nd page before I found an Upwork seller offering a USD10 solution. Buyers also have the option to leave a review without comments which looked a bit weird. In contrast, every Fiverr seller has reviews with comments while Fiverr only offers fixed prices for a project so there is less room for misunderstanding. The Fiverr freelancer fixed my WordPress issue and boom, the gig was delivered within 24 hours.

Scope of work defined by Fiverr seller

Lastly, the Fiverr freelancer didn’t try to contact me “off-platform” after delivering the project despite having my personal email address. That’s great news for Fiverr because they impose a hefty 20% take rate on sellers so there’s an incentive for sellers to contact buyers for future transactions outside of the platform. I’m guessing that sellers prefer the payment certainty and the reputation enhancements offered by Fiverr. For example, Fiverr lists the reviews and the number of jobs done by each seller. Attempting to ask a Fiverr seller to contact me off-platform triggered an AI-enabled warning from Fiverr’s chat window.

Full disclosure: I only own Fiverr shares and not Upwork so I may be a bit biased. With Fiverr’s ease of use and low prices, Fiverr has a good chance of attracting more first-time buyers and expanding the overall freelancer market. I bought more Fiverr shares in late March 2021 so I’m in no hurry to add more shares. Fiverr has been innovating quickly and adding more verticals such as data analysis. With a 41x EV/sales ratio, the share price has been super volatile but I’m happy to hang on for the ride!

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