How To Hire Freelancers on Upwork in 5 Easy Steps

How To Hire Freelancers on Upwork in 5 Easy Steps

Compared to asking your network and posting on job boards, using a freelancing platform makes it a lot easier to find the right talent. But actually hiring a freelancer can still be scary.

It’s natural to worry: Is the talent as good as they say? Can I trust them with company data? Will they do a good job? Heck, will they even deliver on time?

All of these concerns are valid, so built into our Upwork hiring process is a suite of features powered by Uma™, Upwork’s Mindful AI. These features are designed to get your job filled quickly and by the ideal talent, so you can get on with your other tasks.

How to hire a freelancer

Step 1: Sign up

If you haven’t already, sign up to instantly join Upwork and access the world’s largest marketplace of global talent.

Signing up takes all of 30 seconds: Just enter your name and email address.

Step 2: Post a job

Don’t worry, posting a job is super fast too because the heavy lifting is done by Job Post Generator powered by Uma.

Start by telling us what you need.

Job post description

Then click how you want to pay (hourly or fixed price) and the rate.

Not sure how much to pay? No problem. For reference, Uma serves up a price range based on talent who’ve completed projects like yours on Upwork.

Job post pay

Within a couple of seconds, you’ll get a great starting draft that’s designed to get you paired with the right talent faster.

Job post draft

Be sure to edit your draft to add relevant details about the company and work and show your personality. You can use the AI-generated customizations to help do things, like changing the tone, in seconds.

Keep in mind that the clearer you are about a project’s expectations and deliverables upfront, the better the professional will be able to determine whether they’re a good fit. So they can send you more accurate proposals.

Skip job posts with Project Catalog™

If you don’t want to post a job or you’re not sure who you need for a project, we’ve got you covered with Project Catalog™.

You’ll find defined projects at a fixed price, which takes the guesswork out of budgeting, figuring out timelines, and knowing what skills you need.

Project catalog

Step 3: Shortlist talent

Soon after your job post goes live, you’ll start receiving proposals from independent talent interested in your project.

In case your ideal person didn’t see your post, our underlying AI has your back. The quick invites feature searches for potential matches as soon as your job post goes live.

Quick invites

Almost immediately, you get a suggested list of top freelancers. In one click, you can send a personalized invitation to up to eight freelancers at a time.

Find talent faster with Best Match insights (beta)

Choosing the best proposal can take more time than you have. No worries, you can start with proposals marked as Best Match.

Best Match insights (beta) powered by Uma will look at all of your proposals and tell you why a specific independent professional may be a fit, highlight a relevant client review (if one is available), and identify areas you may want to explore further.

Step 4: Interview talent

Freelancers usually work remotely. So, now may be a good time to brush up on your interviewing skills by reading the article, 16 Remote Interview Tips for Hiring Managers.

When you’re ready, use our platform’s built-in tools to seamlessly handle the interview process all in one secure place. You can invite talent for an interview, schedule it, chat with them on the phone or video, and take notes.

Get insights with consultations

What if you run across a promising talent, but you’re not sure if you want to interview them? You could get a feel for them by scheduling a quick consultation for a future date.

Even better, if the talent indicates they’re online and ready to consult now, you can use the consultation feature to start chatting within minutes.

Book consultations

Step 5: Hire talent

After deciding on the ideal professional, click “hire” next to their name. Within seconds, we’ll create your contract offer and send it to the talent. That’s it! Once they accept your offer, they’re officially ready to start.

But before they dive in…

Hire talent

Connect and collaborate in Upwork Messages

You can discuss all of those details—and keep a record of your communication—through the platform’s integrated messaging center, Upwork Messages.

Within Upwork Messages are integrated tools that help you build relationships and get stuff done. From one place you can securely:

  • Send files
  • Share screen recordings using Loom
  • Instant message
  • Jot ideas on your personal notepad
  • Voice and video call through Zoom

Bonus: If you record a video meeting, we’ll save the recording for seven days and you can download it at any time.

Manage contracts through your personalized dashboard

After work gets underway, manage the talent’s contract through your personalized dashboard, which is accessible online and through the Upwork mobile app.

The convenient workspace is designed to help you get important things done in as little time as possible. In one unified view, you can review drafts, manage contracts, and check on job posts.

We also customize your dashboard so it’s easier to find the right independent professional for your next project. For instance, your dashboard is populated with talent recommendations that you can easily flip through and you can rehire talent you’ve worked with in just one click.

Custom dashboard

Benefits of hiring a freelancer

The many reasons why companies hire freelancers range from needing a specific skill only on a project basis to quickly scaling teams up and down as workloads fluctuate. These strategic uses barely tap the potential of what’s possible with independent professionals.

In fact, the most innovative companies use flexible talent as a competitive advantage. Here are some reasons why leading businesses use freelancers:

  • Access ultra-niche skills at the right time. Crownpeak is a digital experience platform (DXP) trusted by global brands. They often require specialized experts and need them quickly, which they can usually get within nine days through Upwork (vs. 90 days using their traditional means).
  • Deliver innovative products faster. The Emerging Business team at Upwork moves fast and taps freelancers to take generative AI projects from idea to reality in as little as two months.
  • Gain diverse perspectives. Chargebee, a subscription platform, uses Upwork Enterprise to find and contract talent with specific expertise in specific locations. They can get more done in a day and at a higher level.
  • Speak the customer's language. Automattic, the company behind products including WordPress and Tumblr, contracts independent service professionals to better support the company’s global customers.

  • Attract and retain top employees. The video and production team at Microsoft creates hybrid teams where independent talent help scale production. This frees employees to focus on work that only they can do, do best, or enjoy doing the most.

When it makes sense to hire a freelancer vs. hiring an employee

Deciding when it makes sense to hire a freelancer versus an employee depends on several factors such as:

  • Budget. Do you have the budget to add headcount?
  • Type of work. Are you testing ideas or supporting ongoing work?
  • Deadline. Do you need the work done quickly?
  • Desired outcome. Do you need one specialist or a team of experts?
  • Duration of need. Do you need the skill on a project basis or ongoing?
  • Business goals. Does the work exemplify the business’s long-term direction?

Some people decide based on costs. But figuring out the cost of hiring a freelancer vs. in-house employee isn’t as straightforward as comparing pay rates.

In addition to an employee’s hourly rate, be sure to factor in hidden costs like training, paid time off, payroll taxes, perks, and office space.

Compensation vs Costs

One of the biggest factors to consider—yet often underestimated—is the cost of not getting the work done while you’re searching for the ideal person to fill a role.

As work piles up, so do the soft costs such as:

  • Missed business opportunities
  • Unfinished projects
  • Team burnout
  • Drop in productivity or morale
  • Lower worker retention and engagement

Instead of taking hours to figure out the soft costs yourself, head to Upwork’s cost of vacancy calculator to get an estimate in seconds.

Cost of vacany calculator

Additional considerations when hiring a freelancer

Independent professionals are used to jumping right in and getting straight to work. However, you can do a few things to ensure an efficient and smooth project, one that delivers the results you expect.

When hiring a freelancer, here are a few things worth considering;

For tips and suggestions around all things freelancing and remote work, browse through the videos, articles, guides and more in the Resource Center. There, you’ll get the latest research and tips learned from nearly 30 years of helping global freelancers and businesses of all sizes do amazing work together.

Find the right talent, fast, on Upwork

Upwork’s underlying AI and purposely designed platform help you find the right professionals for your projects and find them quickly.

In fact, clients rate talent on Upwork 4.9/5 stars. And clients say they find talent within three days on average.

See how easy it is for you to hire the ideal freelancer for your project. Post a job today.


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Author Spotlight

How To Hire Freelancers on Upwork in 5 Easy Steps
Brenda Do

Brenda Do is a direct-response copywriter who loves to create content that helps businesses engage their target audience—whether that’s through enticing packaging copy to a painstakingly researched thought leadership piece. Brenda is the author of "It's Okay Not to Know"—a book helping kids grow up confident and compassionate.

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