How To Maintain Your Top-Rated Status

Having a talent badge on your Upwork profile lets clients know that you're exceptional at what you do. You consistently deliver high-quality work and receive positive feedback again and again. Freelancers and agencies who meet specific criteria that put them in the 10% of talent on Upwork can earn the Top Rated badge.

Getting your Top Rated badge helps you win proposals, get more job invites, and receive other perks. You have to keep working hard to maintain your Top Rated status by being active on Upwork and continually meeting the requirements.

Keep reading to learn how to maintain your Top-Rated status on Upwork once you receive your talent badge.

What is top-rated status?

As an Upwork freelancer, you can earn four different talent badges: Rising Talent, Top Rated, Top Rated Plus, and Expert-Vetted. These badges display on your profile, and clients can see them when you submit a proposal or have your profile reviewed before a client sends you a job invite. If you list your services on Project Catalog™ it shows up under your name to help attract clients.

Tier Badges

The Rising Talent badge is for freelancers who are new to Upwork and don't have a Job Success Score (JSS) yet but are quickly winning proposals and getting positive client feedback. Once you have a Job Success Score, this badge goes away, and you can start working toward becoming top rated. Most freelancers have a JSS after completing their first five projects.

Earning Top-Rated status means that you've built a reputation on Upwork by steadily receiving positive feedback from clients and taking on big projects. You're great at what you do, always meeting and even exceeding your client's expectations.

If you want to earn a Top Rated badge on Upwork, you need to have the following:

  • A current JSS of 90% or higher
  • Completed your first project on Upwork over 90 days ago
  • Maintained Rising Talent status or a JSS of at least 90% for at least 13 of the last 16 weeks
  • A 100% complete profile (90% for those who brought their profiles over from Elance)
  • 12-month earnings of at least $1,000
  • Up-to-date availability (if you're unavailable, set an estimated future date to start accepting work again)
  • An account in good standing with no recent account holds
  • Activity on the platform (submitted proposal, accepted invitation, or got paid) in the past 90 days.

Upwork badges are achievements that you have to actively maintain; if you have a drop in work quality or client satisfaction, you could lose your badge. Upwork keeps the badge system updated and accurate based on performance,  giving prospective clients a level of trust that is proportional to the quality of a freelancer’s past work. Clients know when they see a talent badge, they can expect a certain quality of work and professionalism from a freelancer.

The benefits of top-rated status

Clients on Upwork look for freelancers with Top-Rated status. You may start to get invites to jobs, win more proposals, and have a higher demand for your services in Project Catalog. Talent badges help you stand out to clients. Having Top-Rated status comes with other perks too.

Benefits of being a Top-Rated freelancer on Upwork:

  • More control over your JSS. You can request to remove negative feedback from your JSS calculations and your public profile if you choose. This will hide the public score and replace the comment with "This feedback has been removed."
  • Invites from Talent Specialists. Receive more job invites from Talent Specialists who work with clients to find freelancers for their projects. Sending a proposal to an invite will not cost you any Connects.
  • Job Digest emails. Check out weekly emails sent to your inbox with newly posted jobs that match your profile and history. Find opportunities you may have missed.
  • Faster payments. Get paid five days earlier on hourly contracts. The standard security hold is ten days.
  • Option to offer consultations. Add one-on-one 30 or 60-minute consultations in your area of expertise as a service to clients on your profile. Learn more about providing consultations in the Upwork Academy Learning Path.
  • Premium Upwork support. Get help whenever you need it with Upwork live chat and phone support.

Becoming Top Rated also puts you on the path to getting Top Rated Plus status and, eventually, Expert Vetted. Only 1% of freelancers on Upwork are Expert Vetted.

How do you maintain top-rated status?

Because badges on Upwork are awarded based on performance, you have to actively work to keep your Top Rated Badge. You can maintain your badge by continuing to meet all of the Top Rated requirements. For example, if your JSS drops below 90% or if you're inactive for more than 90 days, you could lose your status.

The best way to stay Top Rated is to continue freelancing on Upwork and make sure you're always delivering your best work. Take on projects you know you can complete successfully. Build relationships with clients and keep getting positive feedback when you finish a project.

We'll dive deeper with tips on how to maintain your Top Rated Status by breaking down the important criteria.

Job Success Score of 90% or higher

Building a reputation is how freelancers increase demand for their services. Part of your reputation on Upwork is your Job Success Score. Upwork calculates your JSS based on public and private client feedback, along with other factors that indicate success with clients like repeat clients and not ending contracts without delivering work.

If you want to maintain your Top Rated Status, you need to keep your JSS at 90% or higher. Taking on larger and higher-paying projects can also boost your score, as can having long-term relationships with clients. However, not having long-term contracts won’t hurt your JSS. Some freelancers have niches that clients typically only need once, and that's OK.

You can find your JSS under your My Stats page. Your score is a combination of your past history and most recent projects. Upwork calculates your four different job success scores every two weeks based on the following:

  • 24-month average
  • 12-month average
  • 6-month average
  • Trending JSS

Your “Trending JSS” is your 6-month and 3-month averages added together and divided in half.

The best of these averages is your current Job Success Score. Your JSS can change even if you don't have recent activity as older projects fall out of the time window. A higher-value job can outweigh a lower-value one. As you receive more client feedback and complete jobs, your JSS will also change.

If you think a client is happy with your deliverables, you can ask them to leave feedback. You can even send a mid-contract feedback request if you are working on a project that is ongoing or will take a while. This can help with maintaining your Top Rated Status.

Tip: You can learn more about how to increase your JSS with this Upwork Academy Coaching Tips video.

100% Complete Upwork profile

Your profile is how you attract clients and win proposals and projects. This is where you market your top skills and show off your best projects. Top Rated freelancers must maintain a 100% complete Upwork profile. Some areas in your profile are optional, and you can pick and choose which ones to add to get up to 100%.

These items are required, and you’ll need to have them filled out before you can have a complete profile.

Optional Profile Items

After you add the required items, you can choose from these optional items to get to 100%.

Optional Profile Items

Learn how to add each one of these items here.

Make sure your profile is up-to-date with your latest projects and any new skills you've developed. Starting with your title and overview, you want to grab the client's attention and let them know exactly what you do. If you have different niches, you can create a specialized profile for each skill.

Choose a profile picture that is professional and clearly shows your face. You can upload an intro video if you want, so clients can quickly get to know you. Let clients see samples of your work in your portfolio to get a feel for your style and skills.

Tip: If you need more help with your profile, you can take the Upwork Academy Creating Your Profile Course. Be sure to sign in to your Upwork account to access Upwork Academy courses or learning paths.

Up-to-date availability

Having up-to-date availability lets clients and Talent Specialists know how much bandwidth you have for new projects. You may be available full-time (more than 30 hours), part-time (less than 30 hours), or as needed.

If you're taking a break or don't have time for new projects, under "Hours per week," you can choose >> None. You'll then be prompted to choose a date. Try to estimate when you'll be able to take on more work.

You can change your availability by going to Find Work > My Stats > Hours per week.

Changing Availability to None

You can also change your hours on your home page, on the right-hand side of the screen, under "Hours per week.”

Another aspect of maintaining your Top Rated status on Upwork is being active and responsive. Unless your availability is "None," you want to try to respond to job invites within 24 hours. You can check this under My Stats > Communication.  

Communication Rate

Even if you don't want to send a proposal, declining the invite promptly helps clients know if they need to look for more freelancers.

Tip: If you upgrade to an Upwork Freelancer Plus account, you can keep your profile active even when you decide to take a break, along with other benefits like more Connects each month.

No recent account holds

When you make an account and freelance on Upwork, you agree to follow Upwork's Terms of Service (ToS). These terms help protect you, your clients, and Upwork. Read through the ToS to familiarize yourself with these policies and avoid accidentally breaking one.

Feedback Building (if you and a friend "hire" each other to give positive feedback) or accepting an Any Hire contract with a client that you started on the platform can lead to an account hold and possible suspension.  

If you have suspicious activity on your account or Trust & Safety thinks you've broken a policy, you will receive an email. This email will let you know that Trust & Safety has opened a case, placed a temporary hold on your account, and what actions you need to take to reactivate your account.

While you have a temporary hold, you will be able to log in and manage and finish your current projects, but you can't submit proposals, start any new jobs, or withdraw funds.

Depending on the severity of the issue and whether or not it's a repeat offense, an account can be temporarily suspended with limited access to the platform, or it can even be permanently blocked. Mistakes happen, and if you do not think you've violated any ToS, you can appeal the suspension.

You can also check recent account holds under My Stats > Recent account holds to see any holds in the past 90 days.

Why settle for Top Rated? Top Rated Plus and Beyond!

You can stand out from other freelancers on Upwork by earning talent badges. When you consistently deliver high-quality work for clients, get positive feedback, and meet specific criteria like earning over $1,000 on Upwork in a rolling 12 month period, you can earn Top-Rated status.

This badge shows up on your profile and lets clients know your hard work and dedication have made you part of the top 10% of freelancers on Upwork. Once you have your Top Rated Talent Badge, you have to maintain this status by upholding your JSS and making sure you keep meeting the other requirements.

Top Rated can be just the beginning. You can maintain your Top Rated Status while also working toward earning your Top Rated Plus and Expert-Vetted badges. These badges are even more highly regarded by clients and show that you're part of the best of the best on Upwork.

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Author Spotlight

How To Maintain Your Top-Rated Status
Cassie Moorhead
Content Writer

Cassie is a storyteller and content creator with over eight years of experience helping brands communicate to their customers through different channels. She enjoys finding new coffee shops to work from and spending time in nature with her dog, Sweeney.

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