When I need a professional service provider, I prefer to go through a referral or hire someone local. But sometimes that’s not possible, because the task is very specialized, or because I simply can’t find anyone who fits what I’m looking for. I recently had a great experience hiring two services providers on Upwork, and I thought this might be helpful to other freelancers!
In the past Upwork (not an affiliate deal) had the reputation of being one step above Fiverr; a place where cut-rate professional service providers hawked their offerings. I do feel like things on Upwork have changed. I recently needed to hire someone to do a small but very specialized IT job for me (untangling two legacy GSuite accounts and transferring them to Google Workspace), and I also needed to hire an on-demand bookkeeper. After looking locally and not finding anyone who fit what I was looking for, I decided to try Upwork.
I was surprised by a) the quality and b) the non-cheap prices on Upwork. For example, the IT provider I hired charged $125 an hour (and was totally worth it). When I say “non-cheap prices,” I mean it in a positive way; I would be afraid to work with a cut-rate service provider, because I think that indicates either that they have very little business sense, very little confidence in their own skills, or both.
One annoying feature (in my opinion) of Upwork is that you can’t contact service providers and just hire them. You have to create a job posting for people to respond to, which tends to generate a ton of responses in very little time. Update: Thanks to my newsletter reader Paolo Slajmer for letting me know that there is a workaround for this. You can create a job on Upwork and then invite only the person/people who you want to apply for it. I plan to try this in the future! As a filter, I specified that I wanted someone based in the US, and who was willing to talk to me on the phone or over Zoom (no e-mail-only candidates). I was really impressed with the people I found. The IT provider resolved my Google Workspace issue in an hour and a half (which had been driving me crazy for a few months), and the bookkeeper helped me make a smooth transition from Excel sheets to QuickBooks Online for accounting. I would actually recommend Upwork for these types of services if you need them!