Are you wondering if Upwork can be used for dropshipping?

Upwork, the closest competitor to Fiverr, is loved by many because it gives businesses direct access to the best talent in the world in almost any niche.

It's easy and effective, both for businesses and freelancers.

But does that apply to using Upwork for dropshipping?

In this article, we will discuss that and much more. We will review the pros and cons of using Upwork for dropshipping, how to get started, avoid scams, and more.

Before we go into that, let's quickly discuss what Upwork is!

What is Upwork?

Home page of Upwork

Upwork is an online freelance marketplace that connects businesses with freelancers who provide services in their areas of expertise.

For example, a freelancer specializing in design can list their services on Upwork. As a dropshipper, you can hire them for your design needs.

Upwork freelancers work in 12 industry verticals with over 10,000 available skill sets.

That's quite impressive!

The growth of Upwork since its launch in 2013 is remarkable, especially considering it entered the market three years after its main competitor, Fiverr.

It's crazy how big they've grown; even Google Trends proves their popularity.

Google trends view of Upwork
Source

As you can see, the popularity of Upwork has only increased after its launch.

Can you use Upwork for dropshipping?

So, the question of the article: can you use Upwork for dropshipping?

Yes, it's definitely possible!

When you search for 'Dropshipping' on Upwork, you'll find hundreds of solid freelancers who can help you with different dropshipping-related tasks:

Searching dropshipping on Upwork

However, the thing is, you shouldn't solely rely on Upwork for the entire dropshipping process.

While it's technically possible, we don't recommend it.

The reason is that many freelancers on Upwork specialize in specific areas.

So, if you hire someone to handle everything from product selection to supplier sourcing, store creation, and advertising, the results could vary greatly.

Instead, we recommend using Upwork for different aspects of dropshipping.

For example, if you aren't good at advertising, you could hire someone from Upwork to handle that part!

The pros and cons of using Upwork for dropshipping

So, let's look at the pros and cons now that we know Upwork can be used for dropshipping.

The pros

Let's start with the pros.

1. A large pool of high-quality talent

The most significant advantage of using Upwork is access to a pool of world-class talent.

Even compared to Fiverr, Upwork is known for having more educated and highly skilled talent.

In one of Upwork's articles, they compared their services to Fiverr's and shared the following information about their freelancers:

  • Over 70% of Upwork's freelancers hold a college degree.
  • More than 20% have a postgraduate degree.
  • Freelancers are based in over 180 countries.
  • Freelancers have over 10,000 skill sets across 12 industry verticals.

With a diverse group of freelancers like that, you can be sure to find dropshipping talent on Upwork.

2. Versatile talent for any dropshipping task

Let's experiment and see how many good freelancers we can find for common dropshipping tasks like product research, building up a Shopify store, and social media marketing.

Let's start with product research.

When you search for it on Upwork, you'll find numerous freelancers offering their services:

Searching Product research on Upwork

Next, let's look if we can find freelancers to create a Shopify store.

Just by searching 'Shopify store setup,' this is what we got:

Searching Shopify store setup on Upwork

These are just a few freelancers, and hundreds of others could also do the job.

And as a last search, let's see what comes up for social media marketing.

We searched 'social media marketing,' and this is what came up:

Searching social media marketing on Upwork

Again, both freelancers had great reviews on their profiles, and they were definitely not the only options to hire for social media marketing.

On top of these, you can find freelancers for other dropshipping tasks, including:

And much more.

So, what was our point with these examples?

The point is that Upwork has a diverse talent pool, and you can be sure to find a lot of good talent!

3. Easy verification of freelancers' expertise

You may think: how can I be sure that the freelancer can do the job well?

When you visit the freelancer's profile, you can find many things that indicate their level of expertise.

Let's go through each point that showcases their skills:

  • Work history. An excellent way to predict the quality of a freelancer is to check their work history. You can find reviews of other companies in the work history section:
Freelancer work history in Upwork
  • Total jobs and hours. From the profile, you can see the total jobs done by the freelancer and the total hours. These are good indicators of how much experience someone has in the field:
Upwork total jobs
  • Job success score. Upwork has a job success score that determines how satisfied the clients are with the freelancer's work. It takes the overall work history into account and gives a score based on past work.
Job success score of Upwork

This is what Upwork states about the job success score:

Job success score measures clients’ satisfaction with freelancer's overall work history on Upwork’s platform. It reflects clients’ satisfaction as shown by relationships, feedback, and job outcomes over time. 

  • Portfolio. Freelancers can add their previous work to the portfolio section. Top-rated freelancers often have impressive samples that help you assess their quality:
Portfolio of freelancer in Upwork
  • Talent quality. You can filter your search by the freelancer's quality. The top Upwork freelancers are divided into three categories: top-rated plus, top-rated, and rising talent:
Quality of talent in Upwork

When you take advantage of all these factors and compare freelancers against each other, you can be sure to find talented people for your dropshipping store.

The cons

There are some cons to using Upwork for dropshipping, so let's discuss those!

1. Higher freelancer rates than Fiverr

Good talent comes at a cost, and Upwork is known for being slightly more expensive than Fiverr.

Upwork is often used for more complex projects that require advanced skills, so freelancers also ask for higher pay.

Plus, Upwork's freelancers are often highly educated, contributing to higher rates.

2. Upwork fees can add up quickly

If you hire someone from Upwork, you must pay a 5% client marketplace fee for all your payments.

This is the case whether you hire someone for a one-time job or full-time.

And for every new contract you make with a freelancer, you must pay an extra $4.95 contract initiation fee.

These fees can add up quickly if you're doing many one-off projects.

However, on the plus side, Upwork has lower fees compared to Fiverr.

Fiverr charges 5.5% of the purchase amount, and for purchases under $75, there is an additional $2.50 small order fee.

How to avoid scams when using Upwork for dropshipping?

While most sellers on Upwork are trustworthy and honest with their work, there can always be someone looking to take advantage of you.

Luckily, Upwork has implemented several measures to prevent scams and ensure a safe experience.

1. Upwork Payment Protection

The most important measure is Upwork Payment Protection.

The purpose is to ensure that both you, as a dropshipper, and the freelancer get paid fairly for the job.

The freelancer logs their completed hours in the work diary, and you receive weekly invoices.

To make sure the freelancer works on your project, they must set a timer, and Upwork takes screenshots of their screen so you can see if they are working.

This all occurs within Upwork, eliminating the risk of either party scamming the other.

Upwork states this about the Upwork Payment Protection:

For clients, Payment Protection means your personal and payment information is 100% secure. It also makes payments work more smoothly across borders by allowing you to pay via credit card or PayPal.

One red flag is that someone asks you to pay outside of Upwork.

When you hire someone to work for you on Upwork, you should never pay them outside the platform.

This is what Upwork states about it:

Requesting to move payment off the Upwork platform is a tactic frequently used by scammers. If you take payment off of the Upwork platform, we cannot offer payment protection or help to resolve any invoice disputes.

So, always conduct your payments within Upwork to be covered by payment protection.

2. Other steps you can take to prevent scams

Alongside Upwork's Payment Protection, there are other things to keep in mind to prevent scams.

In Upwork's article, they said these are red flags for sellers:

  • Someone says that they work in a well-known company, but they have no proof of it.
  • Their profile picture features a well-known public figure or a celebrity.
  • Someone offers free work.

Other than these, trusting your instincts and using common sense can go a long way.

If you hire someone with tons of positive reviews, a portfolio of work, and a well-crafted profile, you can be pretty sure you're not getting scammed.

How to start using Upwork for dropshipping?

Now that we've gone through the pros and cons of Upwork and covered tips to avoid scams, let's dive into how you can get started on the platform.

1. Create your Upwork account

The first step is to create your Upwork account.

Head to Upwork's homepage and click the 'Sign Up' or 'Get started' buttons:

Get started with Upwork

For most dropshippers reading, signing up as a client is the correct option.

However, if you want to sell your dropshipping services, select the option to sign up as a freelancer:

Sign up process of Upwork

After this, you must fill in your details, such as your work email address, password, country, and name:

Signing up to Upwork

You can also sign up with your Google and Apple accounts.

After adding your details, your account will be created, and Upwork will ask for additional information about your company and its size:

Welcome to Upwork text

This shouldn't take more than a few minutes to fill in.

Posting a job on Upwork

When you have answered the questions, you will have full access to Upwork!

At this point, Upwork asks you to post a job offer for freelancers.

2. Create a job post on Upwork

Creating a job post is the best way to access talent on Upwork.

It consists of five steps, and the first one is writing a title for the job posting:

Upwork job title name

The more detailed you are with the job title, the better the results are.

Upwork provides examples of good job titles for reference.

Example job titles in Upwork

For our example, let's write 'Building a dropshipping website with Shopify.'

Example title for a job post in Upwork

As you can see, Upwork automatically matches the job post with its best talent.

For the second step, Upwork asks for the main skills required for the job.

They automatically recognize our niche from the title and recommend some good options:

Step two of creating a job post on Upwork

In our example, we want someone to create a Shopify store for us, so we will select 'Shopify,' 'Web Design,' 'Shopify Templates,' and 'Web Development.'

Selected skills on Upwork

After selecting the required skills, Upwork asks you to estimate the scope of your work.

Here, you can see the most significant difference between Fiverr and Upwork.

While Fiverr is better suited for one-off projects, on Upwork, you can hire someone full-time by selecting the 'Large' option from the scope of work list.

Work scope in Upwork

For our example, we will select the 'Small' option for creating a Shopify store as we believe it will be a smaller project.

After this, Upwork asks for the length of the work.

Estimated time of work on Upwork

For building up a Shopify store, we estimate that it will take less than one month, so we'll select that one.

Next, you must describe the level of expertise needed to complete the task.

Level of expertise needed in Upwork

Most of the time, the less experience is needed, the less the freelancer will charge you. This can also have a significant impact on the results.

For our example, we believe an entry-level candidate could handle the job, but we prefer someone with more experience, so we will select 'Intermediate.'

The fourth step is listing your budget for the project. This can either be as an hourly rate or the total project budget:

Hourly rate in Upwork

For our Shopify store building project, we believe someone can get it done with an hourly rate of $10 to $40.

Setting an hourly rate on Upwork

After setting the budget, the fifth and final step is to add a description for the project.

Again, the more detailed and precise your project description is, the better the outcome will be.

This is what we came up with for our project:

Hiring description in Upwork

When a potential freelancer is looking for work at Upwork, they'll look into your job post description and see if they match what you're looking for. For this reason, you must make it clear.

After you've written the description, you can finally post your job!

Posting a job on Upwork

Once published, you should start getting proposals from freelancers.

3. Invite freelancers to your dropshipping tasks

After creating your job post, you can proactively invite freelancers to apply for your job.

To do that, search for freelancers based on the specific skills you need.

For example, we needed help with someone creating a Shopify store for us.

If we search 'Shopify store setup,' we can find freelancers who could possibly help us.

Searching Shopify store setup on Upwork

From the search result, we could pick a freelancer and click on 'Invite to Job.'

Freelancer of Upwork

Then, you can send the freelancer a message and explain what you need help with.

Remember that before inviting someone for your job, you should check their profile to see if you're happy with what they can provide.

You should look at the skills of the freelancer:

Skills of a freelancer in Upwork

You should also look into the reviews of previous companies that hired the freelancer.

The profile shows other important information, including the work languages, education, and average response time:

Profile of a freelancer in Upwork

If everything looks good, you can message the freelancer for your task.

In our example, we needed help with the Shopify store setup, so this is what we wrote:

Messaging freelancer on Upwork

Once you send the message, the freelancer will get back to you with all the relevant information, and you can start the hiring process!

Note about the limit of job invites: When you post a job as a client, you can send up to 30 invites to freelancers for your job. If you want to increase the limit to 70 per day, you can pay $29.99 per job posting. However, for most people, 30 invites are sufficient, so there's no need to worry about this.

4. Hire freelancers from the Upwork search

On top of creating a job post and inviting freelancers to your job, you can also hire directly from the Upwork search.

Type in dropshipping-related tasks or skills, such as 'Facebook Ads,' and explore the search results.

Searching Facebook ads on Upwork

Then, from the search, find a freelancer that piques your interest.

This person had a high job success rate, so we picked him as an example:

Upwork freelancer

If you click on the freelancer's profile, you can see this 'Hire' button:

Hiring button of Upwork

When you click on it, you can directly send a contract to the freelancer and set the contract terms, work description, and weekly limit:

Hiring contract of Upwork

Keep in mind that the freelancer doesn't have to accept your job offer when you send him a contract.

Most freelancers will likely accept your job offers if you're willing to pay them what they're worth and show respect.

3 Upwork alternatives for dropshipping

Let's go through three Upwork alternatives that you can use for dropshipping-related projects!

1. Fiverr

Home page of Fiverr

The first alternative that everyone already knows is Fiverr.

Fiverr is a platform for hiring freelancers for various dropshipping-related tasks, such as website design, ad creation, speed optimization, and order management.

Fiverr is often considered less professional than Upwork and tends to have a slightly lower price range for talent.

It is commonly used for shorter-term projects. On the other hand, Upwork may offer better talent but at a higher cost.

Ultimately, depending on your needs, you should choose the right platform for you.

We also created an article about Fiverr for dropshipping, so check it out if you want to learn more.

2. 99designs

Home page of 99designs

An alternative to Upwork, 99designs is known for providing help with simpler dropshipping tasks related to design.

These tasks include logos, branding, and website design.

In a nutshell, here's how 99designs works:

  1. You create a simple brief to help their designers understand your needs.
  2. Their team will assist you in finding a designer for your project, or you can run a contest within the 99designs community and select the best design from the submissions.
  3. Once the design is done, you'll send the payment, and you can keep working with the designer if you want.

While it's quite similar to Upwork, 99designs focuses on the design aspect of projects.

3. PeoplePerHour

Home page of PeoplePerHour

PeoplePerHour is an Upwork alternative with a large global talent pool.

When searching for 'dropshipping' in the search bar, you can find hundreds of freelancers who can assist with various dropshipping tasks, including:

  • Product research and advertising
  • Shopify store setup process
  • Integrations with third-party apps
  • Custom coding for dropshipping stores
  • Website design

In terms of pricing, PeoplePerHour tends to be cheaper than Upwork.

However, PeoplePerHour has a less robust system than Upwork for detecting scammers, so you should be careful.

FAQs on using Upwork for dropshipping

Before we go into the last few sections, let's look into a few frequently asked questions about using Upwork for dropshipping.

How much does it cost to hire someone from Upwork?

While the cost varies on the freelancer and their level of expertise, the hourly pay on Upwork is usually between $10 to $100. You can also hire based on the project budget, such as managing Facebook Ads for $200.

Should I use Upwork or Fiverr for dropshipping?

While Upwork is known for being used for complex, long-term projects, Fiverr is more suited for short-term projects.
So, we recommend Fiverr for one-time projects, but for longer projects, we recommend Upwork.

Taking action

Reading and absorbing information and knowledge is great (definitely if it’s free!), but do you know what’s even better?

Taking action!

  1. Map your own needs. Upwork freelancers specialize in different areas of dropshipping. Before hiring someone, you should map your needs and determine the tasks potential freelancers can handle.
  2. Create your Upwork account. If you're convinced and ready to hire, you need to create your Upwork account. If you're unsure how to do this, we have covered the process earlier in this article!
  3. Create your Upwork job posting. This is the first actual step in hiring someone for your dropshipping tasks. Creating an Upwork job posting is quick and easy, and once it's done, freelancers can apply for your work, whether it's a one-off project or more long-term.
  4. Analyze the potential freelancers. After posting your job, you will likely receive multiple applications. It's important to review the freelancer's profile, including their reviews, hourly rate, and relevant skills for your task.
  5. Hire a freelancer and follow Upwork's safety rules. Once you have selected a freelancer, make sure to adhere to Upwork's safety rules. This includes keeping all communication within the Upwork platform to avoid scams or disputes.

Conclusion

So, can you use Upwork for dropshipping?

Yes!

We don't recommend using it for every part, and you may want to handle some of your dropshipping processes yourself. Instead, consider using it for different parts of dropshipping, such as designing, advertising, store creation, or order management.

Our testing has proven that Upwork indeed has the necessary talent for dropshippers. And, if you have a skill in the dropshipping space, you can even consider listing yourself as a freelancer on Upwork.

The choice is yours.

If you have any questions about Upwork dropshipping, feel free to leave us a question below!

Good luck with everything!

Want to learn more about dropshipping?

Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to start dropshipping here!

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Author

Hello, I am Elmeri Palokangas, owner of multiple different ecommerce brands! I have been involved in the dropshipping space for over four years, and have learned a lot during that period. To help you, I want to share my knowledge of what I've learned during my years of dropshipping.

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