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UpWork Hourly Rates: The Best Rate For A Beginner [2023]

So you’re new to UpWork and wondering how to set UpWork hourly rates? 

Good news my friend, look no further because in this article I’ll give you the lowdown on how UpWork hourly rates work. 

I’ll also touch on how to set your hourly rate in UpWork, what the average hourly rate on UpWork is and everything you need to know to succeed on the platform. 

You might have concerns about overcharging clients with your UpWork average hourly rate and getting work, or undercharging and then getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous clients. 

Don’t worry, because as a beginner, you’re starting from ground zero (and the only way to go is up!). 

Plus, your new UpWork profile is your new canvas to set the best hourly rate for UpWork for yourself. 

Ready? I’m all set to show you how! 

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Upwork hourly rates

What Is UpWork?

UpWork calls itself the world’s work marketplace and is a platform that links up businesses and clients with independent professionals, freelancers and agencies all around the world. 

The platform first came about more than two decades ago with the aim of connecting talent and freelancers with good opportunities, and helping businesses meet their needs. 

Anyone can use UpWork, whether you’re a client looking for talent, or you’re a freelancer looking for work. 

There’s also a wide variety of opportunities and freelancers available on UpWork. 

You can find anyone from an album cover designer to a Zoom video conferencing specialist – it’s that broad! 

The best part about UpWork is that because it has such a wide database of clients and freelancers, joining as a beginner means that you can still stand a chance to earn if you’re willing to put in the work.

So, now the next question is, how do you earn from UpWork?

Difference Between An UpWork Hourly Rate And A Project Rate

Before you go about committing to a project or a client on UpWork, it is important to understand that UpWork as a platform operates with two main types of contracts and rates: 

  • a fixed-price contract and
  •  an hourly contract

For hourly contracts, this means that you as a freelancer will get paid an UpWork hourly rate set by your client, and agreed upon by you, for the time spent on the project. 

There are two ways that these hours can be tracked:

  • UpWork Desktop App where the freelancer logs time by downloading an app and the client can check the progress of the project through the Work Diary
  • Manual time billing where the freelancer keys in the time on their own

For fixed-price contracts, you and the client can agree to project milestones and respective payments. 

The payment timeline for both hourly contracts and fixed-price contracts differ slightly. 

For an hourly contract, as a freelancer, you will need to log hours through the app or manually every week until midnight UTC on Sundays. 

These hours are then billed to the client automatically every Monday. 

On the other hand, for fixed-price contracts, the client deposits the project milestone funds into UpWork’s escrow.

 This means UpWork as a third party temporarily holds the money till the milestone is met.

 This amount is then released as soon as work is submitted and the client approves the milestone. 

Both contracts, regardless of their payment modes and timelines, are protected by UpWork Payment Protection.  

Upwork hourly rates

Is There A Minimum UpWork Hourly Rate?

Yes, there is a minimum basic hourly rate in UpWork of $3.00 per hour. 

There are a lot of freelancers out on the UpWork platform and some freelancers might be keen to charge lower rates in order to get their first few clients.

There might also be clients who are looking to take advantage of the oversupply of talents to offer a lower price.

Having an UpWork minimum hourly rate protects you as a beginner from charging too low, and also ensures you are fairly paid for the work you’ve done. 

In case you’re curious, for fixed-price contracts, the minimum rate for this is $5.00

What Is The Average UpWork Hourly Rates 

Currently, the average UpWork hourly rate is $33.00 per hour though this varies widely depending on the country you’re in. 

You’ll also need to understand that UpWork per hour rates also differ depending on the type of work or service you’re able to provide.

For example, you can see on UpWork that the average rate for an Amazon Web Services developer can go from $20 to $45 per hour whereas, the UpWork hourly rate for writers for blogs, could change to $15 to $35 per hour

If you’re curious about what the other hourly UpWork pricing for freelancers are, like the UpWork hourly rate for data entry, among other fields, UpWork has a comprehensive guide to hourly rates across categories here

Upwork hourly rates

How To Determine The Perfect UpWork Hourly Rate

Setting up an UpWork account was the first step. 

Now you’re stuck on how to set your rate and whether there is even an UpWork beginner hourly rate. 

Surely you can’t be pricing your services at the same as the other freelancers who have been on the platform for ages. But you can’t price it too low else you may struggle to make ends meet.

The good news is – the UpWork hourly rate you set can change.

Setting an hourly rate on UpWork as a beginner doesn’t mean you have to stick to it for the whole of your time on UpWork. 

In determining the perfect UpWork hourly rate, you’ll want to think about the following points:

  • Money you need for your daily expenses 
  • Business expenses you might incur 
  • Current UpWork hourly rate for beginners and experienced freelancers in your field 
  • Level of demand for your skillset
  • How much value do you expect to give to the client 

What UpWork Hourly Rate Should I Set As A Beginner?

In setting your hourly rate as an UpWork beginner, you can start off by thinking of those points above and deciding how much you’d like to earn annually from your freelancing. 

It will differ if you’re looking to UpWork as a full-time income or a part-time/freelance one.

Once you’ve decided on this sum, say $60,000 a year, you simply divide it by the number of working weeks in a year (there are 52 weeks in a year but you may want to take some time off), times the working hours in a week.

For example, assuming you set out to work 40 hours a week and take 4 weeks off for the holidays, illnesses and unplanned emergencies, this works out to 48 weeks x 40 hours or 1920 working hours a year.

To determine your ideal hourly rate to stay in line with your annual income goal, it would be: $60,000 divided by 1920 hours = $31.25/hour as your UpWork hourly rate. 

So in this case your hourly rate in UpWork for beginners will be $31.25/hour

Feel free to then adjust this hourly figure alongside the average hourly rate freelancers in your field are charging as you want to remain competitive. 

But again, make sure it doesn’t veer too far from what you need to make a decent annual income! 

Upwork hourly rates

How Do I Tell My Client My UpWork Hourly Rates?

Talking about money is never easy but you have to if you want to earn from your freelancing work. 

First and foremost, the most important way of telling your client your UpWork hourly rate is by updating it on your profile page. 

Go to ‘Profile’ and click on ‘Hourly Rate’ to update the rate you’ve decided on.

Next, you might also want to tell clients of your hourly rate when pitching for projects especially if it differs from what you’ve listed on your profile.

 Perhaps it might be because the client has more requirements or you can value-add to their product.

Here’s how you can do it:

  • Have your portfolio ready. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, make sure you have your written pieces with you, whether it’s on a site or a document. 
  • Tell your client how you can meet their project requirements by aligning it with your past experiences and skillsets.
  • Value-add by telling them what else you can offer them that they might find useful for the project.
  • Confidently state your hourly rate for UpWork to them. 
  • Hope for the best. It’s perfectly normal if a client declines working with you as your rate might be above their budget. But hold your head high and as long as you’re actively pitching for projects, you’ll find a client who will see the value you’re delivering and meet you where you’re at. 
  • Lastly, remember to follow up, always! Clients can be busy and not following up is tantamount to giving up before you’ve even started. 

FAQs On Upwork Hourly Rates

What Is The Best Hourly Rate In UpWork?

The best hourly rate in UpWork is anywhere from $20 to $35 per hour, depending on your experience, skillset and demand for your skills. 

If you’re a beginner, start with $20/hour or less depending on how much those in your field are charging. 

If you have experience, go for $35/hour and above if you can prove you’re adding value to the client and can meet their needs. 

Is UpWork Hourly?

Yes, UpWork has an hourly rate option and a fixed-rate project option for both clients and freelancers. For the hourly option, clients have to pay freelancers a minimum of $3.00/hour for the time spent on the project. 

The rate can go up depending on the negotiation process between the client and the freelancer. 

Does UpWork Pay Daily?

No, UpWork does not pay daily. If you are on an hourly contract, it is based on a weekly billing cycle that ends on Sunday. Thereafter your funds will be ready for withdrawal 10 days later, which works out to the following Wednesday.

If you’re on a fixed-rate project, you will get paid once your client approves of your milestone or project completion and you can withdraw this amount after a five-day security period. 

What Skills Pay The Most On Upwork?

These skills pay the most on UpWork and listed alongside them is the average UpWork hourly rate: 

Upwork hourly rates

What Should You Not Do On UpWork

As a beginner on UpWork, it is very important you do not do illegal or suspicious things on UpWork that could get your profile banned, or result in you getting scammed of your personal details or even money.

 You should not do the following on UpWork:

  • Choose to take work or payments outside of UpWork as you might subject yourself to scams 
  • Give your username and password to anyone else 
  • Pay your client before you submit a job application
  • Do free work 
  • Creating or aiding in the creation of sexually explicit or pornographic content, which could also include erotic-style writing 
  • Process payments for a client or pay ahead for goods and services, which could also include depositing cheques or buying gift cards 
  • Receiving goods from clients, repacking and resending them as you could be the middleman in an elaborate scam
  • Clicking on unknown links provided by clients 
Upwork hourly rates

How Much Do Beginners Make On Upwork?

A beginner on UpWork can expect to make anywhere from $10 to $15 per hour.

Of course, it could differ too as this is very much dependent on the skills you’re putting out, the demand for your skills, your experience level and the number and quality of freelancers available with your skillset.

I hope you now have a clearer picture of how you should go about setting your UpWork hourly rates. 

I understand that it’s never easy to start something for the first time. It can seem very nerve-wracking and UpWork can seem very saturated that you might wonder if you can even earn at all from UpWork. 

But that’s also what I thought before I started. If I let the fear I had then stop me from starting, then I never would have taken on that proofreading job while climbing the majestic Everest base camp. 

You can definitely take that first step, it’s really not that scary!

And now that you already know how to set your hourly rate, the next step is to go out there and look for those clients to earn that moolah! 

If you want a quick course on this, I have just what you’re looking for.

If not, feel free to browse my other resources on freelancing and excelling at UpWork

You can do it, you absolutely can! 

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