Upwork vs Contract Devs


The shortage of software developers across the UK is no secret and is predicted to get worse. Approximately 25% of all jobs advertised are for software developers and companies are struggling to hire.

Inevitably during your hunt for software developers, you will have come across Upwork, as it’s one of the best-known freelancer marketplaces.

If you’re a small to medium-sized business looking for software developers the following content will help you understand Contract Devs solution compared to Upwork’s.

Comparison Factor

Contract Devs


Wide pool of talent


Screening / Speed



Detailed Comparison

1. Wide pool of talent

The biggest benefit of outsourcing development is gaining access to a global pool of talent.

Upwork is currently one of the top 2 largest freelance marketplaces based on the number of registered freelancers (estimated at 18 million) and is the largest freelance platform based on the total dollars spent by clients. With its enormous presence, Upwork's talent pool consists of a wide range of freelancers located all over the world. 

Contract Devs specialises in the procurement of highly skilled Eastern European software engineers. Eastern Europe has an estimated tech talent pool of 1.3 million developers and 2500 software houses. With close zone proximity and high English proficiency Eastern Europe is now one of the world’s most favourable IT outsourcing destinations.

2. Cost

For employers, hiring freelancers and contractors allows them to hire short-term (per project, per task or for a fixed length of time) and to cut employment costs (employers pension and national insurance, statutory pay etc), which significantly reduces their overall costs. 

A UK contract software engineer rate can vary depending on skills, seniority and years of experience and start at £300 per day rising to £700 per day for the most experienced. The median daily rate in the UK is £500.

Upwork relies on a bidding-marketplace model to match freelancers with relevant projects posted by clients on its site. With such a vast user base, it is natural that you'll be able to find freelancers to fit almost every budget possible. The range quoted by Upwork for software developers is $15 - $30/hour. As Upwork’s model is geared towards task and project based work, securing a freelancer exclusively is unlikely, so day rates are probably not useful here, but for small projects and one-off tasks that have minimal risk, Upwork is worth considering. With freelancers having to pay 20% to Upwork from this, it is not surprising that a common complaint on Upwork forum is freelancers logging more hours worked than expected. Clients should closely monitor new freelancers and the work they do, especially at the beginning of a client/freelancer relationship but again this can be time-consuming.

When you hire with Contract Devs there are no recruitment fees, just one simple all inclusive day rate. Our mid-point daily rate is £270. Eastern European developers tend to be more affordable than their western equivalents. This is the result of the low cost of living and has nothing to do with the quality of developers, as the rankings by SkillValue Report shows. Our developers are exclusively dedicated to the client for the time of the contract. 

Managing the recruitment process yourself seems like a simple way to cut costs; however, more often than not, the recruitment process can take significantly longer than anticipated.

3. Speed of hire

Access to a global talent pool is an advantage. But it can also become a disadvantage. 

Upwork doesn't have a stringent screening process. This makes the entry into the platform relatively easy for any person, irrespective of the quality of skills. However, for clients, this means they get bombarded with a lot of poor proposals each time they post a job. Since there's no screening process, evaluating the quality of talent is entirely left to the client. Sifting through proposals, ratings and feedback, pre-screening potential candidates and arranging interviews etc., in order to hire a developer who is a fit from both a skill perspective and a cultural perspective, can be time-consuming.

Contract Devs have invested heavily into our own private network. We will screen roughly 30 highly qualified candidates, and make a shortlist for you. You can hire a software developer with us and be ready to start work within 3-5 days on a flexible developer contract that works for you. 

4. Quality

While it’s true that hiring freelance developers can guarantee you low prices, it can’t, however, assure you good quality output.

With such a huge number of freelancers on Upwork, competence and skill can vary widely. The bidding model rewards low proposal rates and minimal screening of the freelancers makes this a relatively high-risk ordeal. Ridiculously low rates can be an indicator of low quality work, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t find reliable freelance developers with relatively low rates, it just means you can’t accept the lowest one and hope for the best.  Freelancers frequently overstate the level of their expertise, experience and education and effective vetting is a must.

Contract Devs only works with the top quality software developers sourced from Eastern Europe - the hub of IT outsourcing for UK companies. The Global Sourcing Association (GSA) UK named Ukraine United Kingdom’s “Offshoring Destination of the Year” and four Eastern European countries appear in the top five slots for the best developers in the world in the SkillsValue survey.

5. Reliability

Since Upwork freelance developers usually accept multiple projects or work on many tasks at the same time, it’s quite possible that your freelance developer will miss a deadline, or disappear without finishing the project. If another project requires more time and attention to complete or offers a higher rate, it’s only natural that the freelance developer will prioritise that project over yours.  While ratings give some indication of quality and reliability, Upwork allows freelancers to have feedback removed. Upwork's support has been criticised regularly on several platforms, particularly its poor attempt to resolve concerns. 

Contract Devs does not work with freelancers. All our developers work for dedicated out-staffing companies that are contractually obliged and accountable to their in-house management team and are fully dedicated to our clients. In case of an issue we have multiple people in our structure that can jump in and handle any disputes very quickly.


If you want to find out more about how we can help you find the right developers for your team, please get in contact with us and we can give you more information about how we work.

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