Upwork Hourly Rates Study: This is What Freelancers Are Charging Today


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I studied 15 popular niches on Upwork, this is what freelancers were charging

Whether you’re new to freelancing platforms like Upwork, or you’re new to gig work altogether, trying to figure out what your hourly rate should be can feel quite daunting. Charge too little and you’re leaving money on the table. Charge too much and you might scare off potential clients … theoretically, at least.

I recently studied 15 popular niches on Upwork to uncover exactly what freelancers are charging on the Upwork platform today. On average, beginners were charging between $10-$70, mid-level freelancers were charging between $10-$71 and experts were charging between $20-$100.

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Industries studied, my methodology

I recently took the liberty of cross-referencing 15 different industries from Upwork’s 2023 list of most in-demand skills and made mini-job posts for each on the platform. For the sake of this exercise, I narrowed my focus to the following:

  1. Full Stack Development
  2. Mobile App Development
  3. Web Design
  4. Social Media Marketing
  5. Accounting
  6. Recruiting & Talent Sourcing
  7. Bookkeeping
  8. Graphic Design
  9. Video Editing
  10. Presentation Design
  11. Illustration
  12. 3D Animation
  13. Transcription
  14. UX/UI Design
  15. Email Marketing

My methodology

For the sake of this exercise, I focused on hourly contracts with the following parameters: 3-6 month project length, short-term work, and medium scope. I also included five popular skills for each industry and limited my search to talent in the United States. I then examined the rate range for entry-level freelancers, intermediate freelancers and expert freelancers on each job type.

Average hourly rates on Upwork

My Findings

On average, Upwork freelancers were charging between $5-$200 on the platform. The lowest rates were reserved for entry-level jobs and entry-level freelancers. Freelance professionals in high-demand niches with many years of experience in specialized skill sets dominated the higher end of the scale.

NicheLowestEntryIntermediateExpertHighest
Full Stack Development$15-$20$35-$70$40-$70$65-$85$160-$165
Mobile App Development$5-$10$30-$65$50-$71$70-$90$120-$125
Web Design$10-$15$30-$58$35-$55$55-$75$155-$160
Social Media Marketing$5-10$20-$50$30-$65$60-$100$205-$210
Accounting$5-$10$26-$50$25-$50$40-$65$145-$150
Recruiting & Talent Sourcing$10-$15$25-$50$35-$55$51-$68$130-$135
Bookkeeping$10-$15$26-$45$25-$45$40-$55$90-$95
Graphic Design$10-$15$30-$45$30-$50$47-$65$145-$150
Video Editing$10-$15$30-$45$30-$50$47-$65$145-$150
Presentation Design$15-$20$35-$54$40-$65$64-$100$170-$175
Illustration$15-$20$25-$43$30-$45$42-$70$100-$105
3D Animation$5-$10$25-$40$25-$50$42-$80$130-$135
Transcription$10-$15$10-$20$10-$20$20-$30$60-$65
UX/UI Design$15-$20$31-$68$44-$70$65-$90$155-$160
Email Marketing$5-$10$25-$50$35-$65$55-$100$195-$200
Data Extracted Feb. 20, 2023.

It may be important to note that I originally also included SEO, Lead Generation, Email/Phone Support, Virtual Assistance and Data Entry in my research – but found it strange that each of these categories seemed to produce the same results ($5-$10 lowest, $60-$100 for entry/intermediate/expert and $205-$210).

These odd numbers raised my suspicions that Upwork may be filling in generic Upwork data where they don’t have enough industry-specific averages to create an accurate chart. And so, I ultimately decided to exclude these categories from the list.

A snapshot of my Upwork profile
A snapshot of my Upwork profile

What I charge on Upwork

Just to add some personal perspective to this data, I wanted to share a snapshot of my rate journey on Upwork over the past seven years.

When I first joined Upwork as an expert-level graphic designer, I set my rate to $20/hour just to get my foot in the door. After the first couple of projects resulted in 5-star reviews, I quickly changed my rate to $34 per hour, then later to $45 per hour, then again to $55 per hour, then to $75, then to $95, then to $120. Today, I charge $150 per hour on the platform with 8.358 billable hours and nearly $700,000 in total earnings.

I made a rule that every time I found myself booked solid for weeks, I’d bump my rate up just a smidge. After all, what did I have to lose if I already had more work than I needed?

I also discovered an interesting phenomenon along the way. Every time my rate increased so did the quality of my clientele. It’s true what they say – cheap Upwork clients tend to be more difficult than well-funded, more experienced clients. Increasing my hourly wages not only improved my bottom line but also my mental health. So don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with your rate from time to time to see if you can attract some of those more desirable, bigger fish.

Connect with me!

Where are you in your Upwork journey? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to connect with me on social media.

PS: If you’ve found any of the free advice on this site helpful, and you feel so inclined – buy me a coffee (leave a tip) on Kofi!

Photo of author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Morgan Overholt

Morgan has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Her successful freelance business has been featured in articles that have appeared on Upwork.com, Refinery29 and Business Insider Prime.

4 thoughts on “Upwork Hourly Rates Study: This is What Freelancers Are Charging Today”

  1. I just joined. I need a free course on how I can someday be like you. Thanks.

  2. Hey Solomon! Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for my FREE Upwork Jumpstart Kit.

  3. It’s great to see such detailed insights into how to determine your hourly rate as a freelancer! This information is extremely helpful for anyone just starting out in the field who may not have the experience necessary to set their price point yet.

  4. I am thinking about starting doing freelance on part time to possibly full time basis. I want to type pages out for Day Care, Nursing Homes, and any other businesses that need applications, policy and procedures, and what ever else they need. I can also sort receipts and get them ready for the accountant. I’m not sure as to how much to charge per hour for those services. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated

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