What to Look for When Hiring a Web Developer on Upwork

Hiring a web developer from Upwork can be overwhelming the first time.

There are many options and a lot to do when choosing the right candidate.

In this article we break down the most important factors when choosing the right web developer on Upwork but the tips can be applied to any other freelance platform. 

There are no hard and set rules when choosing a freelancer. However, with some tips you can increase your chances to succeed.

Freelancers Location

hiring Web Developer from UpworkThe freelancer’s location plays a big part in how much you’ll pay. American freelancers are typically the most expensive.

That doesn’t always mean they are the best. If you’re in the US, Upwork asks if you would like to work with freelancers in the US or the rest of the world.

Benefits of American Freelancers

Time Zone

A benefit of American freelancers is the time zone. Having a developer in a close time zone is clutch if you prefer to talk to the developer after 3pm.

No matter where you are in the US, after 5pm it’s difficult to schedule a meeting with a freelancer overseas.


If it’s your first time having a website developed then communication is key.

Freelancers without any reviews are especially tricky to work with and require a degree of skill to work with due to cultural differences.

That being said, choosing a freelancer from abroad, even Canada, can be less expensive.

If you have clearly defined all aspects of the website then you may be able to hire a less experienced freelancer at a cheaper rate. 

On the flip side, if you’re not sure of what you need and new to hiring then you will need trusted guidance.

A native English speaker with reviews explaining how well they communicate is ideal.

Check Reviews

We check reviews on everything from movies, to Amazon and Uber drivers. Reviews help us decide if the person is right for us.

Look out for a lot of reviews for little funds. Especially if they never worked hourly.

Hourly work is monitored by Upwork, therefore it’s a little more difficult to scam. Hourly work also helps make sure freelancers are who they say they are (more on that below).

Of course, if they have lots of glowing reviews then they are going to be more expensive.

Another drawback of many positive reviews on Upwork is the freelancer is busier. If another, better paying job comes along then the web developer may choose to put your project on the back burner.

This happens everywhere, but in our experience more so when working with freelance web developers overseas.

The only thing you can do is make sure you’re paying fairly for the work and be nice.

What to Look for in Proposals

Some of the proposals are very good. Most are templates and the freelancer didn’t read your proposal.

One way to weed out templates and see if the candidate actually read the job post is by asking a question in the job post. Then ask the freelancer to answer the question in the first sentence.

Another thing to look out for is work they didn’t complete. Many freelancers on Upwork have a long list of websites they said they designed.

How can you know they really designed and developed those websites?

Unless they have an agency that they themselves run and it’s on the footer of every site then you can never know for sure.

Ask specific questions about how they would go about creating the website. Also, if the company doesn’t match in all the footers you can simply ask why. 

Freelancer is Not Who They Say They Are

There are times when the image isn’t the person you’re talking to. 

Upwork has a good policy in the US and completes video checks on freelancers from time to time to make sure the person you’re working with is who they say they are.

However, they are a bit more relaxed with overseas freelancers. Which is unfortunate because it wastes everyone’s time when the freelancer takes forever to get back to us.

Probably because they have to check with the actual web developer and then answer the client.

Freelancers shouldn’t take 2 days to get back to every question asked.

Freelancers Face Issues Too

It’s not all roses for freelancers. Most common issue is clients who aren’t willing to pay enough for a service. Later, they complain about subpar work.

There are also scams too. Many beginning freelancers are so desperate to make money that they complete projects just to show that they can do the work.

In the end the client takes the work and ghosts the freelancer.

Final Thoughts on Hiring Web Developers from Upwork

People make it sound easy to hire good talent, and it is, but there is a learning curve. Especially when your budget is tight.

Even if you have a decent budget, you don’t want to squander it on a web developer who isn’t qualified, doesn’t communicate well or can’t explain what they did.

Now that you have an understanding of what to look for, hopefully you’ll make a good choice when hiring a freelance web developer from Upwork.

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