Thumbtack vs Upwork: Find the Best Platform for Your Profession

By Kay FleuryUpdated on March 7, 2022

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As more people realize the benefits of increased flexibility, the ability to pick projects that best align with their goals and interests, and earn from multiple sources, more people join the gig economy. But creating an online presence when you start off as your own boss can be difficult. That’s where marketplaces like Thumbtack and Upwork come in, connecting talented professionals with customers who are looking to hire their services.

In this article, we will be comparing Thumbtack and Upwork on various parameters to help you choose the best platform to find new clients. Also, check out our list of social media platforms and apps for growing and managing your business.

What is covered in this article

Let us start with the basics about both platforms and then deep dive into understanding their benefits, pros, and cons to help you make the right decision for your business needs.

Thumbtack overview: the best for skilled labor jobs

Thumbtack homepage florist

Thumbtack is one of the most prominent tech companies in the services industry, serving as a business directory for professionals from every field. The platform goes a step further by allowing customers to view their skills, compare rates, and book services.

Anyone who has used Thumbtack knows how convenient the platform is to use, which is why users keep going back to check if they can find professionals for other services too. For example, if you’ve hired movers to help you move into your new home, you’d go back on Thumbtack to check if you can book an event planner or a wardrobe consultant for your housewarming party because you’ve seen the different kinds of services listed on the app.

Who is Thumbtack best for?

While Thumbtack lists the most number of services (compared to other home service platforms like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor (, customers tend to use it to hire skilled professionals for jobs like plumbing, gardening, packing, and moving, which are more labor intensive. If you are a professional running your own home-services small business or you work as an independent contractor, then Thumbtack can be a great place to find leads.

Thumbtack Pros

  • Free for users and professionals to join.
  • Any kind of professional can find their category on Thumbtack.
  • Service professionals only have to pay for leads that they want to communicate with.
  • If a lead doesn’t respond to the service professional within 48 hours, Thumbtack refunds them their fee.
  • When you sign up as a service professional on Thumbtack, you get $120 free credits to begin connecting with leads.

Thumbtack Cons

  • High number of professionals in each category, so competition is fierce, unless you have a niche skill.
  • Since customers can check out and compare rates, sometimes they will send a message to a professional even though they might be just price shopping. In this case, the service professional still gets charged, as they are talking to a potential lead which may or may not come through.
  • Thumbtack may not be the best fit for designers and professionals with good tech skills.
  • Service professionals can end up selling their services at a discounted price just to stay in the competition.
  • Credits that are used up to contact a lead is inconsistent and depends on the number of contractors bidding on the project, so there is no way to gauge how much they will be paying for a lead.

Download It Now: Android | iOS

Download It Now (for Thumbtack Pros): Android | iOS

Upwork overview: the best for tech and design professionals

Upwork homepage with a male and female professional

Upwork, which was born out of the merger of Elance and oDesk, has been a pioneer in the remote work marketplace for over two decades. This Silicon Valley startup wanted to find a solution for organizations to access a global pool of talent and not have any reservations about hiring someone sitting halfway across the globe.

Being a leader in the flexible talent marketplace, Upwork is an integral part of the gig economy for anyone in the online business world. They have more than 5000+ skills across 70 work categories listed on their website.

Who is Upwork best for?

If you are looking to hire a freelancer for a part of your project that requires specific skills, then Upwork can be a great resource to find talented professionals. Upwork is known to have more skilled professionals in the IT & development industry, content marketing, and administrative and accounting services.

Upwork Pros

  • Upwork is free for users and professionals to join.
  • Professionals on Upwork have a reputation of charging what they deserve and not underselling themselves.
  • A professional has hourly rates, since the scope of the project is unknown.
  • Upwork has a dedicated learning centre where professionals can constantly upskill themselves and get guidance on how to have a successful freelancing career.
  • Users can find talents with niche skills that they wouldn’t find on other platforms.
  • Users have access to a global talent, since most deliverables are online.
  • Professionals get exposure to work with business across the world.

Upwork Cons

  • Upwork charges 20% of the project fee from the professional.
  • Professionals have found incomplete job requests from companies who don’t understand the complexities or scope of the job, making it difficult to justify their rate.

Download It Now: Android | iOS

Download It Now (for Upwork Freelancers): Android | iOS

Thumbtack vs. Upwork comparison table: how these sites stack up

Now that you know a little bit about both Thumbtack and Upwork, let us look at the following table to help you visualize it better:




Average Job Cost

$40 - 70 / hour

$75 - 200 / hour

Review System

Users can leave a review once the job is completed. The service professional can only respond to a client’s comment left on their profile.

Both the talent and clients can leave a review about working with each other.


All 50 US states


# of Services

2000 +


Customer Service

Very responsive

Very responsive


Customers can contact the professional only through the platform.

Customers can only contact the professional through the platform to explain the scope of the job before booking their services.

Fee for Customer


Free + 3% payment processing fee (Basic); $49.99 / mo + 3% payment processing fee (Plus) | Custom quote for Enterprise

Thumbtack vs. Upwork: most & variety of services offered

Winner: Thumbtack

On Thumbtack, you can find a professional for pretty much anything. Unlike other platforms which are specialized for home services or odd jobs, Thumbtack has it all. From finding an officiant or a choreographer for your wedding, to hiring someone to repair your iPhone, you can find service professionals for all kinds of services. Upwork, on the other hand, focuses on connecting talent from around the world with businesses where projects can be delivered online. This includes mobile and app development, content marketing, customer support, and design services.

Is Thumbtack or Upwork’s review system better?

Winner: Upwork

Upwork has a 360 degree review system where both the talent and the client can review each other. This creates a level playing field for both of them, thus not allowing one or the other to have an upperhand to make unjust demands. This also allows the talent to look at client reviews before they take up a job to help them set clear expectations. Thumbtack allows customers to leave a review and rating at the end of the job completion while the service providers can only reply to customers’ comments.

Who has better fees for contractors: Thumbtack or Upwork?

Winner: Upwork

Since Upwork caters to a different kind of skilled worker (requiring more technical expertise compared to Thumbtack), which is best for labor intensive jobs, it has higher paying assignments. Where Thumbtack would be used for home services or other ‘non-office’ type services, Upwork’s market is catered towards small-business owners and companies looking to hire freelance help.

Which service provides the most leads for contractors?

Winner: Thumbtack

Since Thumbtack lists contractors and professionals in more than 2000 categories, sometimes you’d find a ‘jack of all trades’ who can be listed under multiple verticals, giving them access to more leads. Upwork, on the other hand, has professionals with a niche set of skills who may only match with someone who has those specific business needs.

We hope this article helped you understand and evaluate how well these platforms suit your business needs. While Thumbtack vs Upwork is a fair comparison of two prominent players in the gig economy, the former encompasses the entire service industry while the latter focuses on projects that can be delivered online. These marketplaces are a great source to find leads if you are starting off your freelance career that you could use to build a strong footing in your field. If you still haven’t found a solution for your needs, check out our article listing Thumbtack alternatives.