Guru vs Upwork vs StaffVirtual: Comparing Freelancer Market Places

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Guru vs Upwork vs StaffVirtual: Comparing Freelancer Market Places

Guru vs Upwork vs StaffVirtual: Comparing Freelancer Market Places

Fiverr,, Toptal, Guru, Upwork… all of these names are taking employers by storm as a new wave of outsourcing and freelancing options has changed the global economy. 

No longer restricted to national or regional talent pools, employers are now going about 300,000 jobs get outsourced from the US every year. 

Choosing to work with international professionals not only widens the talent pool but is also a more cost-friendly approach as both small businesses and large corporations gain access to less expensive markets like the Philippines and India.  

But how to know which platform to go with? 

In this article, we’ll review two popular freelance platforms known as Guru and Upwork and compare them to STAFFVIRTUAL’s outsourcing solution to help you make a guided decision on whom to work with. 


Guru Overview is an open freelance job board that provides a common ground for employers to meet and collaborate with freelancers for projects. Employers can choose from a range of niches available, payment methods offered, and pay only when the work is completed. 


Employers are given access to a global directory of freelancers with various skill sets. According to their specific needs, employers can vet their options and choose a freelancer (or “guru”) that they feel is the right match. 

Businesses can also post their own jobs and invite direct proposals from interested freelancers. 

Guru also offers bigger companies that wish to manage bigger teams of freelancers an enterprise solution. Businesses enrolled in this solution receive personalized and dedicated support, a customized workflow management system, and training sessions. 


Guru’s Pros

  • Guru’s fees are considered fairer in comparison to other platforms. They charge a 2.9% payment processing fee on transactions. Job posting is free for employers, and Guru Enterprise charges on a quote basis.
  • Guru has a fast and straightforward hiring process. Once an employer finds a guru they want to work with, all they have to do is sign the deal, and the job immediately goes through. This leads to less time spent on bureaucratic activities and faster closing rates. 


Guru’s Cons

  • Guru’s user reviews have reported issues with the interface. While the interface is user-friendly, some have reported a lack of clickable options and that more information needs to be provided upfront. 

(Read Jon’s full review here.)


  • Guru’s simple user interface also limits its functionalities. Its simplicity means it works effectively as a freelance job posting platform, but beyond that, its use case is limited for free users. 


Schedule a free consultation


Upwork Overview, formerly known as Elance, is one of the biggest freelancing platforms available on the Internet and is used by many business owners worldwide.  



Upwork, like Guru, gives employers a common platform to connect with individual freelancers who boast a varied skill set spread across several niches. 

They can display the years of experience they may have through their profile, where they can also show their job success score, portfolio, and hourly rates (for both part-time and full-time opportunities). Some freelancers also include a link to their LinkedIn profiles.

On Upwork, new clients are offered messaging options with freelancers to discuss before making a decision. This is a great use case, be it for small projects or more significant commitments. Employers also feel more secure leveraging the platform due to the strict policies Upwork has in place.


Upwork’s Pros

  • Upwork is one of the largest and most trusted freelance platforms online. It promotes transparency and makes it easy to connect with potential freelancers who are vetted and screened beforehand, thus reducing the risk of running into scammers.
  • Upwork has a wide variety of freelancers in many industries. Ranging from marketers and SEO experts to WordPress designers and social media managers; its services are incredibly varied and there is likely a solution for every business on Upwork. 

Upwork’s Cons 

  • Upwork, however, faces the issue of an oversaturated marketplace. The competition is high, and any freelancer is free to join the platform, meaning more time spent by businesses on vetting and screening applicants independently.
  • Upwork also charges additional fees on top of the project fee paid to freelancers. Employers have to pay 2.75% of the rate to Upwork itself. 



Unlike freelancing platform solutions, STAFFVIRTUAL offers a high-quality outsourcing solution. Outsourced to the Philippines, we professional services related to customer support, back-office operations, hiring and training, payroll, and more! 



With us, employers don’t have to vet through several freelancer profiles online before finding a perfect fit. STAFFVIRTUAL provides a team of managed freelancers for the given project and handles the entire screening process on its own. All you have to do is choose from a curated list of freelancers made specifically for you and your project.



  • STAFFVIRTUAL provides increased speed and quality of outsourced services. The assigned team is thoroughly vetted, and the risk of scams is nonexistent due to the agency’s quality standards. 
  • It has reduced operational and recruiting costs. With no platform or payment processing fees, prices are made straightforward from the get-go, increasing transparency. 



  • While contracting work out to teams in another country, you might face the challenge of time zone differences (though it is rare).


Upwork vs. Guru vs. STAFFVIRTUAL 

Before deciding which solution to go with, it’s important to make a thorough comparison of all of them and make an informed decision. 

Keep reading to find out how Guru, Upwork, and STAFFVIRTUAL differ on the following bases: 

  • Pricing and Fees
  • User Groups
  • Freelancer Screening and Selection
  • Customer Support
  • Usability


Pricing and Fees 

Understanding a solution’s pricing model and fee structure is integral in the decision-making process. You want to make sure to leverage a platform that is in line with your budget and offers friendly payment options too. 

On Guru, it’s free to use the platform to find freelancers. Guru is free to use for finding freelancers. However: 

  • The platform charges a 2.9% handling fee for every transaction/invoice paid. If businesses pay through an eCheck or do a wire transfer, they can avail a 100% cashback on this fee. 
  • The platform also charges a $1 fee for withdrawals made to Paypal. 
  • For Guru Enterprise, a custom quote is given. 


On Upwork, it’s also free to post jobs and find freelancers. But Upwork: 

  • Charges a 2.75% processing fee per payment, on top of the freelancer’s project cost. 
  • For Upwork Pro (where businesses have dedicated hiring managers and account managers), it charges $149/month with a service fee of 10% across all project payments. 
  • For Upwork Enterprise (for larger businesses), a custom quote is given. 


With STAFFVIRTUAL, prices are customized depending on the individual client’s business model and needs. 

  • It starts with an entry-level quote of $1,000/month. 
  • For a detailed quote, businesses can book a free consultation with us and discuss their options. 


User Groups 

Another way to weigh up a platform is by looking at their past clientele and seeing if they match up with your industry or niche. They act as positive proof of the platform’s success with companies similar to yours. 


Guru’s success stories include companies from many industries, including IT, marketing, engineering, and even music! Their popular clients include Shopify, Splash, Bitly, and more. 


To have a read of Guru’s success stories, click here.


Upwork also services clients from many domains. Its most noteworthy clients include Microsoft and General Electric. This is also a testament to the platform’s broad category of services available. 


Read more about Upwork’s success stories here.


STAFFVIRTUAL, on the other hand, offers services and custom-made solutions streamlined to clients based on their business model, industry, and more. It provides services for various industries, including Travel, Logistics, Digital Marketing, providing IT solutions, and more. 


Check out more of STAFFVIRTUAL’s clientele here.

Thus, STAFFVIRTUAL caters to all types of organizations (retail, manufacturing, startups, eCommerce, and more!).


Learn How to Get Started


Freelancer Screening and Selection 

You want to make sure the platform you choose minimizes your work stress and time spent on finding a freelancer. With specific freelance marketplaces, businesses have to spend more time vetting and screening potential candidates on their own as the platform only acts as a bulletin. 

For instance, with Guru, employers can post unlimited jobs and receive proposals for the same. They can also use the search tool to skim through over 2 million freelancer profiles on the platform. However, there is no matching functionality where Guru itself helps the business find their hiring fit. Thus, it can take a while to find the best freelancer. 

Upwork operates on a similar model. Freelancers are given the liberty to join the platform for free and pitch their work to prospective employers. But the burden of final selection lies on the employers’ shoulders. With no clear vetting or screening system beyond the initial verification done, Upwork, too, is limited in this manner. 

Both Guru and Upwork offer better screening features as part of their paid solutions (i.e., Guru Enterprise/Upwork Pro and Upwork Enterprise.)


STAFFVIRTUAL operates on an entirely different model as it provides customized hiring solutions and does the vetting process on behalf of its clients. 



Depending on your needs, we provide a managed team of freelancers that best suit your requirements. This greatly reduces stress as you don’t have to invest time in screening and training the team. 


STAFFVIRTUAL’s services also extend beyond initial hiring as they help manage the team for the entire duration of the project. While Guru and Upwork may be the quickest way to find a one-off freelancer, STAFFVIRTUAL provides a long-term and sustainable solution to your outsourcing needs.

Customer Support 

How accessible is the platform you choose to go with, in case you require extensive support?

Guru offers 24/7 support via phone call options and online options, including email and ticket-based services. Previous users have said its dedicated support team is one of the platform’s strengths. 

Upwork’s customer support system is quite comprehensive, too. It provides an online help center including FAQs and an extensive database of help articles. For support, its users can connect via live chat, email, and telephone calls. Paid members receive even better support functionality through a 24/7, ticket-based system. 

With STAFFVIRTUAL, clients are given a dedicated team of managed freelancers to work with who are easily accessible. Businesses can also reach out directly for support via their Contact page or Book a Call


How user-friendly is the interface? This can have a significant impact on customer experience and ease of finding freelancers for hire.

Guru’s interface is said to be intuitive and easy to navigate. Its simplicity is one of the reasons for the platform’s popularity. However, it has limited features due to this very reason.

Upwork’s interface is also very much the same, with easy navigation through its drop-down menus for category-based freelancers and the search tools available. Upwork Pro and Upwork Enterprise users are given more functions beyond the free users regarding the tools available. 

With STAFFVIRTUAL, employers can easily connect with the team through the user-friendly website. There is a vast amount of information available to guide decision-making, but the best way to close the deal is by booking a call with them for a free consultation. 


Best Place To Hire Freelancers?

The growing gig economy indicates a substantial untapped opportunity for businesses around the world. It’s only bound to grow in response to a changing workforce; in fact, up to 90% of US employees would consider freelance or independently contracted work opportunities today. That means businesses can reap the benefits of such a vast pool of growing talent right now. 

To recap, let’s take a quick review of each platform's pros and cons. 





Guru’s fees are considered fairer in comparison to other platforms.

Lack of clickable options and that more information needs to be provided upfront. 

Features a fast and straightforward hiring process. Once an employer finds a guru they want to work with, all they have to do is sign the deal, and the job immediately goes through. 

Guru’s simple user interface also limits its functionalities. Its simplicity means it works effectively as a freelance job posting platform, but beyond that, its use case is limited for free users. 




Has a wide variety of freelancers to choose from in specific niches and industries. 

The platform is highly saturated and may make identifying niche-specific freelancers hard to find as there are so many listed on the platform and vying for work.

The AI helps businesses find a freelancer that is the best fit for them. 

Additional payment is required on top of the project quote. 




More assurance of speed and quality of services for a more cost-effective price. Reduces the cost and time needed to identify, hire, and train freelancers.

Time zone differences may (though rarely) cause challenges to direct and instant communication. 

Offers customized hiring solutions and conducts in-depth vetting on behalf of all clients so you can get back to higher value-add business endeavors.

Provides a managed team of freelancers from beginning to finish of any project, not just for singular, one-off projects.


All the solutions are available online if you’re only willing to look. We can help you find the best solution for your business today.

Schedule a free consultation with us at STAFFVIRTUAL, and we’ll help you understand what services you need to take your business game to the next level. 

Save time, money, and trouble through STAFFVIRTUAL today!


Schedule a free consultation

Ike Stranathan

Ike Stranathan

Ike Stranathan founded STAFFVIRTUAL in 2009 after moving to the Philippines from California. Ike lives just a block from his offices in Makati, Philippines, and is passionate about helping companies achieve dynamic growth by outsourcing.

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