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How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork?

4 min read
Want to find out how to create a freelancer marketplace like Upwork? Here’s everything you need to know.
How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

“Got skills? Sell them!” This principle has inspired millions of freelancers worldwide to turn to the internet, do what they do best, and become location-independent.

What’s more, that’s not all. During the last ten years, services marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr have sprung up and changed the way we live and work.

There are around 70.4 million freelancers in the U.S., (as of 2022) and that makes it a huge market full of business opportunities.

So, if you are considering building a freelance marketplace, keep reading. In this article, we’ll explore what types of marketplaces there are, what software to use, and what features to implement.

What’s a services marketplace?

Service marketplace platforms facilitate the purchasing and offering of services between service seekers and service providers by starting, encouraging, arranging, and concluding the buying and offering process online.

Today, freelance marketplaces have become the standard way for sourcing help.

The great success of the current freelance marketplace platforms is one of the primary reasons why entrepreneurs are looking to get into the business.

How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

Websites like Upwork and Fiverr have significantly changed the way companies find freelancers nowadays. Millions of people worldwide can work remotely thanks to the freelance marketplace like Upwork.

On the other, Uber and Airbnb have changed the way we travel, have created more jobs within the gig community, and have given homeowners an excellent way to make extra cash on the side.

Types of services marketplaces

Nowadays, there are various different types of marketplaces. They can be divided based on the customer type, focus of the platform, the industry, as well as other criteria.

Nevertheless, there are three main types of services marketplaces based on their audience:

  • Business-to-Business (B2B)
  • Business-to-Customer (B2C)
  • Customer-to-Customer (C2C)

Let’s take a closer look at each type of freelance marketplace to learn more about its business model, concept, and common challenges.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

A Business-to-Business service marketplace is a website where wholesalers offer their services or products to buyers in bulk.

For example, you can provide design services and create a logo design and other branding elements for businesses.

How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

This kind of marketplace is typically operated by a third party, which enables businesses to use it on beneficial terms.

The whole idea of online B2B marketplaces lies in entirely automating the selling and buying process, all while providing an excellent customer experience and improving the transparency of financial deals.

Business-to-Customer (B2C)

On Business-to-Consumer freelance marketplaces, businesses sell their services and products directly to customers.

A great number of Business-to Consumer marketplaces are one-stop shops where people can buy various types of goods and services online. And since this is one of the most popular models today, the internet is abundant in B2C marketplaces.

Booking is a great example of a B2C online marketplace – it connects hoteliers with travelers and features an extensive list of properties.

Customer-to-Customer (C2C)

Customer-to-Customer (C2C) or also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces connects people with similar needs and incomes so they can share services and products with each other.

The goal of this freelance marketplace type is that peers can share products (think Etsy) or services (Uber, Airbnb, etc.) in exchange for money or other services and products.

C2C online marketplaces are an integral part of the sharing economy, as they help people to make the most out of their resources through renting.

How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

The interesting thing about the P2P freelance website marketplace is that today you can be a consumer, but tomorrow you can become a service provider.

What’s more, the C2C type of marketplace has shorter sales cycles and length of relationship as opposed to the B2B and B2C models.

💡 Pro tip

Keep users on your freelance marketplace. Add video conferencing, appointment scheduling, booking pages, and payment processing options so they never need to leave. See how to increase your value proposition.

Things to consider before you start building a freelance service marketplace

Let’s take a look at the simplest marketing factors to consider when creating a freelance service marketplace.

What problem do you solve?

You can create the best marketplace on the web featuring all the bells and whistles and still not be successful if you don’t solve a specific problem.

You need to design your freelance marketplace in a way for it to stand out from the crowd and attract the right people.

For instance, the main problem that Upwork solves is quickly finding reputable freelancers and connecting them to companies.

Who is your target audience?

Regardless of your marketing strategy, you won’t be able to make the most of it if you don’t really understand who your target audience is.

To learn who would benefit most from your services marketplace, you should first determine which demographics you’ll be targeting and factor in their age, consumption habits, and other factors.

How to Create a Freelance Marketplace like Upwork

To determine your target audience, google the most popular blogs in your niche, read the comments to see what usually people ask and how they converse about their problems.

Another way to determine your target audience is to start a newsletter.

The email game is changing this year, and tools like Mailchimp can help you grow and understand your audience, so you can also build and grow your marketplace business.

What’s the best way to grow your user base?

The next big step in creating your marketing strategy is finding sellers and buyers who will join your marketplace.

Fortunately, there are various ways to do this without spending a fortune on ads.

The only thing you need to know is who is your target audience and where they usually hang out on the web.

Facebook and Reddit are excellent ways to promote your marketplace to your target audience. Find groups in your niche and engage with users by answering their questions.


Building a freelance marketplace can be a highly profitable business model if you’ve researched your marketplace niche and done your homework.

However, before spending resources on tools and marketing, make sure your marketplace solves a specific problem and offers all the essential features to provide a seamless user experience and build trust with your users.

Even though you might face fierce competition, with the right niche and marketing strategy, you can easily create a successful freelance marketplace like Upwork.