Feb 05, 2024

Upwork Connection Price: What Changed in 2024?

As of January 2024, buying 300 Connections costs 45 U.S. dollars and reflects the Upwork Connection Price. But how does Upwork decide the number of Connections needed for a job? This study aims to explore the dynamics of the Connection Cost changes over the last six months, assess the current state, and predict future trends.

Kushnir Marian

Co-Founder | CEO

In this article:

  1. Connection price structure
  2. Sales & Marketing*
  3. Web, Mobile & Software Dev*
  4. Design & Creative*
  5. Engineering & Architecture*
  6. Conclusions

*Click to find your niche

In the Upwork freelancing world, not every proposal turns into a project, so knowing the client acquisition cost is crucial. On Upwork, this cost is known as Connection Cost—a virtual currency that allows freelancers access to potential projects, often called the Upwork Connection Price.

As of January 2024, buying 300 Connections costs 45 U.S. dollars and reflects the Upwork Connection Price. But how does Upwork decide the number of Connections needed for a job?

Details on how Upwork values each job are scarce, making the platform somewhat opaque for users. This lack of clarity also affects understanding the Upwork Connection Price, vital for freelancers to connect with potential clients.

Upwork states that the number of Connections required varies based on the project's expected duration, budget, and market demand. This means the Upwork Connection Price changes to match these factors.

If a project doesn't attract enough freelancers, Upwork may lower the Connections needed, thus reducing the Upwork Connection Price. If demand is high, the required Connections and cost might increase.

So, we don't have precise criteria for setting the Upwork Connection Price for applications specific to our activities. We work with approximate ranges instead.

This study aims to explore the dynamics of the Connection Cost changes over the last six months, assess the current state, and predict future trends. We're examining the change in the minimum Connection Cost or the varying Upwork Connection Price across Upwork's most popular and largest service categories.

Covered niches:

  1. Digital Marketing
  2. Lead Generation & Telemarketing
  3. Sales & Marketing

The research sample is 232,242 jobs

Digital Marketing

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Lead Generation & Telemarketing

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Marketing, PR & Brand Strategy

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Web, Mobile & Software Dev

Covered niches:

  1. Blockchain, NFT & Cryptocurrency
  2. Desktop Application Development
  3. Ecommerce Development
  4. Game Design & Development
  5. Mobile Development
  6. Other niches

Research sample 342530 jobs / 12.16.2023–01.01.2024 Upwork disbanded Product Management and combined it with Scrum in internal categorization

Market Dynamics: Overall, Connection Cost in the Web, Mobile & Software Dev subcategories shows more stability and fewer fluctuations than in the Sales & Marketing category, but the price remains consistently high with minor changes in cost throughout the analyzed period. The most significant fluctuations are observed in the Blockchain, NFT & Cryptocurrency subcategory, reflecting the dynamic popularity of this market segment among Western clients.

Blockchain, NFT & Cryptocurrency

There is high volatility in the price of connects, with peaks reaching around 13.5 connects and dips to about 11.5 connects.

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Desktop Application Development

Values remain relatively stable with a slight tendency to increase, fluctuating in the range of 10 to 11.5 connects.

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Ecommerce Development

We have stability in Connection Cost at the level of 10–11 connects throughout the period.

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Game Design & Development

The cost increases and decreases throughout the period but remains within 10.5 to 13 connects.

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Mobile Development

Demonstrates relatively stable dynamics with minor fluctuations from 10 to 11.5 connects.

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Other niches

QA Testing, Scripts & Utilities, Web & Mobile Design, Web Development, and Product Management & Scrum categories show stable dynamics with minor fluctuations, staying within the range of 9 to 11 connects.

🔗 View visualization for QA Testing, Scripts & Utilities, Web & Mobile Design, Web Development, Product Management & Scrum

Design & Creative

Covered niches:

  1. Art & Illustration
  2. Audio & Music Production
  3. Branding & Logo Design
  4. Graphic, Editorial & Presentation Design
  5. NFT, AR/VR & Game Art
  6. Performing Arts
  7. Photography
  8. Product Design
  9. Video & Animation

The research sample is 294,694 works

Market Dynamics: The cost of "connects" in this category varies from 8.5 to 14, depending on the subcategory. The greatest fluctuations are observed in the subcategories of Art & Illustration and NFT, AR/VR & Game Art, indicating a clear trend, especially considering a similar situation in development in this direction. The most stable "Connection Costs" are in Performing Arts and Photography, indicating a more predictable market.

Art & Illustration

Audio & Music Production

Relatively stable cost of connects with minor fluctuations around 11.

Branding & Logo Design

The initial cost is lower, around 9 connects, with a slight increase and stabilization around 10.

Graphic, Editorial & Presentation Design

The cost starts higher, around 10 connects, with a noticeable increase to 11 and overall stability.

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NFT, AR/VR & Game Art

High fluctuations in cost, with decreases and increases within the range of 11 to 13.5 connects.

Performing Arts

Low and stable cost of connects, within the range of 8.5 to 9.5.


Stable cost with minor fluctuations from 10 to 11 connects.

Product Design

Slight increase from 9 to 10.5 connects, followed by stability.

Video & Animation

Initially, the cost is stable around 10 connects, then there is an increase to 11.5 and overall stabilization.

Engineering & Architecture

Covered niches:

  1. 3D Modeling & CAD
  2. Building & Landscape Architecture
  3. Chemical Engineering
  4. Civil & Structural Engineering
  5. Contract Manufacturing
  6. Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  7. Energy & Mechanical Engineering
  8. Interior & Trade Show Design
  9. Physical Sciences

Research sample of 52,035 works

Market Dynamics: Most specializations show a stable or slightly increasing trend in Connection Cost with minor fluctuations in cost throughout the analyzed period. Subcategories such as Interior & Trade Show Design and Physical Sciences are marked by significant drops in the cost of connects, which may indicate a slump in demand. Upwork, as the regulator of connects pricing, tries to “subsidize” these declining areas in this way.

3D Modeling & CAD

Shows relative stability with minor fluctuations, mostly within 11–13 connects with a slight decline towards the end of the period.

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Building & Landscape Architecture

Follows the general trend with gradual growth from 9 to a peak of 12 connects, then decreases to about 10.

Chemical Engineering

Has a wide range of fluctuations, starting from 10 and reaching a peak of 13 connects, with a clear decrease in cost towards the end of the period.

Civil & Structural Engineering

Connects values are stable with a slight increase from 9 to 11 connects.

Contract Manufacturing

Shows greater volatility with peak values around 13 connects and drops to 9.

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Overall stability with slight fluctuations, generally within 10–12 connects.

Energy & Mechanical Engineering

Stable cost of connects with a slight increase from 10 to 12 connects.

Interior & Trade Show Design

Experiences the greatest decrease, falling from 11 to less than 9 connects.

Physical Sciences

Observes the sharpest decrease in the cost of connects from 13 to 7, showing significant fluctuations.

Conclusions: 2024 time of change for Upwork connections price

It seems that 2024 will be a year of changes dictated by the trends of 2023:

The current situation allows us to hypothesize that Upwork has accumulated a sufficient mass of service providers and is ready for "slimming down".

One is reminded of LinkedIn, which in 2022-2023 implemented a policy of "professionalizing" the platform for similar reasons. The main problem then was the spam of commercial messages, the simplest sales tactic, the abuse of which reached a strategic level. The number of connections available to you today is limited to 100 per week, forcing you to be selective in the outreach process and emphasizing the quality of communication.

Upwork, in turn, is trying to do something similar by increasing the cost of Connects, trying to generate more revenue where possible, making the tactic of spamming in project proposals financially unviable, which includes autobidders, and improving the quality of the service provider pool on the platform.

Impact on Newcomers: The increase in Connection Cost creates a greater barrier to entry into the platform. Newcomers, who come to Upwork in search of their first projects, may face higher investment costs in Connects, which can deter potential talents or force them to seek alternative career development paths.

Selectivity in Work: For freelancers and agencies working through Upwork, this increase means the need for a more careful selection of projects. The high Connection Cost means that each submitted application must be aligned with the overall strategy of positioning on the platform, with a particular emphasis on profitability and skill match.

"Quantity" loses to "Quality": These changes reflect the general trend towards a more strategic approach to writing proposals. Service providers must not only carefully select projects but also strive to optimize their profiles and proposals to ensure maximum alignment with the requests of their target clients.

Agencies using Upwork face a reality where each project choice and each used Connect requires an additional level of strategic thinking in terms of the economics of a single sale.

The rules of the game have changed, and successful professionals will be those who can adapt and thrive in new circumstances, embracing the thoughtful approach to lead generation and sales that Upwork itself is pushing us towards.