How to become Top Rated Plus on Upwork

At the beginning of July 2020, I received a curious email from Upwork telling me that I had been granted a “Top Rated Plus” badge. That was quite the news to me! I had never heard about this badge, and it was apparently a new thing…

It’s apparently the highest badge you can get on Upwork, and it’s supposedly only granted to Top-Rated freelancers who’ve received great feedback for big projects.

Let’s see what this badge is all about, and how you can get it.

How to become an Upwork Top Rated Plus Freelancer

Like for all Upwork’s badges and statuses, there are a few criteria that have to be met to receive the Top Rated Plus badge:

  1. Earn at least $10,000 over the past 12 months.
  2. If you have an agency, earn at least $20,000 over the past 12 months.
  3. Work on at least 1+ large contract* over the past 12 months.
  4. If you are a freelancer, you should NOT be an “Exclusive Agency” contractor (i.e. only working through an agency).

*large contract: So, what’s a large contract? Upwork gives us a table.

Large contracts for freelancers:

CATEGORYLARGE CONTRACT AMOUNT
Accounting and Consulting$10,000
Admin Support$10,000
Customer Support$20,000
Data Science and Analytics$10,000
Design and Creative$5,000
Engineering and Architecture$5,000
IT and Engineering$10,000
Legal$5,000
Sales and Marketing$10,000
Translation$5,000
Web, Mobile and Software Development$15,000
Writing$5,000

Large contracts for agencies:

CATEGORYLARGE CONTRACT AMOUNT
Accounting and Consulting$20,000
Admin Support$20,000
Customer Service$20,000
Data Science and Analytics$20,000
Design and Creative$10,000
Engineering and Architecture$10,000
IT and Networking$20,000
Legal$10,000
Sales and Marketing$20,000
Translation$10,000
Web, Mobile and Software Development$30,000
Writing$10,000

If I had to “translate” these criteria for human beings, that basically means that you have to make more or less $900 per month on Upwork and that you should have at least one substantial contract that’s generating recurring revenue every month.

It’s not impossible per see, but it’s a lot harder to make $5-10,000 with a single contract than it’s to make $10,000 in a year. So keep in mind that you will have to build long-term relationships with your clients if you want to become Top Rated Plus!

The benefits of being Top Rated Plus on Upwork

The Top Rated Plus badge is not just a fancy badge that will be displayed on your profile. It also brings a few benefits to the table:

  1. You get reduced fees on Featured Jobs (starting at 10%).
  2. Like Top Rated freelancers, you can remove a specific review from your JSS and/or profile.
  3. Like Top Rated freelancers, you will receive special job proposals assisted by a Talent Specialist.
  4. You will receive a “Job Digest” email that contains job offers that match your skills.
  5. You get faster payment on hourly contracts.
  6. You get premium customer support.

If you are already a Top Rated freelancer, you were already granted all these benefits and there’s nothing new for you here.

Conclusion

Don’t obsess too much about Upwork badges, and even more so with the “Top Rated Plus” badge. It’s just another gimmick that Upwork added to its list of fancy badges and statuses to make it look like you have it better than others.

In reality, as you can see, there’s no actual difference between being Top Rated or Top Rated Plus, apart from feeling like you’re “superior” to other freelancers.

All in all, Upwork badges are really a *reward* that you get by working hard and getting good reviews. They happen naturally if you sustain good relationships with clients and make sure they grant you 5 stars.