Why Is Upad More Expensive & Are They Better Than OpenRent?

Upad logo/slogan

For the past several months, Upad.co.uk, the “UK’s largest online letting agent” (that’s their ballsy slogan, not my attempt of flattery), have been providing readers’ of this website with exclusive promotional codes, which allow landlords to use any of their ‘tenant find services’ at super discounted rates.

However, even with the generous discount code applied, Upad are still comparatively expensive compared to most other online letting agents, most notably their biggest rivals, OpenRent. So landlords are often, and rightly so, wondering if Upad is actually worth it?

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How much more expensive is Upad?

The average online letting agent that will advertise your rental on Rightmove & Zoopla charge landlords £60 or thereabouts for their no-frills tenant-find packages, while Upad’s discounted rate is £104 for their standard tenant-find UChoose package. But let’s assume they’re not in a generous mood for a moment, and they revoke the super awesome (and exclusive) discount code, then landlords will need to cough up more than double for an equivalent package, at a whopping £149 (inc VAT) *chokes on air* HOW MUCH?!?

But that’s not all.

If you’re looking for a more premium service from Upad, with all the bells and whistles, then you’re looking at significantly more spondoolies:

Upad pricing table

I have raised the issue directly with Upad before, the fact their ballsy price tag is probably scaring the shit out of landlords.

I mean, their price tag isn’t even close to their competitors, which ‘on the surface’ is offering a comparable product.

The premium packages (e.g. UPay On Success and Fully Managed) are heavily loaded with perks and seem to line-up better with their competitors in terms of price, and they’re certainly a decent solution for landlords looking for a more complete hands-off service. Especially the “Pay on success” package, which seems to grab a lot of attention for the obvious reasons. But, I want to focus on the ‘uChoose’ package, because it’s comparable to what other agents are offering for less than half the price, and it’s the service that most self-efficient landlords are opting for.

So, is it worth stumping up the extra cash?

What do Upad say about their pricetag?

After probing them with questions, this is what Upad came back with…

Upad say their price is just right” (no real surprise there), and they’re more expensive than their competitors because their level of customer service is that much more superior, and that’s backed up by their continuing market growth and positive feedback.

Most of Upad’s customers are either repeat customers or referrals from satisfied customers, which obviously speaks highly of their service.

They also say that “Upad” is searched more highly in Google than “Online Letting Agents“, which signals the power of their reputation/brand in the industry. Kind of like what “Hoover” has done in the world of vacuums (i.e. Hoover is actually the brand).

I’m not entirely sure how they gathered that data, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s entirely accurate. I’m not denying their reputation/brand, but I’m pretty sure a lot of that search data is tainted by users accidentally typing “upad” when actually meaning “ipad” (since “i” and “u” are next to one another on a keyboard- easy mistake to make).

There’s no easy way of being able to differentiate between legitimate landlords searching for “upad” and those meaning to type “ipad” Anyways, that’s just my opinion. Either way, their point is the Upad brand is synonymous for ‘quality’ in the online letting arena. You get what you pay for.

I also asked their marketing Director, Michael, for an official statement on why YOU should choose them, this is what they came back with…

Upad is the online agent created by landlords, for landlords. They won Best Online Agent at the ESTAS 2017, which was voted for by customers who gave an overwhelmingly positive response of Upad’s services and savings. Landlords should use Upad if they’re looking to avoid £1000’s in high street letting agent fees but with a personal touch that allows them to contact their own personal Account Manager. All Account Managers at Upad are ARLA qualified and available 7 days a week. As well as being a member of ARLA, Upad are also the only online letting agent that are a recognised supplier of the National Landlord Association.

Landlords who are looking to further develop their knowledge of letting property can use Upad’s plethora of free information and knowledge in the form of articles, guides, tax and legal advice, webinars and more. Upad make it easy for landlords to keep all their details in one easy to use console and means the next time they need to advertise, they simply click a button. Upad offers landlords a better way to let.

Thanks Michael. So basically, you’re saying we should all use Upad? Got it.

Are you convinced?

What do I think?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Upad’s service and I haven’t been afraid to say so.

When I used Upad’s service the one thing that stood out above all was the apparent amount of time and money they’ve thrown at their customer service department. The support was brilliant: I talked to real local people that were easily contactable, which is a rare treat in this digital age, so it certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

They also provide many additional resources, including frequent webinars and useful landlord guides. They weren’t particularly useful for me, but I can see they could be for the novice.

All of this support ain’t cheap.

For further reading, feel free to take a look through their impressive TrustPilot feedback/rating…

I can totally confirm and understand why they would put a premium price on their service.

Do you get the extra £89’s worth? Yes.

But, do you NEED the extra eighty pound’s worth of service? Not necessarily.

You see, I like to think of Upad as the overbearing mother that will wipe the snot off her child’s face with a saliva dampened tissue. It’s nice having a snot-free face, but I can get by either way. You, however, may not…

Perhaps the most notable and important aspect of Upad’s service – which many new landlords should adore – is the fact they include a “Tenancy Compliance Service” with all their packages. Actually, this is the one feature which Upad’s competitors don’t include with their standard packages, so that’s definitely worth bearing in mind.

The tenancy compliance services enables landlords to create a virtual tenancy pack of all legally required documents. Once compiled, Upad will serve them to your tenants and obtain a signature so you have proof of receivership. Useful.

Upad also have trigger points in place which their system flags if a particular property doesn’t receive enough enquiries in X amount of days, and they’ll try and figure out ‘why’, and then help the landlord overcome those hurdles. Again, useful stuff. But I have a feeling the lack of enquiries can only boil to only a few reasons, and it’s mostly down to inexperience.

If your property doesn’t receive enough enquiries it’s usually because of the following reasons:

  • You’re trying to flog a dead horse i.e. the property is a pile of rubble and/or in an undesirable area
  • There aren’t enough (or any) quality photos of the property
  • The description of the property isn’t compelling or informative enough
  • You’re overpricing

Minus the first point, Upad can assist and remind you of the other points if you’re struggling for enquiries. If you lack experience, Upad’s customer service system will be vital for you, because they’ll quickly be able to spot those issues and help you plug the holes. In comes the much-needed overbearing mother.

I have used several other online letting agents in the past, and they’ve also been pretty damn good. They may not have provided the same level of support Upad or the advanced support structure for landlords, but they have provided enough support FOR ME (i.e. an experienced landlord) to make me ponder whether I need to splash out on Upad.

Upad Vs OpenRent

Why am I circling out OpenRent.co.uk? Because Upad & OpenRent are currently the front-runners in the online lettings space, so there’s a legitimate bare-knuckle fight to be had! Fight, fight, fight!!

Most landlords will either debate between OpenRent or Upad when choosing their first or next online letting agent to use. Perhaps you’re in the midst of making your decision!

I’ve used OpenRent and Upad and both experiences were positive and successful. I ain’t got no complaints! However, they do have some distinct differences, which may provide some sway on your decision.

The interesting thing about OpenRent is that they offer an extremely compelling 5 day free trial (no strings attached), and if that expires (i.e. if you haven’t found a tenant from the enquiries generated with in the 5 days), you have the choice of paying a very reasonable and optional £29 to continue using their services for 3 additional months. Like I said, reasonable.

When you look at the price alone, OpenRent seems like a no-brainer. They blow Upad out of the water, so you have to wonder 1) why you should bother paying so much more for Upad 2) How Upad are even able to compete.

Both good and sensible questions. However, I’ve kinda’ already answered them, but to sum it up…

If you’re new to this game and/or would feel more comfortable with the extra support, including the already discussed assistance with getting all your vital and legal documents in order, which many other online agents won’t provide, Upad is definitely the wise choice. They will do you no wrong. The quality of their customer service alone is worth paying the extra for. As said, they thrive off repeat custom, and I’m sure it’s down to providing quality service.

To give you some perspective, Upad assign an account manager to each landlord – and they’re real – not just a virtual-monkey that’s only available via email or a virtual chat. You can call a dedicated telephone number 7 days of the week if any issues or concerns arise- yes, actually talk to a real UK-based homosapien.

OpenRent, while also a highly recommended and excellent service, are able to charge so much less than Upad because they keep their telephone number discrete and focus on a more scalable online support system, which includes email and online chats. Essentially, OpenRent give you shiny and easy-to-use tools to “just get on with it”, which is better suitable for the experienced, in my opinion. Also, perhaps that means OpenRent are a good solution for the millennials, because they’re used to doing everything via tablets and phone apps. However, for any old school cat that would like the option of good old fashioned telephone support and hand-holding, Upad is your boy.

I honestly can’t recommend one agent over the other because I feel both offer excellent services – but for different types of landlords! So you need to decide which type you are! Do you want the extra support or not?


Ultimately, I don’t think you need to use Upad’s premium service if you’re a seasoned landlord and your primary objective is to purely generate enquiries from prospective tenants. I would happily use an alternative and cheaper online letting agent to generate enquiries, especially OpenRent.co.uk, but on the same token, I wouldn’t begrudge digging deeper to benefit from the reassurance of Upad’s overall support.

Upad is worth every penny, in my opinion. They maybe one of the most expensive online letting agents out there, which does often raise questions, but they do provide a premium service, and in comparison to most high-street agents they still charge peanuts.

If you’ve used Upad, or in the the process of doing your due diligence before biting the bullet, I’d love to hear your feedback/thoughts…

11 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Daz 24th July, 2012 @ 11:22

Make that £80! And if you include tenant charges, the saving is even greater - we only charge £20 per reference vs. £50 on UPad.

We believe OpenRent are offering higher levels of service, at a much lower price point. How? We're automating most of the service without compromising on quality.

With our digital contract, referencing, and deposit handling services we've empowered first time landlords without charging them LA style fees. £20 - that is all.

As we grow, we'll continue to push prices *down* for additional services, as well as offer more to landlords. The future of lettings is almost certainly in technology, and we believe a technology company will be at the heart of it!

Guest Avatar
Tom 24th July, 2012 @ 16:07

First of all, long time listener, first time caller, hats off to angry landlord for this blog, which saved me a huge chunk of money and saved me from dealing with letting agents. I am a first time landlord and just completed on my first BTL. Before I found that blog, I had no idea that one can circumvent greedy and incompetent sleazebags in Primark suits trying to get 10-15% commission on annual rent for doing f\/ck all. I used another online agent you recommended, lettingaproperty.com because I liked them picking up the phone and shortlisting tenants before emailing/texting me the enquiry, rather than upad's model where they just give landlord's number (please correct me if I misunderstood the way they work). The former allows me to contact tenants when it suits me, rather than tenants calling me when I am driving or when I am at work. Within 5 business days of the ad going live I had more than a dozen enquiries , I referrenced one couple and they signed the dotted line. No problems whatsoever, excellent customer service from lettingaproperty.com, will definitely use them (or another online letting agent) again. I recommend this route to every landlord instead of paying high street agents - unless perhaps you have single digit IQ (in that case you shouldn't be a landlord) or live hundreds of miles from your BTL - in that case, save yourself from ulcers, sell it and buy something closer. Again, thanks a lot for the blog and valuable info - I used your affiliate link, you fully deserve the commission!

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 24th July, 2012 @ 20:11

As said, I look forward to using your service in the near future. I'm curious to see how far £20 can get me! I can see how automating would reduce costs. However, I think they'll always be a place for customer service (e.g. someone available on the phone), and that's something that can never be automated; and building a good CS system doesn't come cheap.

Do you currently have someone manning the phone to take the enquiries? How are all your enquiries handled?

If you genuinely deliver the service you say you do for £20, then you've got my vote.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 24th July, 2012 @ 20:24


Great comment, thanks for sharing! Really pleased my rambles/experiences have helped you.

lettingaproperty.com is without a doubt a superb platform (up there with the best of them, in my opinion), and they're definitely one of the online agents I'm talking about when I mention a cheaper alternative to Upad that's able to deliver.

I agree with everything you said; their system is great (especially the way they handle enquiries, as you said), as is there customer service. In fact, I remember when I used their system, it was tough to fault it.

I wouldn't hesitate recommending their service to anyone.

Thanks again!

Guest Avatar
Daz 24th July, 2012 @ 20:56

@The Landlord - Yes we have people manning the phones 6 days a week. We need to do this to handle phone enquiries and respond to tenant enquiries. Whilst this requires some labour, it's not so intensive - Our system handles all the admin of actually sending SMS and Emails to landlords and tenants.

Regarding enquiries, we have a similar model to what Tom describes. We process tenant leads, and if the tenant wants to arrange a viewing, we provide the landlord with their details. This ensures the viewing goes smoothly - whilst we take care of the admin burden faced with simply publishing the landlords number (ie. being available on the phone to answer simple queries).

Further to this, it means that if a landlord doesn't want to, they don't have to give the tenants their phone number OR email address. Our system can mask both.

I'm a computer scientist at heart, not a letting agent, so our focus is on letting the technology doing the hard work wherever possible. Customer service is not one of them however - we still answer queries by phone, email, and online through our live chat box throughout www.openrent.co.uk.

As I keep saying, we look forward to seeing what you think! Whether it's a critique of the layout/readability, or the service itself, we're all ears. We're certainly not fully complete, or 100% polished yet, but we're hopefully moving in the right direction all the time...

Guest Avatar
George 26th July, 2012 @ 16:01

Anybody have any thoughts on how long this can last?

If the industry becomes a real threat to highstreet agents (the portals bread and butter) then there will have to be casualties online. Sites like Upad are already treading thin ice.

Simply reselling Rightmove's services (which is all that most online agents actually do) is a breach of the portals T's & C's. The automated SMS systems that many online agents use would also seem to breach the data protection act (think how easy it would be to harvest landlord details for example).

I do not doubt that Rightmove know this. Whilst they are happy to take subscription fees from the multitude of online agents out there at the moment, I suspect that any sign of market consolidation (merger or acquisition) will blow the wheels off this gravy train and online agents will be removed, or made irrelevant by allowing landlords to list their own property directly.

Guest Avatar
Mark 27th July, 2012 @ 11:05

The price will only remain at £20 while they have a small number of properties. The more properties, the more rightmove charge, and it goes up exponentially!

While some of the online agents are definitely not 'real' agents, some are.

Guest Avatar
damian proLL 10th September, 2012 @ 13:04

Hi All

I use another company called I Am The Agent (www.iamtheagent.com), which I believe is fast becoming a brand leader in the online market. They have traditional agencies (shop fronts)with fixed fees and the online service at £99 inc VAT with a board. What I like about these guys is they are actually agents, property managers and very experienced rather then the virtual agent (usually some techy) or a RECEPTIONIST!?

The service is fantastic and I have to say for me it works better then the UPAD service who literally give out your number to enquirers/anyone, whereas these guys field all enquiries and stay in touch weekly on advances, they even gave me a courtesy call when leads weren't being generated (as I had been a bit greedy with the price ;)... Anyway just thought I would mention them as I am really satisfied with their service. I have 20+ property.

You may want to give them a visit...

PS. Love your blog never fails to put a smile on my face!!!

Guest Avatar
George 10th September, 2012 @ 16:07

There are already 'bricks and mortar' agents doing this for a lot less than £99 (Visum and Landlord Direct spring to mind).

Guest Avatar
ruphilyn 17th October, 2012 @ 12:10

For me this Upad sounds good and it also depends on how will you use it.

Guest Avatar
Margaret Randall 25th May, 2018 @ 14:25

I have used Open Rent for many years to rent a number of properties. They stand out as having a very reasonable cost. They are always interested in the property and contact you to give advise if it is not letting. You are able to edit the listing automatically on line, changing photos or description whenever you want to update it. I 100% reccomended them from any other on line letting agent.


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