Contract-to-hire—hiring a freelancer as a full-time employee

At times you might want to leave the option open to move a freelancer you’ve hired on Upwork to a full-time role in your company. Our contract-to-hire program allows you to signal that possibility to freelancers when you post your job.

When you label your job post as a contract-to-hire opportunity it will still start out as a freelance position and you can decide whether to move it into a full-time role later. If you decide to transition the role into a full-time employment arrangement, you can convert your contract for a fee and hire the talent full-time.

Post a contract-to-hire opportunity


  1. Go to Jobs > Post a Job
  2. Choose Create a new job post
  3. Select either Short term or part time work or Longer term work
  4. On the scope of work screen, we’ll ask, “Is this job a contract-to-hire opportunity?
  5. Select Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t see the contract-to-hire option for my job post. How do I find it?

This option is only available on desktop for now. For marketplace users, the contract-to-hire opportunity is an option for all job posts after your first one. For Enterprise Suite users, contract-to-hire opportunity is an option for all job posts. We will be expanding this option to mobile devices and your first job post soon.

How do I find Upwork talent that is open to a contract-to-hire role?

Upwork talent can select if they are open to contract-to-hire roles in their preferences. When you search for talent, you can filter your results by Open to Contract-to-Hire and invite talent specifically interested in exploring a full-time opportunity.

Am I obligated to hire talent full-time if I hire them for a job with contract-to-hire potential?

No. We highlight contract-to-hire opportunities so people open to full-time opportunities can identify them, but there is no obligation to do so.

What is the process for hiring talent full-time if I have found them on Upwork?

To hire someone you found on Upwork as a full-time employee, you’ll need to follow the contract conversion process and pay the Upwork Conversion Fee. Then, you are able to handle payment and contracts on your own. If you do not follow the conversion process, you may be breaching the Upwork Terms of Service, or circumventing.

To start the conversion process:

  1. Go to Jobs > All Contracts
  2. Choose a specific contract under All contracts and select the (…) menu
  3. Select the Request contract conversion button to start the conversion process
How long does it take to convert a contract?

Converting a contract on Upwork is an automated process. Most contract conversions take a few days to complete because your freelancer must accept the request and you must pay the fee. If both parties are available and complete these actions immediately, the process can be completed in one day, in most cases.

Can I hire talent full-time if our contract was not for a job described as a contract-to-hire opportunity?

Yes. We offer the option to convert any closed or active contract, whether it started as a contract-to-hire opportunity or not.

What does it mean to Request Contract Conversion?

When you use Upwork to find talent, we require you to use the Upwork platform to pay that person for any work they complete for you. However, since we know at times our customers want different work arrangements, such as hiring talent as full-time employees, we have a process to convert a contract that includes paying Upwork a conversion fee. Once you convert a contract, you can use the tools and processes you prefer to handle contracts and payments.

How can I check the status of an existing conversion request?
  1. Go to Jobs > All Contracts
  2. Choose the specific contract under All contracts and select the (…) menu
  3. Select Request contract conversion
How much does it cost to convert a contract with talent I find on Upwork so we can work together directly, off the platform?

In general, the Upwork Conversion Fee is 13.5% of a freelancer’s estimated annual earnings. Our team will calculate the fee for you and answer any questions so you can determine the best option for you. Learn more here.

Note:

Upwork Enterprise Suite users should contact their account manager for information on contract conversion.

If I’ve been working with someone for a long time, do I still need to pay the conversion fee?

Yes, every relationship that begins on Upwork needs to go through the conversion process in order for clients to handle payment and contracts on their own without violating our Terms of Service. Relationships that have been maintained for at least two years on the platform have a contract conversion fee of $1.00 USD. This “de minimus” fee is intended to ensure the right process is followed for moving the relationship off-platform. These relationships don’t need to be continuously active, and they are not limited by a certain quantity of projects. You can initiate this request from within Upwork’s platform by following the contract conversion steps.

Additionally, for relationships less than two years old, Upwork applies a discount toward the conversion fee for up to 12 months of client marketplace fees paid on all contracts between you and your freelancer.

Note:

Upwork Enterprise Suite users should contact their account manager for information on contract conversion.

If I convert a contract, can I keep using Upwork for other contracts?

Yes, by following the Upwork process for contract conversion and paying the conversion fee, you are following our Terms of Service. We hope you’ll continue to find talent on Upwork and build relationships that last.

How will the freelancer know it’s ok for me to handle contracts and payments with my own tools and processes?

We communicate with them during the conversion process so the status is clear to everyone. When talent agrees to the conversion and you pay the fee, we also send a confirmation email letting them know.

If I convert a contract, do I still need to use Upwork tools for communication and payment, or can I use my own tools?

Once we’ve processed the conversion fee payment, you’re free to use your own tools for contracts, communication, and payment. However, you can also use ours. We can help with contracts, payments, and classification and you can keep using your favorite Upwork tools like Work Diary, Time Tracker, Messaging, and Reports. Check out Any Hire to learn more.

Note:

Upwork Enterprise Suite users should contact their account manager for information on how Upwork can help with classification and hiring employees.

Can Upwork help me work full-time with someone in a geography where I don’t have an entity (for example, with classification rules, contracts, and payroll)?

Yes. Any Hire from Upwork makes it easy to hire remote talent. With Any Hire, you’ll get help selecting the right worker classification, creating locally compliant contracts, and managing talent payments and relationships. Plus, you can keep using your favorite Upwork tools like Work Diary, Time Tracker, Messaging, and Reports. Check out Any Hire to learn more.

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