What’s the difference between Fixed-price and Hourly contracts?

  • Hourly: Agree on a rate per hour. Billed weekly based on your freelancer’s weekly invoices. Covered by Upwork Hourly Protection.
  • Fixed-price: Agree on an amount per deliverable. Submit a deposit in advance, but don’t release the money to freelancer until a piece of work is received. Covered by Upwork Fixed-Price Protection.
  • To learn more about the differences, click here.

Why do I need to add a billing method before the work starts?  

Will I be charged now?

  • Hourly: No, you won’t be charged now. You’ll pay weekly. To learn more about the weekly billing cycle, click here.
  • Fixed-price: Yes, you will be charged now. You choose how much, and we’ll hold the funds while your freelancer gets to work. Funds won’t be released to your freelancer until they submit the deliverable and you’ve had a chance to review. To learn more about the milestone system, click here.

How is the payment information stored?

  • All your data is encrypted and secured with industry-standard transport layer security technology (TLS) and secure socket layer technology (SSL), as well as using HTTP strict transport security.
  • To learn more about privacy and security, click here.

Can I change my mind?

  • Yes, you and your freelancer can agree to new terms later (changing rates, hours, duration, scope, etc.).
  • You and your freelancer can cancel a contract at any time and only be responsible for the hours or deliverables completed up to that point. This is another component of Upwork Payment Protection.
  • Nervous about working with someone you’ve never met? Read about starting small and building trust.
  • How do you decide if this freelancer is the right fit for you? Click here to read more best practices.

When will the freelancer be paid?

  • Hourly: You’ll be billed on Mondays. If there are issues, you have until Friday to file a dispute. Assuming there are no disputes, the funds will be available for your freelancer to withdraw the following Wednesday.
  • Fixed-price: Funds will be available for your freelancer to withdraw five days after you approve a milestone or pay a bonus.
  • To learn more about billing cycles and security periods, click here.

What is manual time?

  • Manual time is how freelancers bill for time that wasn’t recorded by the Upwork desktop app, and therefore doesn’t include activity data or screen captures. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of legitimate types of activity can’t be recorded by the application (for example, phone calls, paper sketching, responding to your messages using a  mobile device, etc.). You and your freelancer can choose whether to allow this at all and if there’s a dispute, you’ll be covered by Upwork Hourly Protection.
  • To learn more about allowing or restricting manual time, click here.

What are milestones?

  • Milestones are a way to divide your fixed-price job into a series of deadlines based on your needs. They let you and the freelancer break a larger contract into more manageable chunks of time, budget, and/or deliverables.
  • To learn more about the milestone system, click here.

What fees should I be aware of?

  • Clients are charged a 2.75% processing fee on all payments unless they choose to pay a monthly flat rate fee instead.
  • To learn more about fees, click here.

What happens if the freelancer doesn’t deliver?

  • You and the freelancer can cancel a contract at any time and only be responsible for the hours or deliverables completed up to that point. This is another component of Upwork Payment Protection. Whether you choose hourly or fixed-price, Upwork has you covered.
  • In the rare case you need it, dispute resolution services are available to help solve any differences. Because of the protections built into our marketplace, only~1% of ended contracts go through the dispute resolution process. Upwork offers mediation services to help clients and freelancers reach an agreement. Learn more about hourly disputes and fixed-price escrow refund requests.

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