We are changing the way Direct Contracts work on Upwork.

You will still be able to create Direct Contracts and send contract proposals to clients who aren't on Upwork yet, but with the following changes:

  • Existing contracts will automatically close on April 22, 2024. If you want to continue working with your DIrect Contracts client, you will need to start a new contract. Rates on existing contracts will remain the same until they close
  • You’ll pay a 5% freelancer service fee on the earnings you make on these contracts. This is lower than our standard freelancer service fee of 10%, and we’ve eliminated the 3.4% payment processing fee. This means the only fee you will pay is a 5% freelancer service fee on your earnings
  • The clients you invite will also be asked to create an Upwork account. This will allow you to access these contracts alongside your regular Marketplace contracts. Clients will also pay our contract initiation fee and marketplace fee, in addition to the project’s cost

Learn more about how a new Direct Contract will work below.

As a freelancer, you’ll pay a 10% freelancer service fee on the earnings you make on Upwork. This fee is charged on all your contracts with a client — whether hourly, fixed-price, or a Project Catalog project.

For example, say you work on a project with a new client and get paid $500.00 USD. Your freelancer service fee will be 10%, meaning you pay $50. Your earnings after fees would be $450.

You can see your fees on your Billings and Earnings report and on your Transaction History report.

Agency Service Fees

Agencies working with non-Enterprise clients are subject to the same freelancer service fees as other freelancers. Agencies pay 10% freelancer service fees on contracts.

Rounding Estimated Earnings

The rate calculator estimates your net take-home pay after fees to assist you in bidding accordingly. We charge the client the exact billing rate you enter, but sometimes the resulting fee is a number with more than two decimal points that must be rounded to the nearest cent with each transaction.

Rounding results in earnings slightly less than estimated

Example: You want to take home $20 per hour after freelancer service fees, so you charge the client $22.22 per hour. 10% of that rounds to $2.22 per hour. Let’s say you bill 12 hours.

  • Your client is charged $266.64 (12 hours x $22.22)
  • The 10% fee is $26.664 or $26.66 when rounded down
  • Your net earnings are $239.98 ($0.02 less than estimated, 12 x $20 = $240)

Rounding results in earnings slightly more than estimated

Example: You want to take home $25 per hour, so you charge the client $27.78 per hour. 10% of that rounds to $2.78 per hour. Let’s say you bill 12 hours.

  • Your client is charged $333.36 (12 hours x $27.78).
  • The 10% fee is $33.336 or $33.34 when rounded up.
  • Your net earnings are $300.02 ($0.02 more than estimated, 12 x $25 = $300).


Upwork Payroll

Freelancers participating in the Upwork Payroll service are paid through a third-party staffing firm and are therefore excluded from paying Upwork freelancer service fees.

Any Hire

If you work for a client on an Any Hire contract, you will not pay freelancer service fees. These contracts are negotiated with the individual client who is hiring freelancers they met off Upwork or who have paid the conversion fee to work with a freelancer they found on Upwork’s Marketplace.

Direct Contracts

If you have created a Direct Contracts contract with a client who does not have an account on Upwork but who pays you through Upwork, you’ll pay reduced freelancer service fees of 5% instead of 10%. To receive the discounted fees on future contracts with that client, you’ll have to initiate each contract through the Direct Contracts page. Learn more about how Direct Contracts fees work here.

Bring Your Own (BYO)

If you have a BYO contract that has a 0% service fee rate, you’ll keep that 0% rate.

If you have a BYO contract that does include paying a freelancer service fee, you’ll pay 10% of your earnings.

Enterprise Clients

If you’re working with an Enterprise client, then the standard freelancer service fee structure might not apply to you. In general, Enterprise contracts have a 10% freelancer service fee. Enterprise clients are designated by a badge on their client profiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I pay a freelancer service fee?

As a freelancer, you pay the freelancer service fee on all earnings, including bonuses. The fee is included in the amounts clients see on your proposals, contracts, and profile. Most of your reports show only total charges, inclusive of fees—the same as what the client would see.

Fees are broken out in your Transaction History Report and your BIllings and Earnings Reports. The total billed to your clients is your income and the fees paid may be deductible business expenses.


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