Freelancer Service Fees

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Client Payment Processing Fees

Clients are charged a payment processing fee of 2.75%. To learn more, click here. Please note the client payment processing fee does not count towards the lifetime billings for calculating the freelancer's service fee.

Freelancer Marketplace & Pro Service Fees

Freelancers are charged a sliding fee based on your lifetime billings with each client (across all contracts you’ve ever had with that client company). Service fees are the same whether the contracts are hourly or fixed-price.

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill a client across all contracts with them
  • 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000

Example: On a $600 project with a new client, a freelancer’s service fee would be 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $100 for earnings after fees of $490.

Check your progress with a personal report of client-specific lifetime billings. Upwork also has an in-product rate calculator available to help you estimate your net earnings when submitting proposals.

As a freelancer, you pay the Upwork Service Fee on all billings, including hours, milestones, and bonuses. It is included in the amounts clients see on your proposals, contracts, and profile. Most of your reports show only total charges, inclusive of fees—same as what the client would see. Fees are broken out in your Transactions and Earnings Reports. The total billed is your income and the fees paid may be deductible business expenses.

Transaction DetailsAll contracts that cross a fee threshold will be charged at a blended rate. For example, if you begin an hourly or fixed-price contract with a new client for $600, you’ll be billed 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $100. The same is true of a $15,000 contract – you’ll be billed 20% on the first $500, 10% on the next $9,500, and 5% on the last $5,000. We will automatically apply the lower service fee if our system detects that your total billings with a client have exceeded a fee threshold. You can verify this by checking the service fee invoice breakdown in your Transaction History.

  1. Reports > Transaction History
  2. Click the Ref ID
  3. Choose View Invoice

Note: If you worked with someone under two different companies, those are considered different relationships and your lifetime billings with each company will be counted separately. However, working with someone under two different teams within the same company is considered a single relationship and therefore combined in your lifetime billings.


Agencies working with Marketplace and Pro clients are subject to the same pricing structure. We calculate agency service fees based on total agency billings with a client across all contracts. This means that all contracts any of the agency’s freelancers have had with a single client count towards an agency’s lifetime billings with that client.


Current Contracts

All Marketplace and Pro contracts opened before the pricing takes effect are grandfathered in at their current service fee, until the freelancer has billed over $10,000 with the client. Then the fee will automatically lower to 5%. Any contracts opened after the pricing went into effect in your category are subject to the new sliding fees, including new contracts with existing clients.

Elance Clients

We continue to honor the Elance rate for freelancers who will begin or have begun an Upwork contract with a client they’ve worked with before on Elance. When applicable, this fee will also decrease to 5%.

Upwork Payroll

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

Enterprise Clients

These sliding fees don’t apply to contracts with Enterprise clients. This is because Upwork negotiates individual contracts with those companies on a case by case basis. In general, Enterprise contracts have a flat 10% service fee. Enterprise clients are designated by a badge on their client profiles.

Rounding Estimated Earnings

Anytime you see the rate calculator, it will estimate what you’ll earn (net take-home pay after fees) to help you bid accordingly. We say “estimated” because rounding may occur when the hours are invoiced (see examples below). We charge the client the exact billing rate you enter. Sometimes the resulting fee is a number with more than 2 decimal points that must be rounded to the nearest cent with each transaction.

Example Fee Calculations

Rounding is far more common at the 10% fee tier than at 20%, and may not kick in until you reach 10%, so we’ll assume you’ve already reached that earnings threshold with the client for these examples.

Rounding results in earnings slightly less than estimated.

You want to earn $20 per hour, 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.

You want to earn $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).

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