Hourly vs. Fixed-Price Projects

When you create a job post and hire a freelancer or agency, you have two options when it comes to setting up payments

  • Hourly contract: Freelancers and agencies include their rate when submitting a proposal to your project. You can further negotiate this rate during the interview process.
  • Fixed-Price contract: Freelancers and agencies submit their proposed bid for the entire project and suggest potential milestones. You can further negotiate the price and payment of milestones during the interview process.

If you're looking for advice on whether your project is best suited to an hourly or fixed-price contract, check out this article in our Hiring Headquarters.


Once work starts on your project, this is how it will work

  • For Hourly: Freelancers log time with the Upwork Desktop App. You can monitor your freelancer’s progress by checking their Work Diary. You have the option to dispute hours if necessary. Manual time billing can be enabled and you can set a weekly limit on billable hours.

       NOTE: Enterprise contracts have manual time enabled by default.

  • For Fixed-Price: You and your freelancer or agency can agree to certain project milestones when you will expect parts of the work to be completed. You can have one milestone or split the project into multiple parts. Additional milestones can be added during the contract if needed. As far as payment, you deposit milestone funds into Upwork escrow and you have the chance to review your freelancer’s work before any payment is released to them.

Payment Protection


How Billing Works

  • For Hourly contracts: You are billed on a weekly basis. Freelancers can log hours each week until midnight UTC on Sundays. The hours logged are billed automatically every Monday and you have until Friday to review the work and file a dispute if necessary. The funds are released to the freelancer the following Wednesday.
  • For Fixed-Price: You submit deposits into escrow which will be released at the completion of a milestone or project. When a freelancer submits work for a milestone you have 14 days to approve the work or request changes.

NOTE: If you're an Enterprise client, your account will be invoiced in accordance with your customized finance setup.

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