Fixed-Price Protection for Freelancers

Upwork Fixed-Price Protection uses escrow to help ensure that your clients get the work they’ve asked for and you get paid for work completed. Under this program, clients making fixed-price offers deposit a milestone payment into escrow before you begin working. Upon receiving and approving the work, your client releases the payment to you.

Define and Pre-Fund Milestones

Before any work begins, you and your client will agree on certain work milestones and how much you’ll get paid for completing each.

  • You can define, submit, and get paid for one chunk of work at a time, or plan out all milestones ahead of time.
  • For larger projects, a small first milestone can be a good practice to allow you and your client to work together and earn each other’s trust before continuing on with the project.
  • Before you start working on a milestone, your client will pre-fund the payment for that milestone into an escrow account.
  • We collect this escrow deposit to confirm your client’s ability to pay, but payment is dependent on your client’s satisfaction with your work.
  • Please note that only the money that’s held in escrow is secure. Upwork can’t help you collect any funds that have been promised but not deposited to escrow. Therefore, it’s important that the amount held in escrow is appropriate for the work you will perform for that milestone.

Submit Work

Please discuss with your client ahead of time how you’ll deliver your files or other work product. You can send files using Upwork’s collaboration tools or use whatever third-party solutions you prefer.

To submit a milestone for approval:

  1. Go to My Jobs and click Request Milestone Approval.
  2. Write a message to your client describing the work.
  3. You can also add an attachment or include a link to the work. This isn’t required, but it’s important that your client has some way to review your work once you submit it for approval.
  4. Click the Submit Request button. Your client will be notified you have submitted work for their approval. You will be notified when they approve payment or request changes.

Review & Approve Milestones

Once you submit your work, your client will review and either approve the milestone or ask for changes.

  • The client has 14 days from the most recent submission on a milestone to review and approve or request changes. Approval releases the payment from escrow to you.
  • If your client doesn’t respond to any milestone submission within 14 days, the deposit is automatically released to you.
  • You may file an escrow dispute if the client refuses to release funds for a completed milestone. Escrowed funds won’t be released back to the client unless you approve their return or undergo dispute mediation.

Qualifying for Fixed-Price Protection

All escrowed funds are covered by Fixed-Price Protection.

  • Protection won’t cover milestone payments in excess of the amount in escrow, funds from unverified payment methods, or additional amounts that are discussed or promised between you and and your client.
  • See the Fixed-Price Escrow Instructions for more details, including our Escrow Dispute Assistance Policy.


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