Part of being your home for work means giving you — and your freelancers, too — flexibility. Flexibility in work style, timing, payment, and more.
Hourly contracts include three types of payments to freelancers:
- The payment you make for the hours recorded in your freelancer’s Work Diary
- Manual payments or bonuses (optional and must be pre-approved by you)
- Additional recurring weekly payments (also optional)
On hourly contracts, your costs will also include the marketplace fee and a one-time contract initiation fee of up to $4.95 on a new contract. These are fees that you pay Upwork for using the platform.
For information about fees you pay to Upwork on hourly contracts, go here.
Do you have a fixed-price contract? Go here.
Do you have a past-due balance? Go here.
Standard Hourly Billing and Disputes
Your freelancer will log hours in their Work Diary, and you'll receive one invoice per freelancer each week for your hourly contracts on Upwork. Here’s how it works:
- Every Monday, we’ll invoice you for the previous week's hours based on your freelancer’s Work Diary
- Your default billing method will be charged automatically for the balance due
- If you need to file a dispute, you must do so before Friday of the week you received the invoice
Learn more about the timing of the billing cycle here.
Add a Manual Payment or Bonus
You can choose to add a manual payment to any hourly contract, separate from regular hours billed, by adding a "bonus." This bonus payment could be a performance bonus, reimbursement for expenses, or compensation for time over the freelancer's weekly limit — it’s completely up to you. These are all processed the same way and subject to the same five-day security period and service fee on the freelancer's end.
To add a one-time bonus:
- Go to Jobs › All Contracts to locate your freelancer or agency
- Select Give Bonus from the (...) options menu
- Fill out the form. You can add a private note or details if you want, and select Make Payment to send the bonus
Set up a Weekly Payment
When you make an offer, you can add a recurring Weekly Payment amount, which will be added to your invoice each Monday. You'll see this option under Advanced Options on the offer form.
Important to know:
- Weekly Payments are a great option if you want to set up a recurring weekly payment on top of the hours a freelancer adds to their Work Diary, or if you just want to pay your freelancer a set amount each week and not require the Work Diary
- The Weekly Payment amount is billed every week in addition to any hours billed from your freelancer's Work Diary
- It is also billed every week even if your freelancer has not logged any hours in their Work Diary
Setting a Weekly Payment in the Advanced Options section means you are paying your freelancer an additional amount each week. This payment is on top of standard hourly billing based on your freelancers' Work Diaries.
The only way to use recurring weekly payments as the sole billing method for a contract is to set the hourly limit for a freelancer's Work Diary to zero. If you only want to pay for the hours your freelancer logged at the rate you set, do not complete the Advanced Option section to include a Weekly Payment.
Weekly payments are subject to some unique terms.
- Additional recurring weekly payment can only be set as part of your contract offer. To make changes you must end the current contract, rehire your freelancer, and set different terms in the Advanced Options.
- If a contract is paused, disputed, or suspended for any period of time in the week, the corresponding weekly payment will not be issued. You may make a manual payment to the freelancer for any work completed.
- When the contract begins, we invoice a percentage of the total weekly amount based on the day the contract began:
- Monday – 100%
- Tuesday – 80%
- Wednesday – 60%
- Thursday - 40%
- Friday - 20%
- Saturday, Sunday – 0%
- When the contract ends, we invoice a percentage of the total weekly amount based on the day the contract ends:
- Monday – 20%
- Tuesday – 40%
- Wednesday – 60%
- Thursday - 80%
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 100%