Pay for Fixed-Price Contracts

Hourly contract? Click here. Past-due balance? Click here.


When you work with a freelancer on a fixed-price contract we require you to make escrow deposits as the contract proceeds so that payments can be released to your freelancer.

Here's how it works:

Send an offer

When you submit an offer to a freelancer and create your first milestone, Upwork will collect an escrow deposit. On your Reports > Transaction History, you'll see an immediate fixed-price charge and corresponding payment from your primary billing method.

Approve a milestone

To approve a milestone submission:

  1. You'll be notified that your freelancer has submitted work for your approval.
  2. Click the review link in that message or go to Jobs and click the View Payment Request button.

To release a milestone without a freelancer submittal in Upwork:

  1. Go to Jobs and select My Jobs.
  2. Click the Release Funds button on the contract in the My Freelancers list (or on the contract details page).

When you approve a milestone, Upwork will send the approved funds from escrow to your freelancer. On your Reports > Transaction History you'll see an immediate fixed-price charge and corresponding payment from your escrow balance. The funds will then appear as pending on the freelancer's account and become available after the standard five-day security period.

Create another milestone

Just like when you submitted the offer, when you create your next milestone Upwork will collect an escrow deposit. If you have credit left over in escrow from your prior milestone, it will be held over and used for the next milestone. On your Reports > Transaction History you'll see an immediate fixed-price charge and corresponding payment from your primary billing method for the amount not covered by any balance remaining from prior milestones.

Add a bonus (optional)

To make a bonus payment (not connected to a milestone):

  1. Go to Jobs and select My Jobs.
  2. Choose Give Bonus in the Actions menu for the contract (or the button on the contract details page).

If you choose to add a bonus to your milestone payment or give a bonus between milestones it will be processed like a bonus on an hourly contract. That means it will be invoiced to your account immediately (making your balance go negative), but be paid as part of the daily batch. All hourly and bonus payments will be charged in a single lump sum to your billing method each day, rather than individually and immediately like the escrowed milestones. The bonus will immediately appear as pending on a freelancer's account and become available after the standard five-day security period.

End a contract

To end a contract and issue a final payment:

  1. Go to Jobs and select My Jobs.
  2. Find the freelancer in the list and select End contract from the Actions list.
  3. Fill in the form to release your remaining escrowed funds, add an additional bonus, or request an escrow refund.
  4. You also need to leave feedback for the freelancer on this form.

If things didn't work out as planned and a contract ends with escrow funds left over, the freelancer will be asked to approve or dispute an escrow refund. If approved or mediated in your favor, those funds will be sent back to the billing method used for the deposit. On your transaction history you'll see an immediate positive credit into your balance of the remaining deposit funds and a corresponding negative credit to indicate the refund has been processed. Deposits held more than 60 days may instead be returned to your balance for reuse due to refund time-limit restrictions (determined by your billing method vendor).


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