To help you keep projects organized, Upwork offers milestones for fixed-price jobs. You can use milestones to divide your fixed-price job into a series of phases, due dates, or deliverables based on your needs. They are paid individually and provide a way to work through a large project in smaller steps.
For a successful start, you and the freelancer or agency should discuss, and agree upon, all milestone amounts, ($5 USD minimum) deliverables, and deadlines prior to beginning work.
If you are an Enterprise Compliance or Work Protection Program (WPP) subscriber, you’ll need to plan and set all the milestones at the start of the contract. If you want to add, edit, or delete milestones later, you’ll need to create a new contract offer.
If you do not have a compliance account, you can work with the freelancer or agency to agree on additional milestones as the contract progresses. To add new milestones, select the Add new milestone button on your contract page.
All Enterprise accounts can rearrange milestones that you have not activated yet. Simply drag and drop the milestones with the toggle on the left.
Over the course of the contract, the freelancer or agency will submit work for milestones for your review. You’ll have 14 days to either request changes or approve the work. We will release payment to the freelancer upon your approval of the work, or within 14 days if you take no action.
If you would like the freelancer to edit their submitted work, it is important to mark Request Changes on the contract in Upwork. You’ll also have the option to release a different amount of funds (less or more) for a given milestone, to give you the flexibility you need to adapt to project changes as they come up.
Once all the milestones are completed and paid, you may choose to end the fixed-price contract. Consider leaving feedback for the freelancer.
Failing to respond to a milestone submission within 14 days is considered to be approval and the funds will be automatically released to the freelancer or agency.
Best practice: Setting milestone expectations
For each milestone, you’ll detail exactly what the freelancer or agency agreed to provide in return for payment. This way, both you and the freelancer know what deliverables are expected, the deadline for deliverables, and amount of payment for those deliverables.
Be as specific as you can in defining the deliverable. This is your chance to formalize the agreement about what is to be delivered, when, and for how much money.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may only activate one milestone at a time, with a $5 USD minimum per milestone. Funds must be released on the current milestone before the next one can be activated. You can choose to release a partial payment (including if you set the milestone at the $5 USD minimum).
You cannot change the order of active milestones. However, you can change the order of milestones that you haven’t activated yet. To rearrange the milestone list, grab the drag-and-drop toggles on the left of each milestone.
When work is submitted for a milestone, you’ll have 14 days to review the work and request changes if the work does not meet the requirements set out in the milestone.
We encourage you to review work before releasing payment and to discuss any concerns with the freelancer. However, you can request a refund after payment has been made if necessary. Learn more about how to request a refund.
The due date of an active milestone cannot be changed, but you and the freelancer can agree to change the due dates of upcoming milestones. However, if you have a compliance account, you will need to either request a contract extension or start a new contract if the new date is not within the scope of your existing contract.