When your freelancer or agency submits a milestone for your approval, you have 14 days to review. If you do not take action within that time, that is considered approval and funds will be automatically released to your freelancer or agency.


Milestones are important tools that help keep fixed-price projects organized and moving along steadily, as well as create important check-in points. They outline the work you expect from your freelancer or agency at that point and, in return, how much you will pay them for it. Once work is submitted to you, you’ll need to review it and either accept the work or request changes.

You and your freelancer should decide how you'd like files or other deliverables transferred. Files can be shared using your contract’s Messages room (recommended) or any third-party solution.

The due date of a milestone cannot be changed, But you and your freelancer or agency can agree to work past it. Upwork does not impose any negative consequences for working beyond a milestone due date, giving you and your freelancer total control of the project timeframe.

Please note:

Escrow rules limit you to funding one milestone at a time. Funds must be released on the current milestone before the next one can be activated and funded. You cannot change the order of active milestones; however, you can choose to release a partial payment. Any remaining funds can be used to fund the next milestone, or you can request an escrow refund for the remaining amount.

 

To review a milestone for work submitted through the Upwork platform

Go to My Jobs, locate the contract, and click Review & Pay.

 

To review a milestone for work not submitted through the Upwork platform

Go to My Jobs, locate the contract, and click Pay Now.

 

Options to Review a Milestone:

You have a number of options when reviewing a milestone, choose an option below for instructions:

Approve and release payment

If you are completely satisfied with the work submitted for a milestone, you should approve the work and release the milestone payment to your freelancer or agency.

To approve a milestone for work submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from JobsMy Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Click Send Payment
  4. End the contract if the work is done or keep it open to continue

To approve a milestone for work not submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from JobsMy Jobs and click Pay Now
  2. Choose Pay
  3. Click Send Payment
  4. End the contract if the work is done or keep it open to continue

Best practice:

Release funds only when the work submitted is complete and satisfactory. Releasing funds from escrow (including by not responding for 14 days) is consent to pay the freelancer or agency for their work. If you release funds before work is submitted, or before you are satisfied with it, you cannot dispute the payment through Upwork. If you aren’t satisfied with the work, request changes instead of approving the milestone.

Release more than the full amount

Sometimes freelancers go above and beyond, and you’d like to reward that. To pay more than your escrow deposit, add a "bonus" when you approve a milestone. Bonuses are additional payments and are not paid out of your existing escrow balance.

To approve a milestone and a bonus for work submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from Jobs  › My Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Select the Add a bonus checkbox and enter an amount
  4. Click Send Payment

To approve a milestone and a bonus for work not submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from Jobs  › My Jobs and click Pay Now
  2. Choose Pay
  3. Select the Add a bonus checkbox and enter an amount
  4. Click Send Payment

Best practice:

Release funds only when the work submitted is complete and satisfactory. Releasing funds from escrow (including by not responding for 14 days) is consent to pay the freelancer or agency for their work. If you release funds from escrow before work is submitted, or before you are satisfied with it, you cannot dispute the payment through Upwork. If you aren’t satisfied with the work, request changes instead of approving the milestone.

Release less than the full amount

To release a partial milestone amount for work submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from JobsMy Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Choose Approve & Pay
  3. Click the pencil icon 
  4. Enter the amount to be released
  5. Click Send Payment

In this example, $420.00 has been funded for this milestone, but only $400.00 is released. The remaining $20.00 in escrow can be used to fund the next milestone. If you and your freelancer decide to end this contract now, you’ll need to request an escrow refund for the remainder.

To release a partial milestone amount for work not submitted through the Upwork platform

  1. Select the contract from JobsMy Jobs and click Pay Now
  2. Choose Pay
  3. Click the pencil icon 
  4. Enter the amount to be released
  5. Click Send Payment
Request changes

If submitted work is incomplete or does not meet the requirements of the milestone, you can ask your freelancer to update it and resubmit.

To request changes to work submitted for a milestone:

  1. Select the contract from JobsMy Jobs and click Review & Pay
  2. Click the Request Changes button
  3. Write a message describing the changes needed and click Send Change Request

If the work is not going as planned and you wish to end the contract without additional payment, you can cancel the contract and request an escrow refund. Your freelancer or agency will then have seven days to respond to the request. If they approve the refund or fail to respond within the seven days, the money in escrow will be returned to you.

Note:

Your freelancer or agency may file an escrow dispute if you refuse to release funds for a completed milestone. If you do not respond to the dispute in seven days, funds will be released to the freelancer or agency.

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