Invitation to Create an Agency

Clients can send BYO (Bring Your Own) invitations to agencies they know outside of Upwork. They’re asking you to join Upwork and continue doing business with them through our marketplace.  

Before creating an Upwork account, please have the following ready:

  1. Identify agency account “owner” — This person will have full access to and responsibility for the agency’s account on Upwork
  2. Identify account email address — For all project requests and client communications
  3. Client invitation — Provide the email address (above) to your client so they can send you an invitation to create an account

Personal Account Setup

Once the agency account “owner” receives an invitation, it’s time to activate your Upwork account.

  • Click on the link from your invite to activate your account
  • Enter basic information to set up your account

There are two phases of creating an agency on Upwork. First, you’ll get set up as a freelancer (selling services) and then you’ll add an agency (to sell the services of others). Activating a freelancer account is required before creating an agency.

You can discuss your agency capabilities in your freelancer profile, but make sure to note the role you play at the agency (e.g. Business Manager). Required fields for profile set up include: profile photo, skills, hourly rate, tagline, and a brief overview of your services.

Agency Account Setup

Now that you have activated your freelancer account, you can add an agency. In order to operate under the name of your agency and add team members, you must set up an agency account.

  1. Go to Settings > My Teams and choose Create a Company at the bottom.
  2. Select the Create an Agency option and fill out the form.
  3. Once the account is created go back to Settings and fill out all these required sections:
    • Get Paid: Add a payment method for withdrawing earnings
    • Agency Profile: Fill in profile info (read tips)
    • Set your default team: If you would like to appear with your agency in search results (as opposed to an individual freelancer), set your default team to your agency by going to Settings > My Teams > Set Default Team
  4. If you’ll be adding more agency team members to Upwork, also fill out these optional Settings sections:
    • Memberships & Connects: Enter your promo code or credit card for an Agency Plus membership
    • Members & Permissions: Add other team member accounts and set permissions (if they’re not working on Upwork outside the agency, set all profiles to Exclusive)
    • Set exclusive member profile rates and privacy settings on Find Work > Agency Roster

Frequently Asked Questions

I only want to work with my BYO client. How can I make sure people on Upwork can't find me?

  • Freelancer profile: On the Find Work homepage on the right side, you can set your profile visibility to private.
  • Agency profile: Agency and agency member profiles are always visible

How do I find clients outside of my BYO client?

  • You can search key terms in the Marketplace to find projects with other clients on Upwork

What’s involved with the compliance process prior to accepting a contract?

  • Depending on the project, you may be asked to provide a questionnaire and business documents to prove that your agency qualifies as an independent contractor. You can read more on the process here.

My invitation included a contract offer. What’s the fastest way to accept and get to work?

Depending on how the client sent your invite, you may see an offer before creating your profile(s). If you’ve received a direct offer you can skip the profile creation steps for now (but you’ll have to go back and do them later if you want to sell your agency’s services to other clients).

To accept a direct contract offer you will

  1. Review the offer terms
  2. Accept the offer
  3. Complete compliance or onboarding tasks (if requested)
  4. Get set to work
  5. Start the contract

How does an agency find work through Upwork?

There are three ways to win work

  1. Submit proposals for projects
    • You can search posted projects in your client’s Talent Cloud
    • Once you find a project that matches your agency’s skill set, you can submit a proposal
    • You will need to select a team member freelancer account to submit a proposal
  2. Receive invite for a project
    • Clients may come across your profile in search
    • They can invite a member profile associated w/ the agency to submit a proposal for their project
    • Account owner and all members with Business Manager permissions will receive a notification (as long as the member invited is exclusive)
    • You will respond to the invite with a proposal, just as you would if you were applying to a project you found in search
  3. Receive direct offer
    • Clients may search for your agency directly
    • They can send an offer
    • Account owner and all members with Business Manager permissions will receive a notification (as long as the member invited is exclusive)

If selected for a project, the client will send you a contract through Upwork.

Below is the contract process

  1. If selected for a project, a client will send an agency member a contract offer
  2. The contract will be sent to the agency “owner” and all business managers (if the agency member receiving the offer doesn’t have manager permissions, both the member and their manager will be notified)
  3. Upwork’s compliance team may contact you to confirm your company is properly set up as an independent contractor (if necessary, this must be completed before the contract can begin)
  4. The agency “owner” and Business Managers can accept the contract, but not non-manager agency members
  5. Your team begins work!

Who can work on an agency contract?

The agency has full control over who works on their contracts. Best practice is to be transparent with your client on who is doing the work, but it’s not usually necessary for every member working for the client to have their own contract. However, agency members, like all Upwork users, must not share accounts, so on an hourly contract, only the freelancer named on the contract can log time with the Upwork desktop app. Time from other agency members would have to be added to the Work Diary manually or be paid via bonuses. There is no time tracking for fixed-price contracts.

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