We want you to have the freedom and control to choose how you work on Upwork. One of the ways we facilitate that is by giving you options between working as an independent freelancer, as part of an agency, or as a combination of both.
Agency members who are exclusive work on Upwork only as part of the agency. This is the most common type of agency relationship. Your profile and proposals are branded with the agency to make the agency’s part in the work relationship clear to clients. We pay out all contract payments to the agency.
Agency members who are non-exclusive can work on Upwork independently or as part of an agency. When the contract is with the freelancer as an agency member, we pay out contract payments to the agency. However, for contracts independent of the agency, we pay the freelancer directly. When you are a non-exclusive agency member, you have the option to submit proposals as a freelancer or as an agency member.
To update your exclusivity, log into your Upwork Agency account and look under Settings > Members and Permissions.
Setting Your Default Team
By default, non-exclusive agency members (including the agency owner) appear on Upwork as independent freelancers not associated with an agency. If you wish to be treated as an agency member in search results, on your profile, and by default when clients reach out to you, you can set the agency as your default team by going to Settings › My Teams.
If you are an exclusive agency member OR a non-exclusive agency member with your default team set to the agency, the agency will appear in the search results, and the agency Job Success Score (“JSS”) is displayed:
If you are a non-exclusive agency member with no default team, the agency is not mentioned in search results and your Freelancer JSS is displayed:
* If you are a non-exclusive agency member, you will not appear in the search results when a client filters results to only include agencies unless the agency is set as your default team. This means that if all members of an agency are non-exclusive, the agency will not show up in these search results ever.
Job Success Score
If you are an exclusive agency member with enough contracts to qualify for a JSS, the agency JSS is listed on your profile.
If you are a non-exclusive agency member with enough contracts to qualify for a JSS, your freelancer JSS is listed on your profile and we calculate that based on contracts you completed both independently and as part of the agency.
Your individual JSS does not take into account other contracts completed by other members of the agency, but does take into account all contracts you have had, whether as part of the agency or as an individual contractor.
Sending a Proposal
When you submit a proposal as a non-exclusive agency member, you have the option to either submit the proposal as an individual or as a member of the agency (shown below). Exclusive members' proposals are all submitted as members of the agency.
When you submit a proposal as an agency member, the agency and agency JSS will display to the client in any of the following scenarios:
- You are an exclusive agency member
- You are a non-exclusive agency member, but set the agency as your default team
- You are a non-exclusive agency member, but submitted the proposal as a member of the agency
Responding to an Invitation to Apply
If you are an exclusive agency member, responding to an invitation to apply will place any subsequent proposal on behalf of the agency.
If you are a non-exclusive agency member, you will have the option to submit the proposal as an independent freelancer or as a member of the agency, regardless of whether or not you have set the agency as your default team.
Accepting a Job Offer
When a client sends a direct offer (without a preceding proposal) to an exclusive agency member or a non-exclusive agency member who has set the agency as their default team, the subsequent contract will be created with that agency member through the agency. If a direct offer (without a preceding proposal) is sent to a non-exclusive agency member who does not have the agency set as their default team, the subsequent contract will be created solely under the agency member’s freelancer account and not through the agency.
For any offers that clients send in response to your submitted proposal, the contract will match the proposal context (i.e., if the proposal was sent as an agency project, it will be an agency offer and subsequent contract; if it was sent as a freelancer, the offer and contract will be with the freelancer).
Only the agency owner and business managers can accept agency offers.