While we work hard to give you control and freedom in your work, we understand that some clients and freelancers wish to work together outside of the platform. We provide the option to do this easily, with a one-time payment of the Upwork Conversion Fee.

Taking a relationship outside of Upwork without first paying the Conversion Fee is a serious violation of the Upwork Terms of Service.

What does it mean to convert?

Freelancers and clients can move their relationship, and all payments, outside of Upwork by paying a one-time Upwork Conversion Fee. Users can then define their relationship however they think best, including:

  • Making and receiving payments through other means
  • Direct W2 employment
  • Independent contract work

However, once you take a relationship outside of Upwork, the way you work with each other will change:

  • You will work with each other using your own systems and services, instead of work diary, time tracker, etc.
  • You will lose payment protection and dispute services
  • You will be responsible for paying talent using your own payment services


We find that the most successful clients and freelancers emphasize clear communication. Our users recommend that those who plan to convert carefully discuss how it will impact work, why it makes more sense, how they plan to process payments and transfer work, and how they will communicate going forward.

Are there exceptions to the Conversion Fee?

The Conversion Fee impacts any Upwork users who have met through Upwork’s platform and want to work together outside of the platform. To take a relationship and all payments outside of Upwork, users must pay the Upwork Conversion Fee.

There are two exceptions to the policy:

  • Relationships that started outside the platform, come onto Upwork, and are then taken back outside the platform are excluded. It does not violate the Upwork Terms of Service or require the Upwork Conversion Fee to move a relationship outside of Upwork if it was established before moving to Upwork.
  • Relationships that have been maintained for at least two years on the platform may be taken outside of Upwork for a fee of $1. These relationships don’t need to be continuously active, and they are not limited by a certain quantity of projects. You can initiate this request from within Upwork’s platform by following the steps outlined below.

Taking a relationship outside of Upwork without first paying the Conversion Fee is a direct violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, which may result in having your Upwork account permanently suspended.

Business and Enterprise clients fall under different contract regulations. If you are a Business or Enterprise user interested in conversion, please reach out directly to your account manager for help. If you’re working with a Business or Enterprise client, please reach out to your client if you’d like to discuss conversion.

How do I take my relationship outside Upwork?

Clients can initiate this process. To move your relationship off Upwork:

  1. Go to Jobs > All Contracts
  2. Choose a specific contract under All contracts and select the (…) menu
  3. Select the Move Outside Upwork button to start the conversion process
  4. Follow the steps outlined and send the conversion request. The other party will be notified and must accept the request. We’ll then process the payment and you’ll be approved to take your work relationship out of Upwork.


The Conversion Fee must be paid before making any payments outside of Upwork. The fee is paid once per each specific freelancer/client relationship. Taking a relationship outside of Upwork without first paying the Conversion Fee is a direct violation of the Upwork Terms of Service.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who pays the Upwork Conversion Fee?

Either the client or freelancer can pay the fee. Although, only one user can pay the fee to Upwork. The client and freelancer must agree who is to pay the Conversion Fee to Upwork. If they would like to share in the cost, they can arrange that between themselves.

What’s the Conversion Fee?

When you use Upwork to find a freelancer, we require you to use the Upwork platform to pay that freelancer for any work they complete for you during the following two years. However, since we know at times our customers prefer to take their relationships off Upwork, we have a Conversion Fee. By paying the Conversion Fee you can move your payments outside of Upwork without violating our Terms of Service (TOS). This way, you don’t have to worry about having your Upwork account permanently suspended and can continue to use it for other existing projects and future ones. The Conversion Fee is 13.5% of estimated earnings over a 12-month period in each specific client-freelancer relationship. Learn more here.

I heard there were changes to the Terms of Service; what were those?

We’ve recently made new updates to our Terms of Service that impacts users who may want to take their relationship outside of Upwork. The Conversion Fee is now 13.5% of estimated 12 month earnings and calculated differently for hourly and fixed-price projects. The Conversion Fee was formerly called the “Opt-Out Fee.”

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