At Upwork, we seek to create a safe, reliable place for clients and freelancers to make connections, grow their businesses, and collaborate on projects. Our network stretches across over 180 countries, and our marketplace offers a wide range of services, from Accounting to Writing.

Sometimes, clients and freelancers who have met through Upwork wish to work together directly outside of Upwork. We provide the option to do this with a one-time payment of the Upwork Conversion Fee.

The Conversion Fee Formula

The Upwork Conversion Fee is 13.5% of a freelancer’s estimated annual earnings. The hourly rate we use differs, depending on what type of contract the client and freelancer have been working on. Choose an option below to learn more.

Conversion Fee = 13.5% of a freelancer’s hourly rate x 2,080 hours (52 wks x 40 hrs)

For hourly contracts

If you have been working together on hourly contracts, we’ll take the highest hourly rate between the specific freelancer and client who are looking to move outside Upwork. We don’t incorporate any hourly rates the freelancer has charged other clients they’ve worked with in the past. Once we determine the hourly rate to use, we plug it into the formula to determine the conversion fee.

Example:

John charges his client, Ashley, either $20 per hour or $30 per hour, depending on what type of work he’s doing. Ashley wants to hire John full time, and they wish to take their work outside Upwork. Upwork will calculate John’s annual earnings using $30 per hour, and then charge 13.5% of that number as a Conversion Fee.


$30 x 2080 = $62,400

13.5% of $62,400 = $8,424 Conversion Fee

For fixed-price contracts

If you have been using fixed-price contracts for your work together on Upwork, we’ll use the hourly rate listed on the freelancer’s profile. We use this hourly rate into the formula to determine the Conversion Fee.

Example:

Kelly typically charges $50 per hour. Even though sometimes her rate changes, the hourly rate listed on her profile is $50. Kelly and her client, who have been working on a fixed-price contract together, wish to use other payment means so they’ll need to take their work outside Upwork. Upwork will calculate Kelly’s annual earnings using $50 per hour and then charge 13.5% of that number as a Conversion Fee.


$50 x 2080 = $104,000

13.5% of $104,000 = $14,040 Conversion Fee

To help you transition off Upwork, we will apply a discount on the Conversion Fee. This discount is calculated as a percentage of the total Marketplace Fees that client has paid to Upwork in the previous twelve months on marketplace contracts between the client and the freelancer. The discount won’t make the final Conversion Fee price drop below $1,000. Begin the conversion process to determine your discount.

How to convert your working relationship off Upwork

Clients initiate this process. To pay the Conversion Fee and take your relationship outside 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.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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 for the following two years. This enables us to be able to continue to provide this service to clients and freelancers. However, since we know at times our customers prefer to take their relationships off Upwork, we have offered the option of 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 and future projects. To learn more about the Conversion Fee, click here.

How do I pay the Conversion Fee to take my project off-platform?

Clients typically initiate this process. To pay the Conversion Fee and take your relationship outside 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.
What’s the price of the Conversion Fee?
The Conversion Fee is 13.5% of estimated earnings over a 12-month period in each specific client-freelancer relationship. To help you transition off Upwork, we will apply a discount on the Conversion Fee. This discount is calculated as a percentage of the total Marketplace Fees that client has paid to Upwork in the previous twelve months on marketplace contracts between the client and the freelancer. The discount won’t make the final Conversion Fee price drop below $1,000.
Why do you use 2,080 hours as the baseline for your calculations?

2,080 is the amount of hours most people work in a year. 52 weeks in a year multiplied by the standard 40-hour work week equals 2,080.

Do I have to pay the Conversion Fee all at once?

Yes, the fee must be paid in full, with one billing method.

What do I lose by taking my contract off Upwork?

When you pay the Conversion Fee and move your relationship outside of Upwork, we will no longer be able to offer any support for that relationship, including customer service, payment protection, dispute resolution services, and other valuable tools. Any issues that arise with payments, communications, deadlines, and so on, must be resolved without our assistance.

Why shouldn’t I just take my freelancer/client off Upwork without paying the Conversion Fee?

Taking a freelancer/client relationship and making payments off of Upwork (technically called “circumvention”) is against our Terms of Service, which all users, client and freelancer alike, agree to follow when they join Upwork. Taking a relationship outside of Upwork without paying the fee puts both the client and freelancer at risk of having their Upwork account permanently suspended, meaning they can no longer use Upwork at all. By paying the Conversion Fee, you can take the relationship and payments outside of Upwork and still stay in good standing on Upwork.

Requiring a conversion fee also helps protect independent talent from being pressured to move off of Upwork by clients who may be trying to avoid the payment protections and dispute services that we offer. The conversion fee demonstrates that the client is willing and able to pay a freelancer. This protection for freelancers is part of what makes Upwork a safe and reliable place to work. That security is part of what draws quality independent talent to our platform.

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.”

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 plus any applicable taxes. 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.

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