The Upwork Conversion Fee

At Upwork, we work to create a safe, reliable place for clients and freelancers to get more done. Our network stretches across over 180 countries, with services offered on our marketplace ranging 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 easily, with a one-time payment of the Upwork Conversion Fee.

The Conversion Fee Formula

The Upwork Conversion Fee is 12% of estimated earnings over a twelve (12) month period based on the freelancer’s hourly rate.

Conversion Fee = 12% of hourly rate x 2,080 hours (52 wks x 40 hrs)

After evaluation, the freelancer’s hourly rate will be determined as the highest of the following:

  • Freelancer earned hourly rate on any hourly project on Upwork,
  • Freelancer proposed hourly rate for any hourly contract on Upwork, or
  • Freelancer profile hourly rate
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 12% of estimated earnings over a 12-month period. It is calculated by taking the freelancer’s highest hourly rate and multiplying it by 2,080 (40 hours/week X 52 weeks). To learn more about the Conversion Fee, click here.

How is this different than before, with the Opt-Out Fee?

We’ve changed the name of the “Opt-Out Fee” to “Conversion Fee” and also changed how we calculate it. The Conversion Fee is 12% of estimated earnings over a 12-month period. It is calculated by taking the freelancer’s highest hourly rate and multiplying it by 2,080 (40 hours/week X 52 weeks). If you agree to pay the Conversion Fee, you can move your relationship, and 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 use Upwork for future projects.

Who do I contact if I want to pay the conversion fee to take my project off-platform?

You can contact us  through a dedicated email address, conversionfee@upwork.com, or (for clients) choose to start the process by clicking the Move Outside Upwork button in your contract room.

What if I have never had an hourly contract on Upwork?

If the freelancer has no record of an earned hourly rate or a proposed hourly rate on Upwork, then the profile hourly rate will be used to calculate the Conversion Fee.

Why do you use 2,080 hours as the baseline for your calculations?

2,080 equals 52 weeks in a year, times the standard 40-hour work week. 

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, including customer service, payment protection, dispute resolution services, etc. Any issues that arise with payments, quality of work, deadlines, etc., 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 (we technically call it “circumvention”) is against our Terms of Service, which all customers 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 for 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.

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

Effective April 3, 2020, new updates to our Terms of Service were made to provide more clarity and ease if users want to take their relationship outside of Upwork. These changes renamed what was formerly the Opt Out Fee to the Upwork Conversion Fee and simplified the calculation to 12% of estimated 12 month earnings.

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