At Upwork, we are committed to helping clients connect with the talent and expertise you need. 

With Direct Contracts, you can easily work with independent professionals in over 180 countries and enjoy the support of features such as escrow services, dispute assistance, simplified contract management, and instant payments. You don't even have to join the Upwork platform!




Follow these quick steps to get started!


Review and Accept a Contract

Freelancers can send Direct Contracts straight to you via email. To get started, you'll want to review the contract details.


1. Check your email.

Look for a Review Contract email from Upwork with contract details, like your freelancer's name. For security, we'll ask that you confirm your email with a quick 6-digit code before starting your full review.



2. Review contract details.

Review the full contract details, and reach out to your freelancer directly if you need any changes. Sign and accept to get started, or choose to decline the proposal. 



3. Enter your payment method.

Escrow services are a benefit of using Direct Contracts! Enter a payment method to fund your contract and get started. 

No payment will be released now. You will approve your freelancer's payment requests after they've submitted work for your review. 

Direct Contract Fees

With Direct Contracts, you don't pay any fees other than one for payment processing:

  • The fee is 3% of the freelancer’s invoice when you use a credit card, debit card, or PayPal. For example, if your freelancer invoices you for $100 and you pay with a card or PayPal, you’ll pay a $3 processing fee (3% of $100).
  • If you use your checking account, you’ll pay a flat $0.50 USD for each payment you make. 
4. Success!

Congratulations! You and your freelancer will both receive confirmation emails from Upwork, and your contract can begin.

No work can begin until contract funding has been confirmed.


Pay for Work

Once your contract is funded, it becomes Active. When the freelancer completes the work, you can review the results and release a payment. 


1. Check your email. 

Your freelancer will send a payment request when the work is done. You'll get an email from Upwork with the request, and a link to click through and review it.




2. Review the request.

After you review the payment request, you can accept it and release your payment. You can also choose to decline the request.

If you do not respond to a payment request within 14 days, Upwork will automatically release the payment to your freelancer.



3. You're all set!

When you accept the payment request, we will send your payment, a confirmation, and a contract invoice to your freelancer.




4. File your invoice.

We'll email you to confirm that your payment was released. You can keep the attached invoice/project receipt for your records.





Learn more about the Direct Contract experience for a freelancer here 

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