When you need expert advice or help planning a project’s scope, a consultation with a professional is a great place to start.

Find a consultant


If a freelancer you’re working with offers consultations, you’ll see it on their profile. You’ll see the topics of expertise they can discuss and how much they charge per 30 minutes.

You can find other freelancers who offer consultations by following these steps:

  1. Enter the area of expertise you need in the search bar
  2. Select Offers consultations within filters
  3. You’ll see freelancers who offer consultations, and you can open a listing to learn more about what a specific freelancer offers, request to meet now (beta), or schedule to meet later

Pro Tip:

Need help with AI? You can also find freelancers who are available now on the AI Services page.

Choose a consultation


For each consultation, you’ll be able to see details about what the consulting freelancer offers and the price per 30 minutes. You’ll also see what documents they provide after the consultation. These may include a project plan, time and cost estimate, meeting summary, or a combination of those.

Book a consultation


Meet now (beta):

Once you’ve found someone you want to meet with, here’s how to send a request:

  1. Select Meet now
  2. Create an account if you don’t already have one
  3. Add details about your consultation. These details help the consultant know if they have the expertise to help
  4. Select Send request
  5. The consultant has one minute to respond. You’ll be added to a waiting room where you can send additional messages or withdraw the request
  6. If the consultant accepts the consultation, you can fund it. Select Fund now
  7. Add or select a billing method, and choose Confirm & fund
  8. Select Join meeting to begin your consultation

Joining the meeting will take you to Zoom, where you can discuss your work needs with the consulting freelancer.

If the consultant can’t help you, they may decline the request to meet now. They'll do this before you fund the work, so you won’t need to request a refund. We encourage you to find another freelancer who may be able to help.

Reschedule

If your consultant is taking too long to respond (or you need to reschedule), you can withdraw your request from the waiting room. You can then choose another freelancer who is available to meet now, or schedule a consultation later.

Meet later:

Once you’ve found someone you want to schedule to meet with later, here’s how to book time:

  1. Schedule a consultation from available times on the consultant’s calendar
  2. Create an account if you don’t already have one
  3. Proceed to checkout
  4. Enter a payment method or choose your existing payment method
  5. Confirm and fund the consultation and pay the contract initiation fee
  6. Send the consultant’s required information within 24 hours

Requirements

You’ll see what information the consultant needs from you before the consultation when you’re booking. This may include your website, explaining your business, explaining what you need from the consultation, or other information that the consultant needs to prepare to help you.

You’ll have to submit that information for the consultation to move forward after purchase, so you’ll want to be sure that you can provide what the consultant requires.

If the consultant finds they aren’t able to help you with what you need, they’ll cancel, and you’ll get your money back.

Workroom

You’ll get a new virtual work space called a workroom — a page we create specifically for your consultation. It will track whether you’ve submitted the requirements, show the time and date of the meeting, and show the follow up after the meeting.

You can message your consultant from the workroom. You can also view past messages and documents that you and your consultant have submitted here.

Reschedule

You can reschedule your consultation in the workroom too. Choose a new date and time from your freelancer’s calendar that falls after their minimum booking notice, and we’ll send them a message that you rescheduled.

Cancellation

You can cancel your consultation up to 24 hours before the meeting and we’ll refund your money. However, if you cancel within 24 hours of the meeting or don’t show up to the meeting, we won’t refund the money and we’ll send your payment to the consultant.

 

After the consultation


After your meeting, the consultant will send you the documents they offered in their consultation description. We’ll let you know when they complete that step. From there, you can review the documents and approve payment to the consultant.

If you and the consultant agree that you don’t need any follow-up documents after the meeting, you’ll have the option to go ahead and approve and pay. However, if you opt out of receiving these documents, you’ll also be asked at that time to agree not to file a dispute of payment on the consultation. Without documents, we wouldn’t have any way to review and settle a dispute.

What’s next?


After a consultation, you may have a clearer understanding of your project’s scope and whether the consulting freelancer has the skills and availability you need. Following up after the consultation can help you move your work forward.

Follow up with your consultant

If you’re interested in working with your consulting freelancer, you can post a job and invite them to submit a proposal.

You can also ask the freelancer to create and propose the contract for you. Then you’ll just need to review and accept the contract to begin working together.

You can provide feedback to the freelancer by choosing Leave Feedback in the Order Details section of your consultation’s contract workroom. Feedback can help freelancers understand what’s working well and what they need to improve, and it can give other clients insight into the freelancer’s abilities.

Move forward with a different freelancer

If you’re ready to move forward with your project but need to work with someone else, you can create a job post or browse projects on Project Catalog™.

Creating a job post lets you design the details of the job and explain exactly what you need. We’ll post the job on Upwork’s marketplace and interested freelancers can submit their proposals to you for your review.

Browsing projects may help you find freelancers who offer a customizable project similar to yours on Project Catalog. You can choose one of their existing projects and customize it to fit your needs or ask a freelancer on Project Catalog to create a contract proposal instead.

Pro Tip:

If you liked working with the consulting freelancer but they don’t have the availability you need, you may consider asking them to refer you to another freelancer.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I purchase a consultation?

How you book depends on if you want to request to meet now or schedule to meet later.

To request to meet now:

  1. Create an account if you don’t already have one
  2. Select Meet now
  3. Add details about your consultation.
  4. Select Send request
  5. The consultant has one minute to respond. You’ll be added to a waiting room where you can send additional messages or withdraw the request
  6. When the freelancer approves the consultation, you can fund it. Select Fund now
  7. Add or select a billing method, and choose Confirm & fund
  8. Select Join meeting to begin your consultation

To schedule to meet later:

  1. Create an account if you don’t already have one
  2. Schedule a consultation from available times on the consultant’s calendar
  3. Proceed to checkout
  4. Enter a payment method or choose your existing payment method
  5. Confirm and fund the consultation and contract initiation fee
  6. Send the consultant’s required information within 24 hours
What happens if someone doesn’t show up?

If the client doesn’t show up, the freelancing consultant still gets paid.

If the freelancer doesn’t show up for a scheduled consultation, we recommend the client request a refund. If the freelancer denies the refund, our support team can step in to help, taking into consideration that the no-show was the reason for a refund request.

What happens if I don't get any value from the meeting? Can I request a refund?

You can request a refund from the consultant. If they reject your request, you can file a dispute. However, the consultant will also have the opportunity to show what they provided. Since value is subjective, we encourage you to work this out with the consultant and provide feedback about your experience.

What happens if the consultant is late or doesn’t show up?

Please wait at least 5 minutes. If the consultant is more than 5 minutes late, you can consider them a no-show and request a refund from the consultant.

What happens if I’m running late?

If you’re more than 5 minutes late, the consultant can consider you a no-show. They’ll still get paid even though you didn’t attend the meeting.

What policies am I expected to follow?
Can I still request a refund if I choose to approve and pay for a consultation without receiving documents?

No, when you choose to approve and pay without receiving documents, you’re also agreeing that you won’t request a refund on the consultation payment.

How do I continue working with the freelancer who provided my consultation?

You can post a job and invite them to submit a proposal, or you can ask the freelancer to create and propose the contract for you. Then you’ll just need to review and accept the contract to begin working together.

The consulting freelancer wasn’t the right fit or they don’t have time to take on my project — now what?

You can post a job on the marketplace and let freelancers submit contract proposals to you for your review. You may consider asking the consulting freelancer if they can refer another freelancer from Upwork for your job post.

You can also browse Project Catalog for a freelancer who has a project similar to yours and either customize the project to fit your needs or ask them to create a contract proposal for you.

Why did the consultant deny my request for a consultation?

Freelancers may decline to meet because they don’t have the right skills to help you, or they may be busy with other work.

What do I do if my consultant is taking too long to respond when I want to meet now?

If your consultant is taking too long to respond (or you need to reschedule), you can withdraw your request from the waiting room. You can then choose another freelancer who is available to meet now or schedule a consultation later.

I don’t see the option to meet now with a freelancer on their consultation page. How do I meet now?

If you don’t see the option to meet now on a consultation page, it means that freelancer isn’t available now. You can schedule time with them in the future or choose a freelancer who has the option to meet now.

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