How It Works 2017-06-01T18:51:32+00:00

How It Works

An overview of hiring and freelancing on Upwork.

Become a Freelancer

Find rewarding projects

Upwork is a great place to find more clients, and to run and grow your own freelance business.

  • Freedom to work on ideal projects. On Upwork, you run your own business and choose your own clients and projects. Just complete your profile and we’ll highlight ideal jobs. Also search projects, and respond to client invitations.
  • Wide variety and high pay. Clients are now posting jobs in hundreds of skill categories, paying top price for great work.
  • More and more success. The greater the success you have on projects, the more likely you are to get hired by clients that use Upwork.
Clients seek a wide variety of available projects across multiple categories. Search here to see all job categories and find available projects.

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Get hired quickly

Upwork makes it easy to connect with clients and begin doing great work.

  • Streamlined hiring. Upwork’s sophisticated algorithms highlight projects you’re a great fit for.
  • Top Rated and Rising Talent programs. Enjoy higher visibility with the added status of prestigious programs.
  • Do substantial work with top clients. Upwork pricing encourages freelancers to use Upwork for repeat relationships with their clients.
It all starts by creating a great profile and submitting a compelling job proposal. Getting freelance work online is a lot like traditional searching — you submit applications on projects, then impress potential clients before being offered the project.

Creating an outstanding freelancer profile to showcase your business. Think of it as an introduction, resume, and marketing brochure rolled into one, highlighting your: professional skills, experience, and portfolio; education and accomplishments; and online skills test results. The best profiles are complete, well-written, error-free, and feature a professional, friendly-looking picture.
Sending the client a compelling proposal. This will greatly increase your likelihood of getting an interview, so consider making sure yours is: professional, well-written, and error-free; tailor-made for the work you’re seeking; and a true representation of your strengths and skills.

Yes, you can build a business online that’s personally and professionally rewarding. When you deliver great work to your clients, success will follow. The most successful freelancers are:

  • Responsive to client needs
  • Excellent at communicating with their clients
  • Upfront about their abilities and deadlines
  • Able to deliver excellent work on time, every time

Work efficiently, effectively.

With Upwork, you have the freedom and flexibility to control when, where, and how you work. Each project includes an online workspace shared by you and your client, allowing you to:

  • Send and receive files. Deliver digital assets in a secure environment.
  • Share feedback in real time. Use Upwork Messages to communicate via text, chat, or video.
  • Use our mobile app. Many features can be accessed on your mobile phone when on the go.

Upwork provides a user-friendly platform to help you chat and share files, track your time, and get paid.

For hourly projects:

  • Download the Upwork desktop app. It includes the Work Diary, which helps ensure you’re paid for the work you do. By taking work-in-progress screenshots every 10 minutes during billable time, it provides proof to your clients that you are hard at work on their project. You can also manually track hours in the app if your client agrees.
  • Your client will be billed automatically for the time you track via the desktop app.

For fixed-price projects:

  • Set milestones and deadlines with your client for each part of the project.
  • Submit work for each milestone. Your client will release funds from escrow upon approval.

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Get paid on time

All projects include Upwork Payment Protection — helping ensure that you get paid for all work successfully completed through the freelancing website.

  • All invoices and payments happen through Upwork. Count on a simple and streamlined process.
  • Hourly and fixed-price projects. For hourly work, submit timesheets through Upwork. For fixed-price jobs, set milestones and funds are released via Upwork escrow features.
  • Multiple payment options. Choose a payment method that works best for you, from direct deposit or PayPal to wire transfer and more.

All payments are made securely through our licensed escrow service. Receive funds via whatever payment methods work best for you:

  • Direct Deposit / ACH
  • PayPal
  • Wire Transfer
  • Local Funds Transfer (LFT)
  • Payoneer
  • Skrill

When working on hourly projects, you’re eligible for Upwork Payment Protection that assures that an hour worked is an hour paid. On fixed-price contracts, pre-funded milestone payments from your clients are secure with Upwork Fixed-Price Protection.

We charge a freelancer service fee, taken as a percentage of your earnings on Upwork. It is a sliding fee based on your lifetime billings with each client (across all hourly and fixed-price contracts):

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill your client across all contracts with them
  • 10% for total billings with your client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with your client that exceed $10,000

For example, if you agree to a $1,000 price for a job with a new client, you will be billed 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $500.

Service fees for freelancers

Upwork charges freelancers a sliding fee based on the freelancer’s lifetime billings with a specific client. In other words, the more business a freelancer has done with a client, the more they’ll earn.

Specifically, Upwork charges the freelancer a fee of:

  • 20% for the first $500 billed with the client
  • 10% for lifetime billings with the client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for lifetime billings with the client that exceed $10,000

When a freelancer bills $500 or $10,000 with a client, the freelancer automatically earns a lower fee going forward with that client. The freelancer will therefore see an increase in take-home earnings.

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