Run your business all in one place

Manage contracts and securely receive payments from any client, even if you didn’t meet on Upwork.

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How it works

Create a contract
Then send it to your client.
Your client accepts it
They give us your payment for safekeeping.
You get paid
Your money goes to your Upwork balance within 5 days for fixed-price and hourly work.

Introducing Direct Contracts

Our secure platform keeps your payment safe and sound —clients don't need to set up an account

Why Direct Contracts?

Payment protection

Your client gives us your payment for safekeeping so you know it’s waiting for you once the job is done.

One small fee

You'll pay 5% for each contract.

Easy for your client

Clients can pay by credit card or Paypal (plus ACH bank transfers in the U.S).

Help with disputes

We’ll step in to help if your project hits a snag.

Frequently asked questions

How do Direct Contracts work?

With Direct Contracts, you can create and send contract proposals to your clients that don’t yet have Upwork accounts. Just like your other contracts on Upwork, your client deposits project funds in escrow before the contract starts. When you’ve completed the work, you’ll request payment from your client. Once they’ve accepted your request, the funds are released to you.

As a freelancer, you’ll pay a 5% freelancer service fee of the total contract amount.

Please note that all transactions are in USD.

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How are Direct Contracts different from other Upwork contracts?

  • You can use Direct Contracts only with clients who do not have an Upwork account.

  • You will have a 5% freelancer service fee while Marketplace contracts have a 10% freelancer service fee.

  • You create the contract terms and send proposals to your client.

  • Once your work is approved on a fixed-price or hourly contract, the funds are released to your Upwork account within five days.

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What’s the cost for me as a freelancer?

Freelancers are charged a 5% freelance service fee. For example, if your earnings are $100 you’ll be charged a fee of $5. Please note that all transactions are in USD.

Can I have hourly and fixed-price contracts with Direct Contracts?

Yes! You can have both hourly and fixed-price contracts with the Direct Contracts option.

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How do I file a dispute?

Direct Contracts are supported by escrow services and dispute assistance. If a client has canceled a contract without payment or has failed to release a milestone payment despite the delivery of work, you can file a dispute.

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Do my earnings from Direct Contracts get included in my U.S. tax information that Upwork provides me at the end of the year?

For questions about reporting your Upwork earnings, check out this help article.

Can I send the contract details page URL on my browser directly to my client?

No, please avoid sending your client the contract details page URL. Your client does not have an Upwork account yet, so they need a specially generated link to be able to access the contract information. We will send them the link to your contract via email, so let them know to be on the lookout for an email from

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Can I set up a Direct Contract with anyone, anywhere in the world?

Currently, Direct Contracts are only available to freelancers and their clients in certain countries. If you attempt to sign up and you or your client are not eligible due to the country you live in, you’ll see an error message. We hope to expand Direct Contracts to more countries in the future.

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If needed, am I able to issue my client a refund?

Yes, you can issue a full or partial refund.

How do I switch my current contracts to a Direct Contract?

Existing contracts on Upwork cannot be changed to a Direct Contracts contract.

Work securely with your non-Upwork clients

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