Upwork Fee Review: Expert Guide (2023)

Mike Renaldi

Upwork is a leader in freelance and remote work. But what Upwork’s fees for clients and freelancers?

In this complete guide, we'll take an in-depth look at Upwork’s pricing, payment options, and everything you need to succeed while using the platform.

We’ll also discuss how Wise Business can help you withdraw funds from Upwork and save along the way.

Looking to get paid in USD and save on currency conversion fees?

Withdraw and spend in your
preferred currency with Wise >>

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Table of Contents

How does Upwork work?

If you're a freelancer or a client looking for top talent, Upwork is the place to be! This platform connects people from all over the world, so you can work with the best regardless of where you are. Freelancers can create a profile and show off their skills, while clients can post jobs and choose from a pool of talented professionals.

Once you're connected, you can chat and negotiate terms through Upwork's messaging system and even share files and progress reports. And when it's time to get paid, Upwork's secure payment system makes it easy for both parties.

As part of maintaining the platform, Upwork charges a fee. The Upwork commission applies to both freelancers and clients, but it's all worth it for the convenience and access to talent.

There is still (as of March 2023) the Upwork service fee for freelancers, which is takes a percentage of freelancer earnings. This percentage is based on how much the freelancer has billed with each client. This fee ranged from 5% to 20%, depending on the freelancer's lifetime billings with a client.¹

However, from May 3rd, 2023, Upwork will (or has, depending on when you’re reading this) no longer provide a sliding scale fee and will charge a flat fee of 10% on all new contracts. ²

Upwork client fees include a simple 5% fee on each payment they make to freelancers. From April 26, 2023, there will also be an extra one-time fee of up to $4.95 per contract. These fees help Upwork cover its costs, like maintaining the platform, providing customer support, and making the user experience even better.


Upwork fees for freelancers

If you're a freelancer on Upwork, you may be wondering how much you'll be charged to use the platform. Well, let's break it down. Upwork service fees used to be based on your lifetime billings with each client, which meant that the more you worked with a client, the fewer fees you'd pay over time.

For example, if you had just started working with a client and billed less than $500, Upwork's fee was 20% of your earnings. But as you racked up more billings with that client, your fee percentage would drop.

From $500.01 to $10,000, you paid 10%, and it went all the way down to just 5% after you had billed over $10,000. This meant that you get to keep more of your hard-earned money as you built relationships with clients on the platform.

Effective May 3rd, 2023, the Upwork freelancer fee is a flat fee of 10% on all new contracts.¹ This also applies to Agencies working with non-enterprise clients. There are also a few exceptions to this new rule:

  • Legacy contracts that incur a 5% fee will continue to do so until the end of 2023¹
  • Freelancers part of the Upwork Payroll service paid through a third-party staffing company
  • Those working for clients on an Any Hire contract (formerly called a BYO contract)
  • Those on Direct Contracts

How much does Upwork take in the end?

In the end, Upwork typically takes 10% of whatever you’re earning. If you expect to get $500 from your contract, you’ll get paid $450.

Other Upwork fees for freelancers include any tax requirements depending on your country and withdrawal fees.

For instance, freelancers located in Mexico should expect a 16% VAT (value-added tax) on payments for Connects, membership fees like the Freelancer Plus plan, and service fees for contracts.³

While it’s free to withdraw to a local US bank account, there are small fees to withdraw your money in other ways:

  • $0.99 to get paid directly to a local bank outside the US
  • $2 for Instant Pay
  • $30 per US dollar wire transfer

Is there a way to reduce Upwork fees?

As a freelancer, you may be wondering if there's a way to reduce the Upwork freelance fees charged on the platform.

If you can become part of the Upwork Payroll service, Upwork won’t take the 10% cut from your earnings. You can also find clients off the platform and either set up a Direct Contract (which uses Upwork as a middleman with payment protection) or an Any Hire contract, which is when a client finds you outside of Upwork. These types of contracts will also mean waiving the 10% fee.⁴

Hourly rate on Upwork

Setting your hourly rate is an important part of your profile you’ll want to get right. Your Upwork hourly rate is the amount you'll charge clients for each hour of work you do on their projects. It helps clients understand what you charge and what they can expect to pay for your services.

How much should you charge?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine your worth. You should consider your experience, expertise, and the going rate for similar services when setting your hourly rate. Don't be afraid to charge what you're worth, but also be mindful of what clients are willing to pay. If you’re stuck, take a look at Upwork’s hourly rate guides for a variety of jobs to get a better idea.⁵

When you're working on an hourly project on Upwork, you can track your time with Upwork’s handy desktop time tracker. This nifty tool not only makes sure that you get paid for all the hard work you've put in, but it also gives clients peace of mind by showing them exactly how much time you've spent on their project.

Upwork Payments

So, you've landed a project on Upwork, and now you're wondering how you'll get paid. Well, lucky for you - Upwork's payment process is pretty simple.

How do Upwork payments work?

You and your client will agree on the scope of the project and the amount you'll be paid. Upwork offers a variety of payment methods, including direct deposit, Wise, wire transfer, and more, but these depend on the country you live in.

Once you've completed the work, you'll submit it to the client for approval. If the client approves the work, they'll release the funds to you. And if there are any issues or disputes, Upwork has a dispute resolution process to help you resolve them. There’s also an Upwork payment protection program to ensure that you get paid for the work you've completed, even if the client doesn't pay on time.

Different contracts will make earnings available at different times - bonus payments (in other words, tips), Project Catalog contracts, and fixed-price contracts have a five-day clearing period. Hourly contracts have a 10-day clearing period.⁶

Manage your Upwork funds with Wise Business

It’s important to have control over your funds, and Wise Business is here to help with that. Wise Business is a borderless account that makes it easy to manage your funds from anywhere in the world.

How to connect Wise and Upwork:

  1. Start by setting up a Wise account and make sure you have USD account details.

  2. Log in to your Upwork account and go to the "Get Paid" section.

  3. From there, select "Add Method" and choose "Direct to US Bank (USD).” Then, enter your Wise Business account details.

  4. After your funds are deposited in your Wise Business account, you can convert them to your local currency at a low and transparent fee. Wise Business uses the mid-market exchange rate, so you'll always get a fair deal.

  5. If you want to transfer that cash to your local business account, you can enter your account details, and Wise Business will take care of the rest.

  6. Wise Business comes in extremely handy when you aren’t in the United States or need to convert from USD. While conversion rates can otherwise be high, and so can fees, Wise can offset these costs.


Upwork fees for employers and enterprise clients

The Upwork fees for employers and enterprise clients are just as straightforward as that for freelancers. All services and features on Upwork you access as a client is called the Client Marketplace Plan. While there aren’t any monthly fees to be a client on the platform, there is an Upwork fee of 5% for all payments you make to freelancers

Contracts starting on or after April 26, 2023, require a one-time per-contract initiation fee of up to $4.95. For those who are in the US and pay using a checking account, there’s good news! You’ll get to pay a discounted rate of 3% instead of 5%. ²

For Upwork Enterprise clients, which are larger, more established companies that want to find talented freelancers, the fees are a little higher at 10%.⁷

Competitor fees for other freelancer websites

Upwork isn’t the only freelance site on the web. There are a few other solid options that you might want to explore.


Fiverr is a popular freelance platform that connects businesses and individuals with skilled professionals from around the world. Like Upwork, Fiverr offers a wide range of services, including graphic design, writing, programming, and more.

One of the key differences between Fiverr and Upwork is that Fiverr focuses on "gigs," which are individual services offered by freelancers. Buyers can browse through different gigs and purchase the ones that fit their needs, rather than posting a job and receiving proposals from multiple freelancers.

Fiverr ServiceFees
Buying Services⁸Fiverr charges buyers a minimum service fee of $2 for purchases under $50, as well as a 5.5% service fee.
Selling Services⁹Fiverr takes a 20% commission on the total amount of the transaction, including any additional fees such as service fees or shipping fees.


Freelancer.com is a global freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing platform. One thing that sets Freelancer.com apart from Upwork is its focus on contests. Freelancer.com allows businesses to create contests in which freelancers can submit their entries, and the business can choose the best one and award the prize money.

This feature allows businesses to crowdsource creative ideas from a community of freelancers, making it a unique and innovative platform in the freelance industry.

Freelancer.com ServiceFees
Freelancer Membership¹⁰Memberships are optional, but Freelancer.com provides four membership tiers:

\ Basic - $6.95/month

Plus - $8.95/month

Professional - $59.95/month

Premier - $119.95/month

Posting Projects¹¹Posting a project on Freelancer.com is free, but there are fees when you pay freelancers. For fixed-price projects, the fee is 3% or $3. For hourly projects, the fee is 3%.
Freelancer Bidding¹¹Freelancers can bid on projects for free, but they can purchase additional bids if they run out. The cost of purchasing additional bids varies depending on the freelancer's membership level.
Project Fees¹¹For fixed-price projects and contest prizes, the fee is 10% or $5. For hourly projects, the fee is 10%. There are also taxes depending on the country.
Upgrades¹¹Offers several upgrades that businesses can purchase to enhance their projects, such as highlighting their projects, upgrading their project's visibility, and increasing their bids' visibility. The cost of these upgrades varies depending on the type of upgrade and the project's value.
Withdrawals¹¹Local bank deposit is free, international wire costs $25.


Guru ServiceFees
Membership¹² ¹³Four membership levels besides the free plan. The higher you go, the lower the job fee.

Basic: $11.95/month

Professional: $21.95/month

Business: $33.95/month

Executive: $49.95/month

Job FeesCommission on each job awarded, which is from 5% to 9%, depending on the freelancer's membership level and the project's value.
Payment ProcessingHas its own payment processing system called SafePay. Freelancers are charged a 2.5% fee for each payment they receive.
Withdrawals¹⁴There is a $9 fee to withdraw using wire transfer, but transferring to bank accounts and third parties is free.
Project FeesEach invoice paid incurs a 2.9% handling fee, but using eCheck or wire transfer will get you cashback.

Manage your funds and save along the way with Wise Business

With Wise Business, you can receive payments from Upwork in over 50 different currencies, without having to worry about high conversion fees. And right when your funds are in your Wise Business account, you can easily transfer them to your local account, pay bills, or even make purchases using your Wise Business debit card.

Getting paid on Upwork with Wise is ideal for those who don’t receive funds in USD (as well as those who do!) - we always use the mid-market rate, which means you'll get more bang for your buck when converting your funds. Plus, our platform is super easy to use, and we offer excellent customer support to help you with any questions or concerns.

Looking for an easy and low cost way to make or receive payments?

Withdraw and spend in your
preferred currency with Wise >>

Free account opening for US-based accounts

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.


  1. https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211062538-Freelancer-Service-Fees
  2. https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/4660220468499-Client-Marketplace-Plan
  3. https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211061278-Value-Added-Tax-VAT-on-Freelancer-Fees#:~:text=VAT%20is%20shown%20on%20your%20invoice%2C%20which%20can,found%20under%20Reports%20%E2%80%BA%20Transaction%20History.&text=If%20you%20are%20using%20Upwork%20as%20a%20freelancer%2C%20a%2020,Any%20Connects%20purchases
  4. https://www.upwork.com/direct-contracts
  5. https://www.upwork.com/guides/hourly-rates
  6. https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211060918-Manage-How-You-Get-Paid
  7. https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/218373797-Work-with-Enterprise-Clients#:~:text=Upwork%20Enterprise%20contracts%20generally%20have,a%20flat%2010%25%20service%20fee
  8. https://www.fiverr.com/support/articles/360049646033-Why-was-I-charged-a-service-fee
  9. https://www.fiverr.com/content/payments-terms-and-conditions#:~:text=As%20of%20March%202021%2C%20the,applied%20to%20your%20next%20purchase
  10. https://www.freelancer.us/membership/?ngsw-bypass=&w=f
  11. https://www.freelancer.com/feesandcharges
  12. https://www.guru.com/pricing-employer/
  13. https://www.guru.com/pricing-freelancer/
  14. https://www.guru.com/help/freelancer/wire-transfer/

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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