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Implications of joining an agency



I am an independent freelance and currently I have been invited to join an agency (exclusive) on upwork. I would like to know the following:


1. What will happen to my individual profile if I join the agency? Will the history i.e. ratings, earnings, earlier jobs done remain as it is or will my profile become inactive?

2. What happens if I decide to leave the agency in the future? Will I get my individual account back with its history or will I have to start from scratch?

3.  Will I be able to leave the agency any time I feel or will the agency have a control over my profile?





Hi Amruta,


Thank you for reaching out. To start, you have to understand that you can either join an agency as an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive Agency Member. To answer your questions:


1. Your profile will not be inactive and your earnings, ratings, and work history will not be removed.

2. If you decide to leave the agency, you'll still have your account. It will just sever its ties with the agency.

3. You can leave at any time as long as you don't have active contracts and proposals.


Agency members who are exclusive work on Upwork only as part of the agency. This is the most common type of agency relationship. Your profile and proposals are branded with the agency to make the agency’s part in the work relationship clear to clients. We pay out all contract payments to the agency.


Agency members who are non-exclusive can work on Upwork independently or as part of an agency. When the contract is with the freelancer as an agency member, we pay out contract payments to the agency. However, for contracts independent of the agency, we pay the freelancer directly. When you are a non-exclusive agency member, you have the option to submit proposals as a freelancer or as an agency member.


You can check this and this article to learn more about how working for an agency works.

~ AJ

If I want to have a freelancer in my agency as an exclusive mebmer while he has some active contracts before joining. Will he be able to work on his individual contracts as an exclusive member? For sure I know for any future contracts it will be through the agency.

ِAlso one more thing please, as an exclusive member, still the contracts and the earning through the agency will appear on his profile, right?

Community Member

I'd ask them why do they want it to be exclusive. There has to be some particular reason they should be able to explain, or something is wrong. I always thought that exclusive membership in agency is for the cases when a company takes an existing (offline) employee to work for an Upwork customer so he has to create an account on Upwork and become an (exclusive) agency member. If you already had some history etc on your own and now some agency invites you to become their exclusive member, i'd ask why and would be wary of this proposal unless there's some compelling, valid reason.

Community Member

I'd like to suggest an enhancement to the agency model on Upwork, focusing on how agencies manage freelancers' profiles created under their domain. Upwork could implement a verification system where an agency's domain is authenticated, and freelancers' emails associated with that domain are linked to the agency.

This approach would position such freelancer profiles as part of the agency's assets. However, I concur with Alexander's point that freelancers with existing profiles and histories should retain the option to work non-exclusively. This respects the freelancer's individual professional journey while still allowing them to collaborate with agencies.

Agencies invest considerable effort in acquiring clients and nurturing talent. Therefore, there should be a mechanism for agencies to offer their in-house or offline resources on Upwork. Perhaps a feature for creating mini profiles for agency resources could be introduced, enabling agencies to assign these freelancers to contracts secured by the agency or its business managers.

From my perspective, Upwork's current model seems to have limitations in fully supporting the agency framework, often leading clients to prefer independent freelancers. Addressing these aspects could enhance the agency experience on the platform, providing a more balanced and versatile environment for both agencies and freelancers.

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