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Community Member

20% Contract Initiation Fee (10$) for a $50 project

I just offered a project for $50 and paid a 20% initiation fee to Upwork ($10). I don't understand the rationale for this fee. I am already paying a commission to Upwork. Is there any change in service that Upwork is providing to justify this jump from 3 to $10? There is no explanation for this fee given. The hyperlink provided just takes me to a long T&C / fee agreement that I don't have the time to review. 


This is also discouraging me from working with new freelancers. I will just choose to work with the same set of people to save on this $10 fee or rather, move to other platforms.


Why have piecemeal fees? Just roll it all into a single commission and keep the transparency.

Community Member

Don't be surprised. The platform is dead in terms of hiring qualified freelancers. The owners are trying to get a maximum from those who remain. For example, each freelancer now pays an to $20 to submit an application at your $50 job. Prices are constantly rising. Sometimes there are anoses, sometimes they are hidden. Just read carefully before clicking to pay now.

Community Member

This type of initiation fee stops a lot of the fraud posts as well as prospects that have no intention of hiring.

Yes, I agree with this. Also everyone using Upwork, whether Client or Freelancer, need to make the time to read the TOS - its not good business sense otherwise.

I don't disagree with this. But there are lots of user-friendly ways to make the relevant clause known (e.g. when I hover over the fees, it could provide me a rationale) or take me to the specific section that pertains to this. 

hmm..There could be other ways to prevent this type of fraud. The initiation fee is charged when I am making the offer, so this does not prevent fake posts from coming up on the platform. Also, Upwork could have a contract value threshold (20% on a $50 contract is prohibitive). 

Community Member

This has been discussed multiple times btw.


Basically yes there are better ways to prevent freelancers from being scammed, but Upwork doesn't implement them. Why? Because there's no advantage. Financials are not affected when freelancers get scammed, and they don't need good reputation as well (they have millions freelancers and new users still join every day despite the scams).


Vetting clients too much could scare off the scarce legitimate clients instead. But they do it, because (some people foresee) Upwork is aiming to transform to a business model where low-value one-time jobs are no longer supported. Yes your $50 job is no longer interesting to Upwork.


You can browse this client forum a little if you have time. You'll find many discussions about this, and you'll see people who have simple "answers" for all kinds of "problem" as well.

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