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Do I have to use the time tracker in order to bill my hours on a project?

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
11 of 14

Tonya P wrote:

So as I understand it, if you agreed to work with a client for $100 per hour and your historic rate is $50 per hour, Upwork can refuse to pay the higher rate for the covered (protected) hours. 

Am I the only one who remembers the posts from the girl who was really upset that Upwork didn't pay her $ 4200 for 6 hours at $ 700 per hour  when her client failed to pay? Her profile rate was under $ 10?


Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
12 of 14

leslie m wrote:

I'm not a fan of the time tracker app. I'm more accustomed to logging my own hours for each project on my own and then entering them at the end of each work day, since I don't always sit for long periods of time with one project, but often bounce around to several things at once. It looks like I'm able to do a manual time entry, but they're saying that time won't be eligible for payment protection, and that clients may even dispute it. Do I have to use this time tracker thing in order to get paid with protection?

Upwork Payment Protection is an added benefit the platform provides to freelancers who want to avail themselves of it, and many do. But, if you choose to enter manual time only, then you are in no worse position than if you attempted to bill a client outside of Upwork for hours worked without being able to provide proof of time spent. EXCEPT, when you contract with a client outside of Upwork your contractual terms may include remedies for non-payment of unsupported hours that Upwork's TOS do not. (i.e., You might be able to take a client to small claims court and show various forms of evidence to prove your claim regarding the number of hours worked.) 

What will happen on Upwork is that if a client challenges your claim of hours work and you cannot support the claim with evidence from the time tracker, you will not "win" and won't be paid for those hours. If you do use the time tracker, show the minimum average amount of activity per time segment, and enter a memo describing the work, then if the client doesn't pay you can enforce Upwork's separate Payment Protection agreement. This agreement is not between you and the client, but between you and Upwork so its terms are separate from the obligations created by your contract with the client.   

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
13 of 14



What makes you think an Upwork freelancer cannot take a client to small claims (or any other) court?


I have never noticed any Upwork prohibition against going to court to enforce performance or payment, so it would be interesting to see that what you say is true.


It might not be convenient if freelancer and client are in different countries or the amount in dispute is too small to justify the time, effort and expense of a formal lawsuit, but is it actually prohibited by Upwork's Terms of Service or other rules?


The exception I am aware of would be if the client and freelancer agree to go to arbitration. A key part of the arbitration agreement would likely be that both parties agree they will abide by the decision of the arbitrator and neither party can subsequently use the courts to resolve the dispute.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
14 of 14



There is no mechanism within the Upwork system to keep the client from refusing to actually pay you for manually-entered hours, even if Upwork shows the client will "allow" you to book manual time.


In reality, what is actually being "allowed" is you being allowed to work for free and hoping the client you don't really know well will actually pay. They sometimes don't agree to accept hours booked manually. And if the client refuses to accept your claim of manual hours worked, Upwork can/will do nothing to see that you get paid.


Always use TimeTracker if you'd like to have some assurance you'll get paid for your time spent working on hourly projects. Once you get to know a client well, trust them completely and you both agree that manual work time is the best approach, maybe manual time tracking will be a good idea.


I have done over 250 jobs on Upwork of which probably at least 90% were hourly and have only used manual hours twice. One client paid as agreed, the other refused to pay. I don't think 50/50 is good odds for getting paid. On the other hand, Upwork has stepped up with payment protection the handful of times I have properly booked work time on Time Tracker and there was a problem with the client's payment.


Good luck!