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How Do Hourly Contracts Work Exactly?

Active Member
Brandi G Member Since: Aug 18, 2012
1 of 42
The only work I have done so far has been for fixed price jobs. I am just wondering how exactly do the hourly contracts work? Are the clients able to see your screen and exactly what you are working on somehow to track the work? Sorry if this question has been answered already. I tried searching for it but didn't come up with what I was looking for exactly. If someone could tell me a step by step of how hourly contracts work, that would be very much appreciated. So you apply to a job, get the contract, and then..?
Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
2 of 42
In order to work hourly jobs you need to download the time tracker. Once you've installed the time tracker and are ready to work simply turn it on, make sure it is logging time to the correct company and hit the start button. The time tracker will keep track of the number of keyboard and mouse clicks you make as well as take a screenshot every ten minutes or so. The time that you clock will be automatically billed to the client. Hope this helps.
Active Member
Leamae R Member Since: Sep 11, 2015
3 of 42

Hi, I just have a follow up question.. Do hourly jobs has the "review and accept this offer" message the same as fixed price job? I haven't done hourly job before so i really don't have any idea about the process. I do know about the time tracker, i guess my question is how do you accept hourly jobs?

Community Manager
Vladimir G Community Manager Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
4 of 42

Hi Leamae,


You can check the differences between Fixed price and Hourly jobs in this Help article. You can find more infomation about working and getting paid on Hourly jobs here and here.

Active Member
Gezim G Member Since: Oct 22, 2016
5 of 42

Except the snapshots the app doesn't record other informations!


Check the description of app:


User Activity

The app logs your activity level by counting the number of mouse clicks, scroll actions, and keystrokes you make. It also records to your Work Diary the name of the application you’re using and its active window at the time of the snapshot.

The app is not a surveillance system. The app does not record the following:

  • What you click
  • What you type
  • Non-visible information like ***ed-out passwords
  • Files you access
  • Lists of applications you use
  • Video footage through your webcam
  • Information about the inactive applications you may have open
Active Member
Julius W Member Since: Jul 28, 2018
6 of 42

Hey what will happen to me who have been working on an hourly paid contract and had no idea of the tracker and have already finished two of the contract already ? Does it mean I wonn't get paid?

Active Member
Marshall G Member Since: Oct 31, 2016
7 of 42

Hi Julius, 


You can enter your  hours as manual time and explain to your client  the mistake that happened. They should be understanding.  Especially if you delivered the work, they wouldn't expect to  duck payment due to a  technicality. 


Best   Regards, 


Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
8 of 42

Hi Julius,


Your clients can issue a bonus payment at any moment or you can add your time as manual hours if the client has allowed this on your contract. We suggest communicating about this with your clients. Keep in mind that both cases are not protected under our Hourly Protection for Freelancers.

On an hourly contract, you log hours and the client is automatically billed for them. The Upwork Desktop App is used for hourly contracts to track time, please this article to learn how to log time using this app. Also, please learn more about weekly billing cycle.

Let us know if you need further assistance. 

Thank you!

~ Bojan
Active Member
Hana I Member Since: May 25, 2013
9 of 42
It's just as David says. Also, when you try to find hourly jobs, make sure that the client has a verified payment method - this way the Odesk Payment Guarantee will apply. That means that, no matter what happens, you *will* get your money as long as you're tracking your time effectively and are active during your tracking, even if they have to pay it from their own pockets! If the client's payment is not guaranteed, good luck with seeing your money. By using the time tracker both you and your client are able to closely monitor your work and review if you've been active enough. The screenshots of your screen are done every 10 minutes or so. Be careful of that timing - you wouldn't want to be working for 10 minutes straight only to open Facebook for just one second.. and snap! The screenshot on you work Diary will show Facebook instead of what you actually should be doing. So, if you really need to check your mail of Facebook, wait for the program to snap your screen with work related stuff and *then* take a peek. This is important because a client can dispute those 10 minutes and refuse to pay you the money. How is he supposed to know that you weren't clicking and typing away on Facebook for the entire 10 minutes? If that happens, you can always check the screenshot in your work diary and delete it, along with the activity for that period.
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 42

Hana has offered some good practice information here, but my advice is to not try to outguess the time-tracker software. If you need to check Facebook that often, you need to detox yourself or something.


Don't risk it, because the time-tracker software (oDesk Team) attempts to snap screenshots when you switch to new screens and applications. And also because your client isn't paying you to check Facebook.


If you DO check your personal email or Facebook or whatnot, and then you check your work diaries and see that... you'll really want to delete that snapshot, which might mean you're deleting ten minutes of work just because you couldn't resist the urge to check your social media account.


My advice: Do some work, log off of the time tracker, take a break to take care of personal business, and then log back onto the time tracker and resume work.


Of course, if you're doing fixed rate projects, there is no time-logging and there are no screenshots or work diaries, so some people like that way of working, as a more relaxed way to work without having to worry about being "on the clock." (Just make sure you meet your submission deadlines.)