mdomen
Member

How do the Milestones Work?

I am new to Upwork and am unsure as to how the milestones work.

 

I had a fixed price job and it was broken up into 3 milestones. Is it the client that breaks it up into milestones?

 

I simply submitted the milestones daily based on how much work I did. The project did not take long and so the client had no more work needed but I had only submitted 2 milestones for review.

 

Since the contract was ended at that point with only 2 out of 3 milestones submitted for review, does this work against me?

 

I took the job thinking it was going to be for X amount but it turned out to be for less since the project was ended once I has fully finished the project but only submitted 2 milestones for review?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
colettelewis
Member

Yes, the client sets the milestones, but the freelancer has the option of agreeing to them or not. Were they funded into escrow and were you paid for the first two pieces of work that you submitted fthem for review?

 

I imagine if the client has ended the contract, the third milestone would have been voided, unless it had been funded, in which case you would have been asked to refund the amount in the third milestone before the contract was closed.

 

ETA: Only the client can set or change the milestones.

 

A small heads up: You need to put a photo of yourself in your profile as it's against Upwork's rules and regs not to have one

View solution in original post

35 REPLIES 35
prestonhunter
Member

Millie:

I'm not going to tell you how milestones work, because I always avoid using them.

 

When I do fixed-price contract work, I use separate contracts for each phase.

 

If the project requires 4 phases of work, each of which will cost $100, then I tell the client that we'll do the project using 4 contracts.

 

When one is complete and the work has been paid for, I ask the client to create the next contact.

 

The amount of money it costs the client is the same.

 

But I (as the contractor) don't risk doing many, many milestones, and large amounts of work, only to have some kind of problem with the final step that causes the client to give me bad feedback for the whole project, even though up until then he loved everything I did.

 

I'm simply not a believer in milestones. I see no advantage in them for the contractor.

But who chooses the milestones? Is it the customer/client? I was never given an option (that I know of) of changing the milestones.

The client is in control of the milestones ... however, you can and should work out all those details with your client beforehand. The important thing to know is not to start or send any work unless a milestone is funded. 

 

I specifically request the number of milestones I prefer, depending on the project and whether it's a new client or not. With established repeat clients, it's not so much of a concern.

 

Even if you finish a job early, you should still received the agreed-upon amount (assuming it was a fixed price and not hourly job).

 

Was the third milestone funded?

I have a similar question.  Can i continue submiting completed works even when the milestone is not funded. I might complete my work before it expires,  can i submit with the expectation that the milestone will be funded just to prove that I've completed the work? What if the client didn't fund the milestone  till the job expires.  Does this count against me? Thanks

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Yetunde,

 

Please check Valeria's comment above and make sure not to start working on a Milestone until it's funded.

Untitled

It seems the issue is slightly different from mine. The milestone in my case is broken down into units.  Its not a once and for all agreement. The first part has been funded and I've submitted. I understand i do not submit the completed work until the milestone is funded.  What is the implication when the client refuses to fund the project till the job expires. Is there opportunity on the part of the client to extend the expiry date or renew the contract? What is the implication of his inability to fund the project on my profile when the job expires . Thanks 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Yetunde,

 

If you are referring to Milestone dates, those are optional. A contract can't expiry, but if your client is not planning to fund further Milestones, you should communicate and ask them to close the contract if they don't need the work anymore.

 

You can give them some time to respond and close the contract yourself if you don't hear back from them.

Untitled

Thanks,  I'm all clear now

colettelewis
Member

Yes, the client sets the milestones, but the freelancer has the option of agreeing to them or not. Were they funded into escrow and were you paid for the first two pieces of work that you submitted fthem for review?

 

I imagine if the client has ended the contract, the third milestone would have been voided, unless it had been funded, in which case you would have been asked to refund the amount in the third milestone before the contract was closed.

 

ETA: Only the client can set or change the milestones.

 

A small heads up: You need to put a photo of yourself in your profile as it's against Upwork's rules and regs not to have one

Thank you for the explanation. I do not know if the last milestone was funded? How would I know that? I've been reading everything that is out there but some of the information is confusing (hourly rules v. fixed price)

You'll always receive notifications when a client adds and/or funds a milestone. You can go to your "my jobs" tab to view the status of all your contracts, both active and closed.

 

Was this a fixed rate job?

Yes, it was a fixed rate job.

I am not sure if it will show now that the contract has been closed, but for your next job, If you go to the "My Jobs" at the top of your jobs feed page, you should see  the job and underneath the green submit button  "milestone funded".

 

But if you go to reports also at the top of your page, you will see "Work in Progress", "In Review", "Pending", "Available".  Your payment is likely to be in either "In Review" or "Pending"

 

Nichola - under "my jobs", you can always access the link to "view all contracts".


@Virginia F wrote:

Nichola - under "my jobs", you can always access the link to "view all contracts".


Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant that once the job has been paid (or contract closed) that the milestone disappears. Once you have been paid, "My jobs" just shows the amount and "no milestones" under it.

Thank you for the tip about the photo. I just joined a couple of days ago and I don't have a photo of myself. I guess it's alright if I use an old photo then? (Most recent photo of myself  pictured alone is probably 7 years old)

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Millie,

 

Yes, milestones are set by the client when they make you an offer. Later they can add milestones as well.

 

I checked the contract I believe you are referring to and it looks like two milestones were funded and released to you while the third one was never set. It's not going to hurt your profile that the paid amount is smaller than the amount you initially agreed upon. Just make sure you and the client are on the same page and agreed upon new terms.

 

Also, if a milestone is funded, you'll see it on the contract page:

 

Screenshot_9.png

 

 

~ Valeria
Upwork

re: "But who chooses the milestones? Is it the customer/client?"

 

As the contractor, I always choose the milestones, or phases, of a project.

 

A client posts a job.

I apply to the job.

The client contacts me and we discuss project.

I explain to the client how the project will be accomplished, what he individual milestones, or phases, are. I send the milestone text to the client.

The cilent copies what I send and uses it to establish individual contracts or milestones.

 

Less experienced contractors will leave this up to the client.


But you're much better off if you (the contractor) remain in charge of the process. With more technical projects, most clients don't have the expertise to plan out the milestones, and they usually know this.

 

Most clients will be happy to have the contractor plan the milestones, as long as the contractor is helping move the project along and helping the client achieve their goals.

Thank you. That is what I was concerned about. I wasn't sure if it would work against me that the 3rd milestone wasn't completed - although the project was completed.

re: "I wasn't sure if it would work against me that the 3rd milestone wasn't completed - although the project was completed."

 

When a client closes a job, she can identify a project as "completed successfully" or use other options, including saying that the work was not complete.

 

The client's feedback rating and the options that a client chooses to identify why the project is being closed are NOT tied to the number of milestones in the project or the number of milestones that were completed. These are compeltely indepenent factors.

 

If a project was really completed, then a decent, honest client will identify a project as "completed successfully" and will give you good feecback, regardless of the number of milestones.

But Valeria, can you explain that further?

 

There are many times I finish deadline-driven projects ahead of time - I just did one as a matter of fact  but I'm still being paid the full agreed-upon amount. My client funded 2 milestones, 2/3rds up front and 1/3rd to finish and send the file.

 

Shouldn't the OP receive her entire bid, even though she finished early?

 

ETA: Well, I guess that depends on how much of the fixed rate they funded - had it been less than the bid, I would have questioned it.

Virginia,

 

If the freelancer completed all three parts of the project as was agreed initially, of course they should be paid the full amount. However, from her post it sounded like the scope changed so she completed and was paid for 2/3 of the project. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I didn't get the impression that the scope changed, but the OP would have to clarify that. She did state that the job was completed. So ...

And while we are on the subject of milestones, I have a question, that I ought to know the answer to. If I send work via the message room, rather than from the "My jobs" page, will the client definitely see it?

Nichola,

 

The client will receive your message with attachments. However, if you don't click the "Submit Work/Request Payment" button, the 14-day review period will not start. So it's recommended to submit work using that form.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thanks, Valeria.

 

 

Virginia, you are correct.

 

There were not 3 distinct parts of the project since there is no way to split up into 3 pieces the information that she wanted. It was basically information that was needed and I provided that.  I probably should have asked my question when I saw that the job had been divided into 3!

Valeria,

 

No, the scope did not change. The client simply wanted information on whether the law supported her filing a lawsuit and I corresponded with her, did the research, and gave her my findings.  I simply did not understand what the milestones were or what they stood for. I went through my messages and there was nothing explaining how or why 3 milestones were chosen.

If you met the full requirements of the contract without any change in the scope ... and the client is happy, you should be receiving the full amount agreed upon.

 

Valeria ... correct me if I'm wrong.

Millie - it may be that the client worked with other freelancers using milestones and just assumed - a milestone is just what it states ... a meeting of a specific deadline with whatever parameters were put in place and agreed upon.

 

Some jobs are done with one milestone, some that stretch over a period of months can involve multiple milestones.

 

There is lots of information under the help menu that you may want to acquaint yourself with before your next job.

Yes, I have read most of what is in the Help section and that seems applicable. Had I not read those sections, I may have not even known to submit a request for payment for the first milestone!  I was going on the idea that I simply had to request payment when we were done and then I read the Help section. What confused me was that I had asked her if she needed anything else and before I got a response, she had closed the contract and the option to request payment for the 3rd milestone disappeared after that.

So ... the question is - did the client fund the full amount in the two milestones?

 

Edited to add: If the client funded the third milestone, then that payment will be automatically released to you after 14 days (if the client doesn't do it sooner).

 

Hopefully Valeria will step back in and help you out.

Millie, when setting up a fixed price job the client can set as many or as few milestones as they wish. Each milestone *should* represent a specific deliverable - an article, a file, etc. What the milestone represents should be explained in the milestone information. The client can split the budget between as many milestones as they need, add extra funds with an extra milestone, or cancel a milestone.

 

Let's say you agreed to do Task X for $300. If the client split Task X in to three milestones of $100, and you completed the task after 2 milestones and didn't get paid for the third milestone (so you only got paid $200), then the client owes you another $100. If the client set up three milestones, but the first two were funded for $150 each, so you got paid $300 total with one remaining milestone that's not funded, then you don't really need to worry, because you got paid the total that was agreed to.

 

In future, you should make sure you understand what the deliverable is for each milestone in a fixed price project. If you don't understand, you should discuss it with your client to make sure the expectations on both sides are the same.

Well the specific scenario was 3 milestones at 50$ each. I couldn't find anything at the time that explained what she put down as each milestone since this was not something with a  tangible deliverable of any kind. When I look at my reports, it shows she paid 100 and not 150. Since feedback has been left on both sides, are you saying that there is something I should be doing to get paid the additional $50 of the $150 agreed upon fixed price?

Millie,

 

If your delivered work that you agreed to deliver for $150 than you should be paid $150. In order to be paid for the work delivered, the freelancer needs to make sure that the amount they want to be paid is funded in Escrow before they deliver work. If the third milestone wasn't funded, then unfortunately the client can simply close the contract. If it was funded, you would have received a request to approve or dispute the request to refund the money from Escrow to the client.

 

In any case, I'd suggest communicating with the client to clarify what was expected and what was paid. The client can still pay you $50 via bonus.

 

Check out this help article for more information about getting paid for fixed-price contracts.

~ Valeria
Upwork