I am a freelancer, who hired a freelancer to do some webpage work, using upwork. I am new to the upwork platform. This freelancer, over Christmas break,charged three 40 hour weeks in which , as far as I can tell, practically nothing was done. Their claim is that they spent it talking to support in my web host. Web host reports about three hours of such support.

I use my own project management tool (Trello) and my own communications (Slack). Worker billed manual time (his request, I allowed it, I hate time tracking tools).

The initial quote for the project was 60 hours, which is about what I would expect. Current bill stands at 200 hours. Site is about 1/3 done, with many errors.

I should have been watching more closely. We had a death in the family over break, and I simply was not. I don't want to be a difficult client. Still, this is a 5000 overrun, without result.

How do I dispute correctly with upwork? I have already reached out and been told the mediation team is looking at it.

Going forward, suggestions about how I manage projects?

  • I understand why you didn't keep track of this. I would say the best thing to do is disable manual hour logging, check every week what they achieved and in how much time. Sometimes it could help to set a smaller weekly limit on hours early on, say 20 and when they hit that review what they achieved. You can then increase the weekly hours limit if you're happy to continue, a good way to see what they can produce and how quickly before letting them rack up the hours
    – Dan Harris
    Commented Feb 3, 2021 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


First off, our condolances for your loss.

In normal situations, as a Freelancer, I give the client clear details up front - It will cost between $XXX and $YYY. If it is projecting to go over $YYY, then I check in with the client, explain what's going on, and give them an option to stop the contract then, billing only for work completed.

In this situation, the way you're describing it, the freelancer is simply charging for time cause they can. If you are still in touch with your webhost, I would ask them for all the notes relating to their interaction(s) with your freelancer. This written communication should help with Upwork's Mediation Team, if they contact you about it.

In the future, I'd recommend my approach above - tell them if they think it's going to go larger than what you or the freelancer predicted, it's a full stop until you are made aware and can make the decision. I believe the freelancer you talked about is taking advantage based on what you're question states.

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