Should I Pay per Milestone, or Hourly?

goLance takes a look at the two methods available to pay for freelanced talent, and discusses some of the benefits to each.

Should I Pay per Milestone, or Hourly?

As a client, deciding which method to fund your project can start as a small decision that turns into a headache. The choice between project milestones and paying hourly can either be beneficial or result in a loss of efficiency.

goLance takes a look at the two methods available to pay for freelanced talent, and discusses some of the benefits to each.

Paying Per Milestone


When a project is funded via the milestone method, freelancers are paid once certain tasks are completed. In general freelancers are paid either through specific accomplishments or "milestones" which you set. On a fixed contract, it is possible to set payment throughout the contract once milestones are completed, or to pay the full amount at the time of completion.

For example, if you are building a website, the freelancer could be paid for every individual page that is created, such as "Home," "About Us," etc. You could also fund your project in its entirety at the end of the contract, such as paying $500 when the project is complete (the website is online, free of bugs).

Milestones set goals for freelancers, and give them very specific tasks to work towards. They can be very beneficial in some of the careers that freelancers engage in, but can be detrimental to some of the other services that are offered.

Fixed contracts were paid based upon the completions of milestones, or set tasks that had to be completed before payout. Milestones are great, because they don't time the freelancers by the hour, instead, it sets a flat rate for the entire project.

As more and more clients have joined goLance, we decided that there was a need for automatically recurring payments. We just released the option to pay by weekly or monthly "milestones" which could be viewed as paying a salary. This method negates the use of the goMeter for the freelancer, and allows the ultimate freedom for both parties.

The Benefits of Milestones

  • If you are paying a freelancer to write three articles per week, you can automatically pay your freelancer weekly through the recurring payment method.
  • If you have a freelancer that manages a social media page, a website, or provides another flat rate or as needed service, you can setup recurring monthly payments.
  • If you agreed to pay your freelancer a salary for the duration of the total project, you can divide the total into weekly or monthly payments.
  • If your project doesn't require the use of the goMeter, but you are paying on a consistent basis, this option is for you.

Paying Per Hour


There is no mystery to hourly pay. For every hour worked, a freelancer is paid a specified dollar amount. At the end of the working week (Sunday at goLance), the total time recorded on the goMeter is compiled and sent to the client for review.

If the project at hand can't be completed utilizing milestones, such as having a virtual assistant perform various tasks throughout the day, or having a customer service freelancer chat with customers, then paying hourly may be the best suited method.

Hourly freelancers work in much the same as traditional employees, yet continue to enjoy the flexibility of freelancing. If there is a need or interruption, they simply stop the goMeter and tend to their needs.

If your project involves designing a website from scratch, hourly might be a good option if you would like to continually check on it's progress. Every hour, the goMeter records six screenshots at random. In addition to the pictures it provides, there is a also a built in keystroke logger, that measures the productivity rating in every screenshot. The more active the keyboard and mouse are, the higher the productivity rating.

The Benefits of Paying Hourly

  • The goMeter provides transparency, and allows you to view the freelancer's work diary.
  • Productivity is high with hourly contracts, and efficiency is rated.
  • As a client, you're only paying for the time that the freelancer produces work for: billable hours.
  • The goMeter will time out if there is no recorded activity. You are only paying your freelancer when they are actively working.

Final Thoughts

Different projects will ultimately dictate the manner in which you should pay your freelancer. It is always something to consider, but if you have any questions or concerns, you should first consult with your freelancer. It is possible to negotiate a freelancer from an hourly project to a weekly milestone, or a different method. Every freelancer will have their preference about which works best for them.

In the end, the choice of whether to pay by milestone or hourly is up to you as the client. Each method of paying for a project has its benefits, and may allow more productivity either way.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Thank you for working with us.