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Direct Contracts new beta offering.

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
41 of 96

Upwork shares have been pounded in the past two years.   The firm is averaging cents on the share in earnings.  The CEO was fired, the VP of Marketing (in essence, by title) was elevated to the CEO's position. 

 

The probable reality here is, the new head of Upwork sent the message:  increase our revenue stream, increase our profitability.  This program was thus born: the administration of direct contracts takes precious little new infrastructure in the Upwork overall IT ecosystem, is a bridge product that encourages clients to experience Upwork to some degree and solves the problem of the reverse.  Exceptionally long term clients who decide for whatever reasons, they want to go "direct" as a cost-saving measure --  Upwork rules and policies, not-withstanding.

 

We are seeing a corporation reach out from strategy to deployment, to solve the one problem the new CEO has been asked to solve.  Continue to grow, but this time. Make money doing it.  It is interesting to work inside a business ecosystem and see the blocks fit together in ways like this.

Perspective, not fact, however.

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Active Member
Denise T Member Since: Jan 11, 2016
42 of 96

Wayne, I agree 100% (especially re the "thinly veiled" comment). I can't imagine any benefit, at least to me, of adding my longtime existing clients to the Upwork system...why would I pay for the privilege of, um, giving you my clients? This may be a benefit for freelancers outside of the U.S. (though this could be a completely false guess), or for people with clients they don't yet trust. But otherwise I don't get it.

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
43 of 96

Denise T wrote:

Wayne, I agree 100% (especially re the "thinly veiled" comment). I can't imagine any benefit, at least to me, of adding my longtime existing clients to the Upwork system...why would I pay for the privilege of, um, giving you my clients? This may be a benefit for freelancers outside of the U.S. (though this could be a completely false guess), or for people with clients they don't yet trust. But otherwise I don't get it.


I'll give you an example. I hate chasing people for money, so I want payment upfront. But people find me online and rightfully are skeptical about sending a total stranger money. I tell them "Hey, fine, how about escrow where the funds are held and then only released after the work is done?" I give them a link to my Upwork account but now they have to go through the hassle of creating an Upwork account, which introduces hurdles for someone I'm trying to just get to commit. But now, they can just escrow without all the minutia and don't have to release until I deliver. For me, I don't have to deal with an auto-lose if they dispute on PayPal, which gives them 180 days to dispute and we all know that providers lose usually on PayPal. Upwork matches the fees, so it's no different there.

 

So there you have it. A use case for this.

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Ace Contributor
Wayne G Member Since: Mar 14, 2018
44 of 96

Jennifer M wrote:

I'll give you an example. I hate chasing people for money, so I want payment upfront. But people find me online and rightfully are skeptical about sending a total stranger money. I tell them "Hey, fine, how about escrow where the funds are held and then only released after the work is done?" I give them a link to my Upwork account but now they have to go through the hassle of creating an Upwork account, which introduces hurdles for someone I'm trying to just get to commit. But now, they can just escrow without all the minutia and don't have to release until I deliver. For me, I don't have to deal with an auto-lose if they dispute on PayPal, which gives them 180 days to dispute and we all know that providers lose usually on PayPal. Upwork matches the fees, so it's no different there.

So there you have it. A use case for this.

That makes total sense. I guess there are people out there for whom this would be a benefit. I just don't happen to be one of them.

I think the problem I have with this is how it's being presented. (see attached screen shot of the appeal message I received.) It didn't provide me a "problem / solution" situation. None of the value bullet points were anything that i needed. In fact they would just complicate MY existing relationships. The whole thing just read like they simply wanted a piece of my non-Upwork clients.

**Edited for community guidelines**

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
45 of 96

Wayne G wrote:

Jennifer M wrote:

I'll give you an example. I hate chasing people for money, so I want payment upfront. But people find me online and rightfully are skeptical about sending a total stranger money. I tell them "Hey, fine, how about escrow where the funds are held and then only released after the work is done?" I give them a link to my Upwork account but now they have to go through the hassle of creating an Upwork account, which introduces hurdles for someone I'm trying to just get to commit. But now, they can just escrow without all the minutia and don't have to release until I deliver. For me, I don't have to deal with an auto-lose if they dispute on PayPal, which gives them 180 days to dispute and we all know that providers lose usually on PayPal. Upwork matches the fees, so it's no different there.

So there you have it. A use case for this.

That makes total sense. I guess there are people out there for whom this would be a benefit. I just don't happen to be one of them.

I think the problem I have with this is how it's being presented. (see attached screen shot of the appeal message I received.) It didn't provide me a "problem / solution" situation. None of the value bullet points were anything that i needed. In fact they would just complicate MY existing relationships. The whole thing just read like they simply wanted a piece of my non-Upwork clients.



Yeah, if you already have a working relationship with someone, then it makes sense to continue the way you're working. I don't like to take payment on PayPal just because of the 180 day dispute period and there are a lot of stories about people yanking back their money on PayPal. Fraud and chargebacks are deal breakers altogether on both Upwork and PayPal, so I suppose it's risky somewhat. 

 

Another issue I've personally come across is that PayPal isn't offered in some countries, and I don't have a payment processor besides PayPal and Upwork, so that's all I offer. I agree that the payment protection is misleading, but I like that they only have a month to dispute (at least I think they do?) versus PayPal's 180 days.

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Ace Contributor
Emma M Member Since: Jun 29, 2019
46 of 96
Oh look, another way for upwork to make money. Why in lords name would I want to give you 3.4% of my income that I make from non-upwork clients? Money that clients pay directly within my payment time frames? Money I dont need to transfer from USD. Where is the value in that?
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Moderator
Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
47 of 96

Thanks for your question, Emma.

 

Freelancers have told us they’d like to have one secure place to invoice clients and receive payments. Direct Contracts makes it easy to get paid by your clients who don’t have a full account on Upwork and just need access to review your invoices and make payments on fixed-price contracts. With Direct Contracts you also get the protection of escrow and if a dispute arises we will be happy to help.


-Avery
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Ace Contributor
Wayne G Member Since: Mar 14, 2018
48 of 96

Avery O wrote:

Freelancers have told us they’d like to have one secure place to invoice clients and receive payments. 


With the wealth of popular, free / affordable management tools and card processing options out there, I'd be VERY curious which "freelancers" told you that.

If the 3.4% covers both card proceesing and use of the system, the price is fairly compeitive with a self managed (say zoho+square) system. My problem is this isn't really one of the areas where Upwork currently shines. It would be one thing if Upwork were known for it's flexibility and ease of use in contracts and invoicing. But in my experience (and that of many of my Upwork clients) that's one of the most clumsy and non-intuitive parts of Upwork. If you guys could tidy up your UX and make user profiles a bit more robust, (thus somthing like a combination of freshbooks and behance) you MIGHT be on the right track to creating something truly valuable.

But as it's being presented currently, the whole thing just feels like a desperate reach deeper into our pockets.

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Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
49 of 96

Wayne, you are wrong when you suggest that most freelancers don't have clients outside Upwork and that this feature is somewhat needless.

Flat out wrong.

I'd rather you c'mon and stop being a detractor.

I think this Direct Contracts is a much needed feature; an entire subset of freelancers have been waiting on something like this with bated breath.

Upwork will not show you studies they conducted internally. They owe no freelancer such.

 

And what are the contract management tools you speak of, also offering escrow, and available in over 180 countries (not just USA and Europe).

The other day some poster talked about a range of Escrow services she uses outside Upwork and asked to be PMed if one would like suggestions.

 

I PMed her several months ago asking her to kindly share with me, esp. Escrow services available in a very wide range of countries. [I know of Escrow.com. It's heavily restricted and not available in all countries].

 

She still hasn't responded. She was surely probably bluffing.

 

I hope you have substance to your claims that there is a "wealth of popular, free / affordable management tools". I very much hope so, but I suspect you don't.

 

And I don't know what you are talking about Square + Zoho and all that.

Square payments is only available in 5 countries.

 

Please mention contract management tools that

- require zero development resources

- have truly international availablity

- and offer Escrow

 

which render Upwork Direct Contracts irrelevant, if you indeed know any.

 

 

 

I also think 3.4% is a very reasonable fee to pay for this.

Though without prejudice to that, I'd like to know if that includes, or excludes the card processing fees, Upwork.

 

 

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Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
50 of 96

Abinadab A wrote:

 

I also think 3.4% is a very reasonable fee to pay for this.

Though without prejudice to that, I'd like to know if that includes, or excludes the card processing fees, Upwork.

 

 


Hi Abinadab, 3.4% includes all fees for Direct Contracts. The cost to clients is zero and they only pay the cost of the project.

~ Valeria
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