Is there a type of payment method that gives 100% control?
I just cancelled all of the pre-approved payment agreements because Upwork pays out as soon as a freelancer has submitted their hours, whether I have checked and verified the work or not. In this case the freelancer submitted out of hours, so no time to check or verify.
I want to feel confident that payment will not be made until I have reviewed and approved work.
re: "Is there a type of payment method that gives 100% control?"
There are basically 4 types of ways you can pay freelancers.
- Weekly "Salary"
You have already used hourly. And you felt that you did not have 100% control over that payment process.
Weekly salary payments mean you set up a payment amount that is paid to the freelancer no matter what. Automatically. Regardless of any work done. There is no real control there, either, aside from closing a contract.
With fixed-price, you specify a task, and money is put into escrow, and then the freelancer submits the work. You ONLY release payment when you receive the freelancer's work and you approve it.
Fixed-price may be closest to what you are looking for. The money is in an escrow account. It is not 100% under your control. You can not get the money back unless the freelancer agrees to refund the money back to you. For example, if you hire a freelancer to draw a picture of a cat, and instead, she writes a poem, then you do not have the option of unilaterally deciding to get your money refunded to. You would need to submit a refund request, which she would need to approve. Or you could "request changes" and ask that she re-do the work. A freelancer may click the "Submit Work / Request Payment" button an unlimited number of times, regardless of whether or not she actually does any work. But clients may "request changes" an unlimited number of times. This gives clients a great deal of control, but not 100% control.
The only way to have 100% control is to pay through bonus payments. You can hire a freelancer using an hourly contract, and then set the maximum number of hours that he can log to zero hours per week. That way there is no way for him to actually log time that gets automatically paid. But he can still log time and generate work diaries for you to review. You could then pay when you feel like paying him, in whatever amount you fell like paying, using the Bonus tool.
The payment isn't made to the freelancer immediately. Upwork holds it while you have a week to review and dispute any hours. If you do not dispute any hours that they have logged, then the money is released to the freelancer. But they do not get it as soon as the week is up. You have 7 days to review, then payments do not clear for them until 5 days after that. You have many safe guards to use. But Upwork wouldn't be attractive to freelancers if there wasn't some protection for them as well.
Otherwise, why would you even come here? Just put out a local ad and get someone you can contract directly with.