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jobsonthego
Member

Upfront fee's help

Hi Fellow Clients Is anyone else having major issues with contractors and freelancers and agency staff on odesk asking for upfront payments before they have even discussed the job and done any work ? We are and its very grating on us now thats not how we do business you do the work you get paid thats how business has worked for years and years Discuss
24 REPLIES 24
coffman-robin
Member

[quote=Shaun F.]asking for upfront payments before they have even discussed the job and done any work ?[/quote] That's what an upfront is. It is part of the initial discussion, and it is paid before any work begins. [quote=Shaun F.]you do the work you get paid thats how business has worked for years and years[/quote] Not in the world of freelancing and contracting. Upfront payments have been the norm for "years and years." Well, actually, always. Hope that helps. ๐Ÿ™‚

I agree with that. Times are completely different now. We have people looking to take advantage of other knowing they are not going to deliver and sometimes they are not the person doing the work. Also in the past you also knew the freelancer that you were dealing with they able to see you face to face. Here that is not the case. Yes, sometimes we can see people , however then that's not the person who is actually going to do the work.
marciamalory
Member

It's common practice to provide an upfront payment for a flat rate freelance project. This way client and freelancer split the risk. If you want to purchase a valuable item, you leave a deposit, don't you?

[quote=Marcia Malory]It's common practice to provide an upfront payment for a flat rate freelance project. [/quote] I think part of the OP's comment was regarding freelancers asking for upfront fees before the interview and before they have an idea of what the contract entails. You can't expect upfront fees when you don't have enough information yet to even come up with a fair budget offer and at that early stage, the client may not have made a hiring decision yet. As for asking for upfront payments after the interview and before work is delivered, perhaps your viewpoint would change if you knew how many oDesk contractors have work stolen from them. It is simply not financially viable to work fixed rate contracts without an upfront because half of our clients would take the work and run. If you want to pay only once work has been delivered, I suggest working with hourly contracts instead. Either way, risk needs to be mitigated for both parties, and upfront payments ensure that the risk is evenly spread between client and freelancer. When one party has a lopsided degree of power in the relationship the results will not be optimal. An insecure contractor who is unsure about whether they will be paid for the work they're doing is unlikely to deliver the results you want. Upfront payments are respectful of a freelancer's time and commitment.

[quote=Kirsten H.][quote=Marcia Malory]It's common practice to provide an upfront payment for a flat rate freelance project. [/quote] I think part of the OP's comment was regarding freelancers asking for upfront fees before the interview and before they have an idea of what the contract entails. You can't expect upfront fees when you don't have enough information yet to even come up with a fair budget offer and at that early stage, the client may not have made a hiring decision yet.[/quote] By that logic, the contractor shouldn't be able to come up with a price at all. Besides, the upfront free is expressed as a percentage, so it shouldn't matter. 50% of a $10 job is much less than 50% of a $100 job. It's up to the client to explain the job as clearly as possible in the description or at least during the interview. You can change the payment terms of an hourly job at the interview stage. I don't do much fixed price work; can you renegotiate the upfront payment? I've had clients disappear on me when, at the interview stage, I've asked them to clarify exactly what they want me to do. It would be nice if oDesk gave contractors the option to ask a client a question before applying for a job.

I'm also on another freelancing site, and I've been reading their boards. Apparently they had that option to message clients before applying to jobs and it was abused with freelancers asking to be hired instead of the one the client has already hired, etc. that the site took the option away because fhe clients were basically harassed. I just ask all of my questions in the proposal.

It's too bad how people abuse the system and ruin it for everyone else. I avoid applying to jobs where the description is vague because I don't have time to write a long cover letter only to find out that I didn't want the job in the first place. Would have wasted the client's time, too.

[quote=Marcia Malory] By that logic, the contractor shouldn't be able to come up with a price at all.[/quote] Huh? Once I've heard what the job entails at the interview stage, I am able to put in an offer and propose the upfront payment I want as well as the full cost of the work. What's illogical about that? If I don't know what the job entails, how can I tell the client what it will cost? [quote=Marcia Malory]Besides, the upfront free is expressed as a percentage, so it shouldn't matter. 50% of a $10 job is much less than 50% of a $100 job.[/quote] Of course it matters. If I charge a 50% upfront and I don't know what I'm charging in full for the job, how do I calculate what 50% of an unknown amount is? Telling a client that I charge 50% upfront is meaningless to them, since they have no clue whether I am charging $1 or $100. Personally, I don't put my demands forward before the interview and I don't charge the same upfront percentage for every job--I weigh the risks and choose an upfront to suit.

When we apply here on oDesk, the option to include an upfront is part of the process. So, it is really not unreasonable at all that a freelancer who expects an upfront would use the option to make that known. Personally, I think clients generally appreciate knowing ahead of time whether the freelancer expects an upfront, instead of having that come up after the interviewing process has begun. It is not unreasonable, if the freelancer customarily expects 50% upfront, for them to state so in the very beginning of the conversation. That way, neither the freelancer or the client needs to be bothered by clients who are unwilling to pay the upfront. Honestly, I would think that it would be more difficult to discuss an upfront after the interviewing process has begun. I would think the client has every right to expect that to be included in the original application or not be part of the discussion. 50% of the value of the job is still 50% of the value of the job, regardless of the final cost. 50% upfront is still 50%, no real need to figure out any math. That is how the oDesk tool works, too. It is percentage based, so if the job ends up requiring more work than initially expected, as the bid increases, so does the upfront amount.

There is not an upfront fee being asked before the job is discussed. I want to discuss ALL aspects of the job at hand I bid on if a clinet comes to me interested in hiring me first. I had a clinet want to pay me to talk to me about project and hire me to talk to me about their project. This situation was very very bad because I gave the client back there 25.00 dollars they wanted to pay me to talk about their job and i did not want to work under the terms they provided, this situation lower my freelancer score for the year and the clinet and I decided that the work I do, does not fit their book series anyways. The clinet did this all when I first came onto Upwork platform from Elance, and when the guidelines on Upwork were still unclear.

 

On Upwork if a client wants to hire you and pay you to talk about their job: DO NOT DO IT!! Talk free of charge, write free of charge, and come to terms for the job ahead of time before you accept the job, for this is the new way on Upwork.

 

I am writing this because this whole thread of information DOES NOT apply to the new Upwork platform.

 

Thank you,

Amy

You have to produce a quote for the job when you apply. If you can estimate how much to charge for the job based on the job description, you can estimate an upfront fee. I would not feel comfortable telling a client at an interview that I wanted an upfront fee after I waived it in my application. In that case, I think the client would have the right be angry. If the upfront fee is calculated as a percentage, it doesn't matter what the price of the job is because a low-paying job will have a low upfront fee; a high-paying job will have a high upfront fee. Besides, the client knows the full price of the job because you will have quoted it.
brown71635
Member

I have had this problem. I recently hired someone and there was a 30% upfront fee. They never logged their time in the system. When the feelancer delivered the work it was not that we spoke about and I provided samples. I tried to speak to them about it but no luck. Cancelled the job and shows that they still get to keep the 30%, which in return I got nothing. Going forward I will not work with anyone who requires and upfront fee.

Lorra many contractors on odesk are asking for upfront fee's and I see the new game is ask for $4 / $4.44 and they may give the project to me keep the money and I wont do the work and odesk will do nothing as well I see in 2-4 years if that long odesk wont be around at all as the clients will be gone We are also finding even if your willing to pay $500 for a simple job finding a good enough contractor is very hard on odesk We have built a small up from odesk on our skype now but they can only do simple things and they are good but take there time over everything a job you need doing in a week we now say that be 3 weeks then but we still need to go to odesk to find other contractors for other work we need doing A escrow system for fixed term and hourly pay would give the contractor hope they can see the money there if they do a good job and us the clients have peace of mind as well but clients need to check work and thats something many contractors on here get abusive about if they do that then we stop working with them and they often have things to hide and the work wont be good at all Thanks to all for replying good to get a insight from other clients

Asking for $4? LOL! You must be getting all the low ball contractors applying or your jobs must not be appealing. Serious talented contractors ask for a lot more upfront than $4! No wonder why you are having problems you are obviously hiring inexperienced contractors. $4 to me is like one quick email worth of work. When I apply if the budget is $250 or less I ask for 100% upfront and many times I get it. On larger jobs I always ask for 50% upfront and all work on the contract is paid upfront. You need to get real!

To be clear, I am both a client and a contractor. As a contractor, I have had too many clients who have paid an upfront fee, and those who have not-take a completed project without full payment. The upfront fee for real professionals is a safeguard that our time is not wasted. As for contractors taking a long time to get things done, that happens, but not with everyone. There are also clients, who will take a month or more to do an interview, sending several messages over skype, odesk, email ect, but never actually start anything, this is an equal waste of time (Yes, the actual poster of this thread has done this). As a client, it may seem strange, but I prefer to give a small upfront percentage, so that I can leave feedback in the event that a contractor does not follow through. I have a pretty good vetting process, so this doesnโ€™t happen often, and those I hire, at any rate high or low (depending on job of course), are always happy at the level of trust shown from the outset, this makes for a much more suitable working environment. It is best for a client to be clear in their job posting, offer fair rates, and hire people who are actually professional, not simply good enough with a computer to figure out how to do a sub-par job. Your hiring process and choice of contractor should of course fall within your budget, but donโ€™t let your budget dictate the LEVEL of contractor you hire.

Does anyone get punctuation for that $4?

I honestly thought I misunderstood what I was reading; that nobody could be complaining about having to pay $4.44 up front.

I always ask for an upfront of 50 percent for a fixed-price job. In fact, it is a standard part of my proposal which means I am always asking for it when I submit my proposal (which is what you hate). Since it's a percentage, what does it matter if we haven't discussed the details of the job. Whatever price we agree to, I want 50 percent upfront before I even start. If you don't like paying upfront payments then post hourly jobs.

Someone made the point above that freelancers can make a habit of taking upfront fees and running. Well they could, but as they've been paid, the feedback against them would be down to the floor with comments like "he/she took the money and ran" - so then they wouldn't get many more jobs and the scam would fizzle out. Another point is, it's not just for the money that a freelancer should get an upfront. Even at 1%, (as long as it's over $1) it gives the freelancer the power to leave feedback if the client fouls up/doesn't pay etc..

This be last time we use these forums as Delusional clients on here So go into a shop and find out what happens when you buy a pint of milk and say ill pay later its the same principle in freelancing but odesk does not seem to get that We pay lower rates as we do not need huge web site builds we have developers to do it in the UK we use odesk for data entry and research and some small development work and we always pay $80+ for small jobs it does not stop contractors asking for upfront fee's If your silly enough to give a upfront fee to someone over odesk wait till a contractor or freelancer scams you on here good and proper then don't moan on here about it as thats what your advice is coming across like This is how to tackle these soughts of issues going on - on odesk 1. implement escrow for milestone payments and upfront fee's 2. the contractor can login to see the money being placed in a escrow part of odesk 3. they will start the work 4. give a update - pay the upfront fee 5. if work does not start again or freelancer does not respond retract the upfront fee from the escrow or client dashboard and cancel the job 6. you never let a contractor take money out of there account why ongoing projects are still on going just in case of a dispute We have hired very good contractors and bad and the bad one's start the work get paid then don't do the rest of the job and the good one's you do not need to worry about feedback - means nothing on odesk as someone that knows odesk well they buy and swap feedback from each other and only hire people that have 1 or 2 sentences or a decent feedback star rating and comment - 5 stars and no comment is very fishy it really is not hard to implement these things to a platform and stop all the support tickets they must get etc over these types of issues odesk gets a grip or does not exist as I know loads of SME and PLC UK clients that have walked away from odesk due to these problems and now use other platforms etc and are more than happy with it as there money is safe

You actually can buy a pint of milk and say you'll pay it later. It is called credit, and you get it by having a good reputation.
technolover
Member

Im a contractor but i am shy to ask upfront fee's,Lol
marciamalory
Member

Eh? The client paid you for a consultation, which you performed. Why did you return the money? You were paid for the job you did. You don't have to do additional work for the client if you don't want to.

 

This is in reply to Amy J. Koch's post. The posts are all out of order for me.

     The client said he wanted to hire me for the whole job having an interview with me is free, and I will write to you why.

 

The whole job was for 1200 dollars, and during the interview he said he would make milestones for the job after we hung up. The 25 dollars he added for a conversation was something I do not take, and he was supposed to erase, and use the 25 dollars toward the first milestone payment.

 

It is very important the milestones are clear when doing a months worth of work for 1200 dollars for a client. It has to be in writing so that there are no problems and a schedule made that both parties have to agree on before starting the work. Otherwise a client can just add more work and tell me I said I would do it.

 

For example: When we as graphic designers do a book page layout and design , which was 1 milestone of this job, we have to ask and rely on the author to give us the trim size because making a layout is a weeks worth of work or more,  and to redo the whole layout in a new trim size would be to start the job all over again. If the author does not do his research the way we kindly requested then later when the authors selling price of the book  can be very high for buyers, because of the trim size and the way they think the book lshould be ayed out. The author will come back and expect us to layout the book a 2nd time for free when that is 40 plus hours of work or more to layout a book, depending on the page count.

 

One time I had an author who hired a translator to translate their book and or edit their book and the book was translated incorrectly and edited incorrectly. So after laying out the book the author was upset when I had to charge them more money to relayout their book.

 

The situations are endless and this author wrote a bad star rating in private only after I did zero work for him, had a kindly interview, and treated him like gold, because we ever so kindly could not agree on the terms. I always agree with everyone on their terms and visa versa. If I were to take the 25 dollars he could have written a public review based on the milestone for our conversation. Having a bad review when you do not work for someone and they are frustrated for some reason, for 25 dollars is not professional, and a poor choice for any freelancer.

 

Thank you,

Amy.