A request to circumvent can be a very bad signal.
I would say about one in ten clients proposes to take the job off of Upwork. I can read people pretty well. Sometimes they are asking because of their prior experiences with other freelancers, who have requested this. I always request to be paid on-platform.
A recent client, who invited me to an hourly job, but turned out to be problematic very soon in the relationship, suggested very strongly that it would be in my interest to earn more by taking the payments off-platform. I told him I preferred to stay on platform, and he could not understand why. I reasoned that I have built a career here, and to do my own marketing would cost me a good bit more than the 10% or 11% average commission I pay to Upwork. I did not mention the payment guarantee for hourly work, but this was certainly top of my mind, when pressured so strongly to circumvent.
In hindsight, I should have taken this signal as a strong warning and declined the offer entirely. Soon into the contract he began to fire off emails ranting about paying me for my time in a meeting with him. He was frustrated about his computer, and seemed to feel that life was unfair if he had to pay me while he was having these issues. He did not seem to know about the work diary or the time tracker. When his unprofessional behavior continued, I could see no possibility for a positive outcome, and I ended the contract with a full refund.
I lost seven or eight hours on this client. The next time someone proposes to take payment offline, I will decline to work for them and report their behavior to the support team.
Honestly, what other marketing vehicle costs just 10%? I could not hope to drive full time work to my consulting practice so cost-effectively, not to mention the additional hassle of chasing clients for payment.
Clients who want to pull you off-Upwork are suspect, and the freelancers who encourage this behavior are short-sighted.
Thanks for sharing your feedback and experience. If you haven't already, please take screenshots of the client's request to take payments off Upwork and report them along with the contract ID to Customer Support, so we can review and take action. Thank you.
Thanks for clarifying. If you don't mind, I'd still would like to ask you to flag the job, include the information you have so our team could take a look and review the client's account. Thank you.
I always received suspicious messages from clients who were the same, Thanks to fellow support team who always responded to my submitted inappropriate flags and It's highly against the Upwork ToS.
Upwork provides enough of protection whether you work on Fixed-Price or Hourly contracts and unfortunately, most of the inexperienced newcomers fall into this harmful practice and complain later.
Those clients with unsuccessful tries who offered me offline payments were either reported to Upwork Support Team or blocked them as a result of spamming the same offer constantly. Beforehand, I often told them that the payment is only accepted via Upwork and there's no meaning of falling into harmful practice when Upwork provides services that shall be followed plus appreciated by both parties (clients and freelancers). I would like to recommend my friendly freelancers that starting is always the hardest but, Hard work always pays off so never fall into such violent practice which will make you regret later when it's too late.
Upwork has always been a great platform to help people become successful freelancers and their own boss. I'm one of them and I can't appreciate enough of what I have been gifted.
- Muhammad Hadi
I am in the middle of a sticky situation right now. My advice would be to never give the client your address or any personal information at all. Thank God I only gave him a PO box. This is an interesting time with more work going online, and we will have to be extra careful to ensure transactions are legit.
Very helpful the information. However, the one and only time I had a problem with this situation, it wasn't with a client. It was with with Upwork itself.
Some months ago my account was paused and someone from Upwork's staff told me it was because I was doing this kind of thing, and that I must accept my mistake and promise I would never do it again.
The problem? I never asked a client to pay me outside the platform. And I didn't had intention of receiving payment outside because I don't trust easily in people who I don't know. In fact, by that time I only had ONE job, and it was inside the platform.
The worst part? The person who talked with my didn't even show me the proof about what I did. They just decided I was guilty without letting me to defend myself.
That was my experience with this, at least.