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jackiepeeler
Member

Best way to get reimbursed

I believe the only way to get reimbursed for an image purchased for a client is to have them issue a bonus, but Upwork will take 20% of that. So I'm thinking of asking the client to add 20% to the amount.

 

I'm asking because it's been a long time since this has come up, and maybe now there is a better way. Any thoughts?

13 REPLIES 13
prestonhunter
Member

When this has been discussed in the past, the most popular option was to ask the client to buy the needed resource directly and send us the file or license number.

 

Alternatively, yes, the client can use the Pay Bonus tool, which you already understand means that Upwork takes 20% of what the client pays.

 

On larger projects, I typically eat the cost. I charge enough for the work that I don't itemize individually-expensed items. I just pay for them myself.

I agree with Preston as I always ask the client if it is a job on upworks to purchase the required images/videos etc. in order for me to get the job done. For my clients who I work with locally and all I do it for them and add the charge in or get them to buy it.

wlyonsatl
Member

If Upwork doesn't allow a freelancer to be reimbursed by a client outside Upwork, so the freelancer isn't forced to pay a commission to Upwork for non-income, it should.

 

I suppose you could agree with the client that they will reimburse you via bonus payments grossed up to account for Upwork's substantial fees, but that's a workaround Upwork shouldn't require. There is no good reason Upwork should expect the client to pay this unnecessary fee either.


Will L wrote:

If Upwork doesn't allow a freelancer to be reimbursed by a client outside Upwork, so the freelancer isn't forced to pay a commission to Upwork for non-income, it should.

 

I suppose you could agree with the client that they will reimburse you via bonus payments grossed up to account for Upwork's substantial fees, but that's a workaround Upwork shouldn't require. There is no good reason Upwork should expect the client to pay this unnecessary fee either.


There's a very good reason. The moment Upwork allows any payment to pass outside the platform or be passed without charge, it completely loses control of ever taking a fee on anything.

What evidence can you share with us, Tiffany, that Upwork's current systems ensure Upwork has complete control of what clients and freelancers do that generates fees for Upwork for all work performed by freelancers?

 

Upwork could allow clients to freely use an authorized Upwork channel for payments to reimburse freelancers for the specific cost of non-labor-related costs of projects, for a small fee. 

 

 

 



Will L wrote:

 

Upwork could allow clients to freely use an authorized Upwork channel for payments to reimburse freelancers for the specific cost of non-labor-related costs of projects, for a small fee. 

 


Within days lots of projects would  consist mainly of expense reimbursements and verifying it would turn into an expensive nightmare.

 


Will L wrote:

What evidence can you share with us, Tiffany, that Upwork's current systems ensure Upwork has complete control of what clients and freelancers do that generates fees for Upwork for all work performed by freelancers?

 

None whatsoever. And, why would I want to, since I never suggested that they do and don't believe that they do.

 

Similarly, retail stores do not have complete control of their merchandise ensuring that they lose absolutely nothing to shoplifters or internal theft. But, surely no one would suggest that since they lose a few percent to shrinkage each year, they should get rid of their security and cameras and stop locking the doors.

 

Upwork could allow clients to freely use an authorized Upwork channel for payments to reimburse freelancers for the specific cost of non-labor-related costs of projects, for a small fee. 

 

And would you like them to just take people's word for the fact that it's a reimbursement (opening the door to a lot of $10 projects with $100 reimbursements), or are you suggesting that they hire a large staff to review each of those transactions?

 

 

 


 

lysis10
Member

Remember adding 20% to $100 is not the same as subtracting 20% from a larger amount to get $100.

 

Add 25%, but personally I'd upcharge 30% for my time but also get the client to just go buy the image himself.

Will makes a valid point, but I don't think anything is going to change in this regard.

 

I think one needs to think of Upwork as a "tool for finding remote freelancers and paying them for work"

 

...and not a tool for "complete project management, including reimbursing expenses."

 

Essentially the whole "reimburse expenses" tool within Upwork is a tool "by that name only", which is really a work-around or patch added onto the core functionality.

 

It is intended to "allow" this task, without opening a complex can of worms associated with the possibility that clients will pay freelancers using the reimbursement tool instead of the fee-incurring standard methods.

Pass-through costs, ugh. It can be a nuisance in the b&m world, too. When I used to travel a lot for work, I always budgeted travel expenses as directly reimbursable and invoiced separately (due upon receipt) from the project fees (usually net 30). That worked fine for clients who paid promptly. Except when they lumped it all together on my 1099. That is a bear to unravel. I've managed to stop traveling for work, so this kind of thing comes up less often.

 

If something is needed for the project, the client can either furnish it or I will furnish it and charge the client cost-plus.

Surely the main issue in buying an image for client use has nothing to do with money? 

 

Licensing conditions usually apply to the purchaser. OK, there may be clever ways of paying under one name and assigning rights to another, but even if this is the case it would be so easy to get it wrong. 

msublette
Member

I do a lot of smaller proejcts (<$500) where I need to have clients reimburse me for participants for studies.  Clients can't pay for them directly because I run them through my own participant account.   It's a pain, but I have enough repeat customers that the fees are usually 10%.  So I charge them enough to cover the fees. When I write up a quote, I call it participant/Upwork fees and they know that I am only passing on the charges to them and not making anything from reimbursement. Then I charge my personal fee on top of that. I always let clients know ahead of time that if I pay for something, then I will need to charge the additional fee for it.  No one seems to care much.  Most of my clients just pay it so they don't have to go through the hassle of purchasing it themselves. I don't think there is another/better way if you need to be reimbursed.  On some of these projects, participants fees are more than half of the total fee, so I can't just eat the cost of participants.

 

A lot of good thoughts/suggestions, appreciate it. I asked because I needed to explain this to my client and wanted to make sure I had current information on Upwork policies. On this project I provided most of the images from my Adobe Stock supply, have more than I need usually. But in one instance he wanted a particiular image I couldn't source free, and I wasn't willing to go out of pocket. He decided to buy it.

 

Glad I asked cause I see it's best to state a policy on this before contract, and I'm reminded to charge for handling as well. 

 

The main reason I see to get the images is that way I can assure quality visuals that work with my design. That's a biggie with editorial design work. When clients get into purchasing they often start wanting to choose as well. Yes it does make me the license holder, bur I can't see that being a problem with Adobe stock. I'm not going to complain, why would Adobe care? 

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