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Can client release partial payment

Community Guru
Wassim T Member Since: May 29, 2015
11 of 38

Helps a lot. Thank you.

 

Best regards,

Wassim

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
12 of 38

re: "It's a contract. Payment is agreed upon by both parties when the contract is made. It's not at the client's discretion at all; they agree to pay that amount when the work is completed, and as long as the freelancer completes the work they are obliged to pay it."

 

Yes, fixed-price contracts constitute a contract.

 

Or, more accurately, they constitute two contracts.

 

There is a contract provided by Upwork which the contractor must agree to in order to accept the fixed-price contract with the client.


The contract provided by Upwork states that payment of the money agreed upon is entirely at the discretion of the client.

 

Also key here: The Upwork user interface allows the client to choose any amount to pay, including zero, for work submitted by a contractor.

 

Regardless of any philosophical misgivings you may or may not have about this aspect of the contract, it is in writing, it is what you agree to, and it is how the interface works.

 

Now, what's this about two contracts?

Well, there is another ad hoc contract entered into between you and the client. It may be something you agree to over a phone call, or via email, or it may be something that that is put into place formally when a milestone is set up.

 

This contract is between the contractor and the client, and it is really where your protection comes from, although it is not a software-enforced protection. This contract basically is what a contractor agrees to do and what a client agrees to pay in return. But this "contract" is not enforced by Upwork or software. It is enforced by mutually cooperative behavior between the client and the contractor.

Community Leader
Scott E Member Since: Feb 24, 2015
13 of 38

So if I take on a $10K project, spend a month or two working on it... then at the end of it, the client says "You know what, now I come to think of it... I've changed my mind. Sorry about that. See you around." and then you get paid nothing?

 

 

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
14 of 38

@Scott E wrote:

So if I take on a $10K project, spend a month or two working on it... then at the end of it, the client says "You know what, now I come to think of it... I've changed my mind. Sorry about that. See you around." and then you get paid nothing?

 

 


For starters, unless you're an extremely trusting sort, on a project of considerable length and budget it would behoove the freelancer to insist on a number of milestone payments. Then, as soon as a milestone is submitted, if the client balks at releasing the amount specified for the milestone, in the worst case you only wasted however long it took to get to the milestone.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
15 of 38

>> So if I take on a $10K project, spend a month or two working on it...

>> then at the end of it, the client says 

>> "You know what, now I come to think of it... I've changed my mind.

>> Sorry about that. See you around."

>> and then you get paid nothing?

 

Yes. That is exactly how the client-side interface works.

 

It is important that we, as contractors, understand this.

 

That is why it is an extreme tactical error for a contractor to do what you describe.

 

As I contractor, I do not let clients dictate the terms of a fixed-price contract.

I set the terms of what will be done, and I break the project up into smaller milestones or contracts.

 

I never work more than an hour or two, and never do more than about $150 of work, for any new fixed-price client before I submit a first milestone. I am testing the client to see if he will pay promptly and without any problems.

 

If the client pays promptly and doesn't ask me to do extra work beyond what was agreed upon, he passes the test and I will do larger fixed-price contracts.


But even with clients I trust entirely I won't do more than about $500 to $700 before submitting work and getting paid.

 

Any Upwork contractor who would rack up thousands of dollars in back-pay that a client owes him is being extremely wreckless and does not understand how the platform works.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
16 of 38

"...then you get paid nothing?"

 

You would be paid nothing in terms of money, but you would retain everything you learned from the experience AND you would retain complete ownership of all work product that you generated.

Community Leader
Scott E Member Since: Feb 24, 2015
17 of 38

Hmm, interesting. Although I'd never work for two months without a milestone payment, the general consensus on Elance was that if the money is in escrow then there's not really anything to worry about.

 

I think a change of mindset might be in order. Whereas on a two month project I'd probably split it into three or four milestones, I might be better going for one a week, or more,  on Upwork.

 

Thanks! 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
18 of 38

So, let's say escrow is funded for $100. Client decides to release $50 of that to me. How does he get the $50 money back? Does he have to dispute? I can't imagine he can just say "OK here's $50 and I'm refunding the rest to me" without a dispute or some kind of provider permission.

Community Leader
Scott E Member Since: Feb 24, 2015
19 of 38

I've looked into it, and it's exactly the same as Elance, apart from their ability to release more or less than the funded amount, which confuses things slightly.

 

However, if the client wants any money back, then the freelancer has to agree to it or they can raise a dispute, just like on Elance. 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
20 of 38

@Scott E wrote:

I've looked into it, and it's exactly the same as Elance, apart from their ability to release more or less than the funded amount, which confuses things slightly.

 

However, if the client wants any money back, then the freelancer has to agree to it or they can raise a dispute, just like on Elance. 


Thanks for clarifying and looking into it. That sounds much better than what I was thinking lol

 

Alright, that doesn't sound bad. 

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