lisawerk
Member

Client-initiated submission

What is my responsibility when a client initiates a payment and funds a milestone for a fixed price contract? The work has already been approved, milestone met, etc.

 

I had 2 milestones fund days apart this month - the 1st was initiated by the client and when I hit the 'request payment' button it duplicated the submission and the client denied it, because he had already initiated the submission (which was paid a few days later, as expected). What I got from that interaction is that when a client initiates a fulfilled milestone and funds payment - I don't need to do anything until I'm ready to deposit into my bank.

 

A second milestone by a different client was also initiated by the client so I did nothing for 5 days. Customer support told me I needed to submit payment and that the client has 14 days to review the work, then the 5 day security period. First, I can't find anything about a 14 day period - and it doesn't make sense to me considering the client initiated payment after approving my work already - why would he fund the milestone if my work wasn't approved?

 

Any clarification would be helpful - this is only my 2nd payment cycle so I am still working out the kinks. Thanks!

15 REPLIES 15
petra_r
Member

I am a little confused what you are describing so let's go through how a fixed rate contract works:

 

You client makes you an offer and funds the first milestone into Escrow

You check that the first milestone is set up and funded, then you start working

When you have done the work pertaining that milestone you submit it and request payment for that milestone.

The client then either requests changes, or approves the milestone work and releases the funded payment from Escrow to you, where it becomes available after 5 days for withdrawal.

 

So milestones have to be funded (into Escrow) BEFORE you do the work, then released from Escrow after the work has been approved.

 

Does that make sense?


@Petra R wrote:

I am a little confused what you are describing so let's go through how a fixed rate contract works:

 

You client makes you an offer and funds the first milestone into Escrow

You check that the first milestone is set up and funded, then you start working

When you have done the work pertaining that milestone you submit it and request payment for that milestone.

The client then either requests changes, or approves the milestone work and releases the funded payment from Escrow to you, where it becomes available after 5 days for withdrawal.

 

So milestones have to be funded (into Escrow) BEFORE you do the work, then released from Escrow after the work has been approved.

 

Does that make sense?


 

Hi Petra,

 

Here is the process that I followed for one of my clients this month:

Client made an offer and funded the milestone, with the agreement that payment would be made each month on the 5th.

On the 5th, my work was approved and the client submitted for payment.

It went into pending, and then was available for payment. This all occurred without me submitting anything. It was client-initiated based on a pre-arranged schedule and I received payment. The only thing I had to 'click' was to deposit the available funds into my account. I actually thought I was required to click something on my end, but when I did, it duplicated the submission and I got a message from the client telling me I didn't have to do anything. He denied my submission and the payment still came through.

 

For a second client, also one who had prefunded the milestone and agreed to pay on the 11th, I completed the work and he reviewed it. This Monday, he initiated a payment. I thought, as with my other client, that nothing else was required on my end. Yet I am being told that the client has 14 days to review the work after my submission - when the only reason I clicked the submission button is because the client already reviewed the work and submitted it for payment.

 

Not sure if that all makes sense - to be honest, the info I'm getting from customer service is confusing. My main question is this: the client reviewed my work and agreed to pay me for it. Why then is there a 14 day wait period for review? It seems strange that the client could approve the work for a milestone, and then I would have to wait 20 days to have the funds in my bank. (14 day reviews, 5 day wait, 1 to deposit). Is that typical? 

 

Thanks!

 

 


@Lisa W wrote:
Why then is there a 14 day wait period for review? It seems strange that the client could approve the work for a milestone, and then I would have to wait 20 days to have the funds in my bank. (14 day reviews, 5 day wait, 1 to deposit). Is that typical? 

 Lisa, here's how the 14 day review period works. If the client does not approve the milestone on their own and you request milestone approval first, then the client can take UP TO 14 days to review it. So the 14 days is optional, not mandatory. If it's a fixed priced contract and the client never approves the milestone, it's automatically approved 14 days after the freelancer requests approval. MOST clients will approve it within a day or 2 of the freelancer's request, but I suppose there are some who take the full 14 days.

 

It so happens I once had a client who insisted on a one week review for every project (at that time the review period was 7 days, not 14, if I'm not mistaken), even projects that took less than an hour to do, but I now decline all invitations he sends me and I suspect he takes the full 14 days to 'review' every project now.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

IF your client has approved the milestone the funds would ALREADY be under pending. If they are not under "Pending" the client has NOT approved the milestone and released the funds from Escrow.


@Petra R wrote:

IF your client has approved the milestone the funds would ALREADY be under pending. If they are not under "Pending" the client has NOT approved the milestone and released the funds from Escrow.


 

Hi Petra,

 

I received the message when he approved it on the 14th. That was our agreement ahead of time, and from what I can see, he followed through. I think I'm just not understanding the extra step - the client initiated the payment based on a pre-arranged agreement after he approved my work for the month, so I'm confused about the potential extra 14 day waiting period. Especially considering the other contract that paid without me doing anything.

 

Thank you for your help.

Lisa


@Lisa W wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

IF your client has approved the milestone the funds would ALREADY be under pending. If they are not under "Pending" the client has NOT approved the milestone and released the funds from Escrow.


 

Hi Petra,

 

I received the message when he approved it on the 14th. That was our agreement ahead of time, and from what I can see, he followed through.


 What message did you receive and who from?

 

Where are those funds NOW? Under the In Process" tab or the "Pending" tab?

Petra,

 

It is in the 'Review' tab. I received the email from the client when he initiated payment, showing the amount to be paid for the milestone and a message from him saying "Thanks for the hard work!" The only thing I can assume, based on the explanations in this thread, is that the client failed to do something on his end, so it didn't submit all the way.

 

I think the confusion was in the difference in activity between the two clients - one processed without my input after a client-generated submission, one needed my input after a client-generated submission. As you mentioned though, the fact that it is still in review means the client failed to officially approve it, even though technically the work has already been approved. I don't know what clients see on their end, but it seems strange that he could generate an official amount for work completed without actually approving the payment to be made.

 

Thanks again,

Lisa


@Lisa W wrote:

Petra,

 

It is in the 'Review' tab. I received the email from the client when he initiated payment, showing the amount to be paid for the milestone

Thanks again,

Lisa


 the client FUNDED the milestone, that is the email you received. It was putting money into Escrow, which is normally when you START working.  (When the client has funded the milestone and you know the payment for the work you are about to do is safely in Escrow.) The client, it seems, never actually released the funds from Escrow, and never approved the milestone.


@John K wrote:


 Lisa, here's how the 14 day review period works. If the client does not approve the milestone on their own and you request milestone approval first, then the client can take UP TO 14 days to review it. So the 14 days is optional, not mandatory. If it's a fixed priced contract and the client never approves the milestone, it's automatically approved 14 days after the freelancer requests approval. MOST clients will approve it within a day or 2 of the freelancer's request, but I suppose there are some who take the full 14 days.


 
John, so if the client did approve the milestone on his own, without my request, and initiated payment for a certain amount (part of an already pre-funded amount in escrow), shouldn't that negate the 14 day waiting period? My confusion is in the differece between my two fixed-price contracts. On one, the client approved the milestone without my submission, and payment was processed in 5 days. On another, the client approved the milestone without my submission, and payment has not yet processed after 6 days and I am being told it is under a 14 day review.
Thanks,
Lisa

Lisa, once a milestone is approved, you should see the dollar amount of the milestone minus 10% in the Pending section of your Reports page. If you see it in the Review section then it hasn't been approved. If the client says he approved it or you got notification it was approved but it's displayed under In Review then you should contact support because that shouldn't happen.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Thanks John, I thought something was fishy, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't expecting something that couldn't happen. Again, the two fixed-price contracts behaved so differently during the payment process, I thought for sure I was making a mistake somewhere. I have already contacted customer support but I keep getting rote messages and links to explanations that don't actually answer the question.

 

I appreciate all the feedback here!

Lisa

If you are being told that it is under a 14-day review then for some reason UW doesn't see that the client has approved the amount.  If in fact the client has approved (i.e. actually hit the approved button not just saying the word "approve" in a message) then the payment should just pend the security process.  It should be a simple matter for UW CS to look at the contract and see if the client actually approved the milestone.  If so there is no 14-day waiting period only the security hold applies.

I think what is confusing you is that the client approved the submission without you doing anything. That has happened to me too. In fact, it seems to happen moreso than not, so when I complete a miletstone, I wait to see if the client will release payment. If he doesn't and moves on to something else, then I go in and request it.

Lisa,

 

In Upwork's model, a milestone defines a deliverable and its price. When you deliver that deliverable, you use Upwork's completion button to invoice for services delivered. Setting aside revisions and/or disputes, the client either:

  • approves and you collect soonish
  • takes no action and you collect soonish + two weeks (because Upwork releases escrow then, absent the client's say-so).

If your funds are:

  • pending, the client has approved and released, and Upwork has given you a disbursement date
  • funded, the client has neither approved nor released

Beyond this, setting up predefined payment dates—and relying on promises—complicates. Customer Support will have at least as much trouble as we have had understanding your contracts and your question. It's going to be easier to conform to the Upwork system than to be puzzled when it fails to conform to yours.

 

Best,

Michael


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

Lise,

 

In Upwork's model, a milestone defines a deliverable and its price. When you deliver that deliverable, you use Upwork's completion button to invoice for services delivered. Setting aside revisions and/or disputes, the client either:

  • approves and you collect soonish
  • takes no action and you collect soonish + two weeks (because Upwork releases escrow then, absent the client's say-so).

If your funds are:

  • pending, the client has approved and released, and Upwork has given you a disbursement date
  • funded, the client has neither approved nor released

Beyond this, setting up predefined payment dates—and relying on promises—complicates. Customer Support will have at least as much trouble as we have had understanding your contracts and your question. It's going to be easier to conform to the Upwork system than to be puzzled when it fails to conform to yours.

 

Best,

Michael


Hi Michael,

 

I have no problem with the Upwork system itself, I was just having difficulty finding the answer as to 'what' was happening. As I mentioned, this is only my 2nd payment cycle (first for a whole month of work) and the two fixed price contracts I had behaved very differently, so I couldn't figure out if I had missed something or the client had. In both cases, the clients and I (informally) agreed on a monthly payment to be processed on a certain date. One client initiated the payment on the right date and the payment went through without any action from me. The other client initated 'something' after I requested payment, and since it listed the correct amount to be paid (less than the total in escrow), I mistakenly assumed that the 'something' was the same as from the other client and that it required no action from me.

 

I just needed clarification on how to determine what was done and how I could avoid confusion in the future. The nice people here in the comments answered the questions that 3 tickets to customer support could not. You guys are awesome.

 

Lisa