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Do I have to use the time tracker in order to bill my hours on a project?

bbmonkie3
Active Member
leslie m Member Since: Jul 18, 2020
1 of 14

I'm not a fan of the time tracker app. I'm more accustomed to logging my own hours for each project on my own and then entering them at the end of each work day, since I don't always sit for long periods of time with one project, but often bounce around to several things at once. It looks like I'm able to do a manual time entry, but they're saying that time won't be eligible for payment protection, and that clients may even dispute it. Do I have to use this time tracker thing in order to get paid with protection?

pandoraharper
Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
2 of 14

leslie m wrote:

I'm not a fan of the time tracker app. I'm more accustomed to logging my own hours for each project on my own and then entering them at the end of each work day, since I don't always sit for long periods of time with one project, but often bounce around to several things at once. It looks like I'm able to do a manual time entry, but they're saying that time won't be eligible for payment protection, and that clients may even dispute it. Do I have to use this time tracker thing in order to get paid with protection?


If it's an hourly project, yes you do have to run the Upwork Time Tracker. It is indeed the only way to get have your payments protected. Be very careful with manual time. Even if clients are 100% fine with using that payment feature, things can go wrong that are outside everyones control that can fubar the manual time payments.

 

It sucks, but if you want to get paid, use it. And don't forget about Memo's. Those need to be entered as well. I use the same one all the time, but it's 3 lines of text that pretty outlines what I do for my customer all day long, every day.

 

 

bbmonkie3
Active Member
leslie m Member Since: Jul 18, 2020
3 of 14
Thanks for the quick response! So there's no way to enter time after
you've completed it then? I just have to stop and start this stopwatch time
tracker thing all day for each project?
feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
4 of 14
You can enter the time manually (if the client allows it) but you won't be eligible for payment protection. If a client decides to dispute your hours, you won't get paid.
prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 14

Leslie, there are LOTS of successful Upwork freelancers who don't use the time-tracker.

 

As long as you understand the advantages and disadvantages, there is nothing wrong with deciding for yourself whether or not to use it.

 

Personally, I nearly always use it.

 

The Payment Protection is a good thing. But as long as you only work with trustworthy clients, Payment Protection and the time-tracker are unnecessary. Pandora observes that "things can go wrong that are outside everyones control." Okay... maybe a client genuinely can have an issue with their credit card. But if a client is 100% trustworthy, she will do whatever it takes to make sure you get paid through Upwork.

 

Are all Upwork clients trustworthy? No. But most are.

bbmonkie3
Active Member
leslie m Member Since: Jul 18, 2020
6 of 14
Thank you guys! I appreciate the help!
petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 14

leslie m wrote:
I just have to stop and start this stopwatch time
tracker thing all day for each project?

Don't do that, it will create an incredibly messy work diary and likely unpaid segments, as well as segments with seemingly very low activity levels.

 

The tracker is spectacularly unsuitable for people who flit between tasks and stop-start.

 

It works best if you start at the beginning of a given 10 minute segment (10.10 or 10.11 for example) and then track one contract continuously for an hour or so.

 

If you stop during a segment before a screenshot was taken, the segment does not count. If a screenshot is taken at 10.21 and you stop at 20.22, the client is charged for 10 minutes, but there will be only an activity level of 1. You can't stop and start repeatedly in the same time segment.

 

richard_wein
Community Guru
Richard W Member Since: Jun 22, 2017
8 of 14

Pandora H wrote:

 

It sucks, but if you want to get paid, use it. And don't forget about Memo's. Those need to be entered as well. I use the same one all the time, but it's 3 lines of text that pretty outlines what I do for my customer all day long, every day.

Just wondering... Have you ever had it confirmed that entering the same memo all the time will be considered adequate if your time is ever disputed? I wonder whether there's a fixed rule about what sort of memos are needed for protection,  or if it's left up to the discretion of the Upwork person handling the dispute. 


 

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
9 of 14

Richard W wrote:

Pandora H wrote:

 

It sucks, but if you want to get paid, use it. And don't forget about Memo's. Those need to be entered as well. I use the same one all the time, but it's 3 lines of text that pretty outlines what I do for my customer all day long, every day.

Just wondering... Have you ever had it confirmed that entering the same memo all the time will be considered adequate if your time is ever disputed? I wonder whether there's a fixed rule about what sort of memos are needed for protection,  or if it's left up to the discretion of the Upwork person handling the dispute. 


 


I've always wondered about this, too. I usually just put something like "Working on brochure layout" and let that ride unless I'm switching to a different task ("Doing a photo search" or "proofreading text"). I've never been involved in a dispute and honestly don't know if my memos would be detailed enough to pass inspection. Are you supposed to write something specific every time there's a screen capture? (I probably should have asked this question a long time ago!)

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
10 of 14

Christine A wrote:

Richard W wrote:

Pandora H wrote:

 

It sucks, but if you want to get paid, use it. And don't forget about Memo's. Those need to be entered as well. I use the same one all the time, but it's 3 lines of text that pretty outlines what I do for my customer all day long, every day.

Just wondering... Have you ever had it confirmed that entering the same memo all the time will be considered adequate if your time is ever disputed? I wonder whether there's a fixed rule about what sort of memos are needed for protection,  or if it's left up to the discretion of the Upwork person handling the dispute. 


 


I've always wondered about this, too. I usually just put something like "Working on brochure layout" and let that ride unless I'm switching to a different task ("Doing a photo search" or "proofreading text"). I've never been involved in a dispute and honestly don't know if my memos would be detailed enough to pass inspection. Are you supposed to write something specific every time there's a screen capture? (I probably should have asked this question a long time ago!)


The Payment Protection terms have so many outs, I think Upwork can probably get by with a lot of denials if it chooses to do so. For example, the TOS allows Upwork to base the rate you are paid for protected hours on your averages. So as I understand it, if you agreed to work with a client for $100 per hour and your historic rate is $50 per hour, Upwork can refuse to pay the higher rate for the covered (protected) hours. 

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