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How to get expenses paid for on Upwork? (And a tip to keep your rating...)


Hey everyone!


How do I charge my client for expenses? On my current project I need to get a license for some 3rd party software, but I can't find any documentation (other than some vague mention in some policy) on how to actually get expenses paid.


I made the mistake of offering my client to just pay me for the license (which is a fraction of the total project cost) through paypal (as this seemed like the easiest way to solve the issue), but my account was suspended soon after for suggesting such a thing.


Thing is, nowhere on upwork is there any clear info on how to deal with expenses. And as a result I now have to wait 90 days to get my top rated status... (I'm trying not to be bitter)


So the question is: What is the proper way to deal with expenses?


And the tip is: Don't suggest payments outside of upwork even for relatively small amounts of money, and even if you know / trust the client. 

Community Guru

Co, both methods are permitted, but in the case of a bonus payment, there's still a security period during which the amount of bonus is pending but not available, so if the client needs to have the project completed as soon as possible, then the client should purchase the license then provide it you. Conversely, with bonus payment, the amount would have to be increased to offset the 10% Upwork fee, so the client would also save money by buying the license directly instead of paying you to buy it with a bonus.

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

View solution in original post


re: "It is not helpful for UpWork to take a service fee for reimbursement of expenses. I'm not talking about paying freelancers for their work. That, of course, is critical and a necessary part of freelancing. But I should be able to repay a freelancer for a software license that they purchased upon my request. I shouldn't have to pay more for my freelancer to break even."



But this is not going to change.

Because of dishonest people who would cheat the system.


Dont blame Upwork for this one. There is nothing that they can do to change this until you eliminate the dishonest people.


So for now, take the hit on the fees, or do what everyone else is doing, which is to buy the software license yourself and send the serial number or activation code to the freelancer.


Sorry. That is the best we can do.

As Preston noted, "Sorry. That is the best we can do." It is, and is reflective of not just dishonesty on the part of freelancers or clients, but the one-size-fits-all solution that inevitably arises out of automating everything.


I have a job coming up with a current client. Airfare is negligible, less than $300. I've already spent more than $100 on linkedin and other ads looking for specialized assistance I will pay on my own. Beyond that, total travel expenses will be about $4,500 (gone for a month), and I'll pay contractors $1,500 out of my pocket. I've suggested the client rent the hotel room on my behalf, as that is more than $2,000. It costs him the same amount of money to pay it directly as to reminburse me, and saves me $200+.


Some non-commodity jobs simply require travel.