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Logistics of making purchases/paying participants/etc.

msublette
Community Leader
Michelle S Member Since: Jun 23, 2017
1 of 8

Hello -

I have a logistics questions regarding "purchases" that may need to be made in order to complete a contract.  For example, I do a lot of survey design/deployment work.  For my B&M freelancing projects, I often sign clients up for their Survey Monkey or Qualtrics subscription, arrange and pay participants, etc.  Then I just add it to the invoice.  I don't make any money on it (except my hourly wage) and the fees are just handed off to the client. 

 

I could have the client do it, but it seems like a lot of effort for the client to do this when I can do it in a few minutes.  Besides, I can't even imagine trying to walk a client through setting up and purchasing participants for a study through MTurk. 

 

Do any of you ever have to buy things or make purschases for your clients? 

Do you just set that thing up as a milestone?  What if you are hourly?  Is there anyway to do hourly and milestones in the same project? 

Or do you just do it by project and wrap into the total bid?

Is there an Upwork rule against it? 

 

Just trying to figure this all out.

 

Thanks!

Michelle

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
2 of 8

Either the client has to make the purchases, etc. directly or you have to be reimbursed via Upwork. If you are reimbursed via Upwork, the same fees attach as if you were being paid. So a $10 expense becomes $11 or $12, depending on your Upwork commission level. 

 

I wonder if the client could fund a small business account over which you would have control, and you could then disperse payments from it. Of course, Upwork may interpret that as an attempt to receive payment off the platform and suspend or ban you and the client.  Risky waters to swim in. 

msublette
Community Leader
Michelle S Member Since: Jun 23, 2017
3 of 8

Thanks for the insight.  I would have never thought of some of those things.  I definitely don't want to get my clients into trouble. 

 

- Michelle

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
4 of 8

Michelle,

 

If the client wants you to make those purchases they can reimburse you for the expenses by clicking Give Bonus> Reason: Expense Reimbursement.

 

Screenshot_25.png

~ Valeria
Upwork
researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
5 of 8

Michelle,

 

What you want to avoid is billing for expenses as if they were labor, or a defined deliverable.

 

Clients do have the option of making miscellaneous payments. This has to be arranged by a conversation; there's no invoicing mechanism. I forget whether these are now characterized as "extra payments," or still mischaracterized as "bonuses." With any luck, a moderator will be along to clarify. 

 

Best,

Michael

msublette
Community Leader
Michelle S Member Since: Jun 23, 2017
6 of 8

Thanks!  I'm interested in hearing what they or others have to say.

 

If I were to have clients make an amazon mturk account, fund a certain number of participants through amazon and then give me the log in credentials, would that be ok? I don't believe I can withdraw any money from the account once it's funded (maybe it can be refunded back to their credit card, but not to me). And if they don't leave their credit card on file, I won't even have access to that.  Whatever way makes the most is sense is what I want to do, but I don't want clients to have to pay an extra 20% for a subscription to SurveyMonkey. 

 

-Michelle

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 8

You can bill for expenses.

 

You can eat the expenses (absorb them yourself).

 

You can have clients pay for expenses directly.

 

Generally it is best to have clients pay expenses directly. NOT pay you for expenses. But they pay vendor. It costs $50 to license this photo? Have the client license it directly.

 

If that isn't feasible, if is best to absorb costs. For example, I provide clients with free web hosting. I can afford to absorb the costs because my hourly rate is high enough that I can absorb the cost.

msublette
Community Leader
Michelle S Member Since: Jun 23, 2017
8 of 8

"If that isn't feasible, if is best to absorb costs. For example, I provide clients with free web hosting. I can afford to absorb the costs because my hourly rate is high enough that I can absorb the cost."

 

This is a really good point.  I have not done this in the past because my freelancing has been so sporadic, not everyone I work with wants surveys (I provide a lot of other methods for research), I had free access to a survey platform for the academic studies I was running for university clients, and because people have different survey platforms they want to use.  I always just recommended that they purchase (or have me purchase) a license for the platform and then they could use it multiple times or whatever.  In reality though, I am the one setting everything up, running participants, analyzing the data, etc.  The client never even logs into the survey platform because he or she trusts me to handle it all.  It would save me a whole lot of hassle just to have one account I pay for and one platform that I have to know inside and out. 

 

As for paying for participants, that varies so much study to study.  Some participants are $.50 and some are $200.  Sometimes I run 10 people and sometimes I run 500 people.  So that is an incurred cost I have no choice but to pass on to the client.  Valeria's solution will work for those clients and I am going to look into a yearly subscription for the survey platform of MY choosing.

 

Thanks!

Michelle

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