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toxhicide
Community Member

Manual hours as fixed price contract should be protected

Some of my clients are not tech savvy, and a lot of my jobs are at fixed rates.  So, I compromise by logging the amount of manual hours that would be the price of my fixed cost.  This is to get around having my non tech savvy clients recreate the job and create a big hassle on them.  This works 99% of the time, even though I have to wait a little longer to get paid.

Until today.  Someone's payment didn't go through, and now I'm out of my money.  But, if it were a fixed price contract, I wouldn't be.  Even though the result would be the same.  You can view the chat logs, you can see the end result.  Just like you would in a fixed price contract.  You can even see in the chat that we agreed to do it this way.  But just because I don't have my clients literally recreate the entire thing, I'm out of my money?

Yeah, thats pretty bs.  Absolutely no help from support either.

Thanks again upwork.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Its best to get them to just change the job its not that hard and for your non tech savvy clients maybe just use something like loom.com to make an explainer video to help them. Keep it generic and then you can use it with multiple clients.

After a first contract is initiated you can also propose a contract so in the worst case you could propose the fixed price contract yourself by pressing the three dots in the circle at the top of your current contract for future contracts. 

Another option, if its a fast job or maybe something that you are able to resell so doesn't require much input per client, is to set the hourly rate to the fee, so in your case hourly rate is $200 and just charge for the 1hr work on the timer (you can set the weekly limit to 1 hr so the client has no concerns about paying over this amount) then you can do the work you need to do in that hour and you have payment protection for the time you are working with no hassle for the client. If it takes more than the hour just turn the timer off so the client only pays the cost of one hour. If the client wants extra work you just propose that as the second contract at the fixed rate if thats what you then agree.

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15 REPLIES 15
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Manual hours as fixed price contract should be protected"

 

Upwork can not protect something that does not exist.

Upwork has no concept of "manual hours as fixed-price contract." If that is something you have visualized within your own imagination, that is fine. There is no rule against thinking about something in that way. But it is impossible for Upwork to "protect" such a thing.

 

Alec:

I'm trying to make sense of your post, but I'm confused.

 

The number of hours worked are not a component of fixed-price contracts. Fixed-price contracts are based on a specific deliverable, or completion of a specific task.

 

The two major contract models that you can use are:

- hourly

-fixed-price

 

Hourly contracts can have time segments that are either (a) logged using the desktop time-tracker, or (b) manually logged. Upwork Payment Protections is available for hourly contracts for time logged using the desktop time-tracker, with adequate memos and mouse/keyboard activity, for which screenshots show the freelancer working on the client's project.

 

Your post indicates that you think Upwork Payment Protection applies to fixed-price contracts? It does not.

 

If you log time with the desktop time-tracker and adhere to the rules of Upwork Paymen Protection, then if the client's payment method fails, Upwork will pay you out of its own pocket. If you have a fixed-price contract, and the client's payment method fails, then there is no equivalent payment protection. There is, however, an already-funded escrow payment, which provides some confidence that the client's money is there. But it is not the same thing as Hourly Payment Protection, and it is NOT as safe as time-tracker-logged hourly work.

 

Did you have any remaining questions about how any of this works?

ceefaeca
Community Member

Are you logging hours on the Upwork system or something like some spreadsheet or external tool you and your client might have agreed on?

 

 

Seems Preston didn't read my post at all.

Within our chat logs before work started, I told him:

"this is going to cost about $200 on my end not $175 so i can take the 5 hrs a week but at $40/hr"

he said "ok".

Later after the job is complete, he asks:
"how much you are going to charge me for this job ?"

To which I respond:
"I've charged 200 as we discussed
Logged 5 hours at 40 an hr"

A lot of my clients are not tech savvy.  I tell them I will charge $200 for a job, and instead of having them recreate the whole listing as fixed price which is difficult for them, I log the hours to get to that dollar amount instead, which we have agreed upon.

That is why, Preston, I said this is "manual hours as fixed price contract", because it is effectively the same.

So yes, Aru, this was agreed upon.

Its best to get them to just change the job its not that hard and for your non tech savvy clients maybe just use something like loom.com to make an explainer video to help them. Keep it generic and then you can use it with multiple clients.

After a first contract is initiated you can also propose a contract so in the worst case you could propose the fixed price contract yourself by pressing the three dots in the circle at the top of your current contract for future contracts. 

Another option, if its a fast job or maybe something that you are able to resell so doesn't require much input per client, is to set the hourly rate to the fee, so in your case hourly rate is $200 and just charge for the 1hr work on the timer (you can set the weekly limit to 1 hr so the client has no concerns about paying over this amount) then you can do the work you need to do in that hour and you have payment protection for the time you are working with no hassle for the client. If it takes more than the hour just turn the timer off so the client only pays the cost of one hour. If the client wants extra work you just propose that as the second contract at the fixed rate if thats what you then agree.

petra_r
Community Member


Andrew M wrote: Another option, if its a fast job or maybe something that you are able to resell so doesn't require much input per client, is to set the hourly rate to the fee, so in your case hourly rate is $200 and just charge for the 1hr work on the timer (you can set the weekly limit to 1 hr so the client has no concerns about paying over this amount) then you can do the work you need to do in that hour and you have payment protection for the time you are working with no hassle for the client.

 

That wouldn't work because the protection only pays out the lowest of the following: The freelancer's profile rate, the freelancer's usual rate or the rate Upwork considers normal on the platform. So if the OP usually works at $40, $40 is all he'd get under the protection.

 


Andrew M wrote:

Its best to get them to just change the job its not that hard .


Once a contract is in place, it can no longer be changed from hourly to fixed or vice versa. But yes, it is dead simple to change it while creating the offer. There is an option that says "change to fixed price" on an offer for an hourly contract.

 

The important thing is that the OP simply explains to the client BEFORE they send an offer that the OP want to do it as a fixed rate contract and to please adapt this in the offer by activating the "change to fixed price" option.

 

Why don't you do straightforward hourly instead of this convoluted very confusing thing? You are well protected then. If you need 5 minutes more than the agreed upon time, well, stop the time tracker then. 

roberty1y
Community Member

But it's very easy for a client to fund a contract and hire someone at a fixed rate. Also, if you're going to work at an hourly rate, why don't you use the Upwork time tracker? This will guarantee payment, provided you fill in memos.

Because again, for non tech savvy clients, it is not very easy.  On more than one occasion, and even on a zoom call once, I had to walk them through how to operate the backend of upwork.  Some of these guys are pretty old and not good with computers.  Good that it's easy for you and me.  Have some empathy for the tech illiterate.

Why don't I use the time tracker?  Because I tell them the rate I will charge.  Sometimes it will take 2 hours, sometimes 7, but I charge the same rate.  So I work two hours and it's complete, what am I going to do, let it record my screen for an extra 3 hours of doing nothing?  For what?  How is that more guaranteed than proof of the end product being complete, as with a fixed price contract?  That's ridiculous.

Alec:

You are welcome to charge whatever rates you want, as you negotiate with clients. You are welcome to use the Upwork user interface and the existing contract types any way that you want to, as long as you don't violate Upwork TOS.

 

I don't think that it is "ridiculous" (the word you used) that Upwork offers payment protection for tracked hourly work, but not other types of work. That is the value proposition that the company was built on, going way back to the beginning (oDesk).

 

The time tracker is software which actually counts keystrokes and mouse activity and takes screenshots. Manually logged time and fixed-price work can't compare to that.

 

Upwork Payment Protection means Upwork literally pays freelancers out of their own pocket when they can bill a client. They do so based on the strength of evidence that a tracked hourly contract provides that a freelancer really was working. Upwork is not going to pay money out of its own pocket to somebody who just gets together with a buddy to exchange some messages in chat and then claims that work was done.


Alec R wrote:

Because again, for non tech savvy clients, it is not very easy.  On more than one occasion, and even on a zoom call once, I had to walk them through how to operate the backend of upwork.  Some of these guys are pretty old and not good with computers.  Good that it's easy for you and me.  Have some empathy for the tech illiterate.

Why don't I use the time tracker?  Because I tell them the rate I will charge.  Sometimes it will take 2 hours, sometimes 7, but I charge the same rate.  So I work two hours and it's complete, what am I going to do, let it record my screen for an extra 3 hours of doing nothing?  For what?  How is that more guaranteed than proof of the end product being complete, as with a fixed price contract?  That's ridiculous.


Well do a fixed price then, which is protected. Don't know why you insist on using something that is not protected, when you have different options that work perfectly fine. 

prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Absolutely no help from support either."

 

You should not have contacted Upwork Customer Support about this.

 

If you have a question about how the Upwork tools work, or if you have a question about Upwork policies, you may ask those questions here.

 

If you would like to suggest a change, then this Forum is the appropriate place to do so.

 

Many things about how Upwork currently operates came about as a result of suggestions and discussions here in the Community Forum. Upwork employees actively monitor Forum discussions and report back to management and various teams who make decisions about changes and new features.

 

If the way that Upwork contracts currently work does not meet your needs, you could use this thread to explain what change you would like to see.

This is a suggestion Preston.  The title even reads as one.  I contacted support because all I saw was that the money had been refunded and I was confused, and they told me what happened there.  Nice to know you're a self proclaimed authority on how I'm supposed to be using upwork though.  I have used this thread to explain my situation and suggest a change.  Backseat moderation and policy parroting is not helpful.  Also nice to know that you indirectly accuse me of trying to scam upwork with this.  I've tried to outline how, in my view, it is equivalent as an end result to a fixed price contract on my end.  Manually tracking the hours to which we have already agreed upon a price for the job as a fixed price one seems redundant to me in this specific situation.  Especially when in a fixed price contract, the proof is in the end result and our chat logs.  Seems that didn't get through to you.

As to Martina, it's to make the process easier on my clients.  I suppose now I'll have to walk through the whole process with each of them to recreate a job listing from scratch as a fixed price.  Hopefully they don't become frustrated by the whole idea and decide to do something else or go with another client that won't make it so stressful on them.

Andrew has provided the best suggestions for me in my case here, and has been the most helpful.  Thank you Andrew.

re: "Also nice to know that you indirectly accuse me of trying to scam upwork with this."

 

At no time did I think that you were trying to scam Upwork.

I was explaining some of the rationale for Upwork Payment Protection applying to tracked hourly time but not manual time or fixed-price contracts.

 

In multiple posts you referenced chat logs, and indicated a belief that chat logs could be used as evidence to provide Upwork-based protection. They can't. Time-tracker-logged time can be programmatically recorded, verified and quantified in a way that doesn't apply to chat logs. For the sake of Upwork payment protection, chat logs "don't count" now, and will not "count" for anything in the future. Sorry. This isn't Upwork being mean or capricious. This is borne out of physical and programmatic limitations.


Alec R wrote:

This is a suggestion Preston.  The title even reads as one.  I contacted support because all I saw was that the money had been refunded and I was confused, and they told me what happened there.  Nice to know you're a self proclaimed authority on how I'm supposed to be using upwork though.  I have used this thread to explain my situation and suggest a change.  Backseat moderation and policy parroting is not helpful.  Also nice to know that you indirectly accuse me of trying to scam upwork with this.  I've tried to outline how, in my view, it is equivalent as an end result to a fixed price contract on my end.  Manually tracking the hours to which we have already agreed upon a price for the job as a fixed price one seems redundant to me in this specific situation.  Especially when in a fixed price contract, the proof is in the end result and our chat logs.  Seems that didn't get through to you.

As to Martina, it's to make the process easier on my clients.  I suppose now I'll have to walk through the whole process with each of them to recreate a job listing from scratch as a fixed price.  Hopefully they don't become frustrated by the whole idea and decide to do something else or go with another client that won't make it so stressful on them.

Andrew has provided the best suggestions for me in my case here, and has been the most helpful.  Thank you Andrew.


Manual time is probably the least easy for the client. Because:

- with fixed price they know exactly what they will pay, no worries. 

- with hourly they see exactly what you do when, no worries.

- with manual time they don't have either of those comforts, just your assertion what you will do. 

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi Alec,

 

Thanks for sharing your feedback about how you use Upwork as well your suggestions with us. I'm not aware of any current plans to change the eligibility criteria for Upwork Payment Protection
In order to qualify for Upwork Hourly Protection, hours need to be tracked using Upwork Desktop App and meet the requirements listed here. Payments such as bonuses, manual time, or time logged over the weekly limit don't qualify for Hourly Protection.

If your potential client is having troubles with sending an offer for a specific contract type or switching the contract type for the existing offer before you accept it, feel free to share this help article with them or direct them to click Get Support button on this page so that our team could guide them through the process. 

~ Valeria
Upwork
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