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ko1967
Community Member

Upwork Hourly Protection and Client Payments

I got notice today that Upwork was not going to pay me because my client's payment for the given week did not go through.  I'm really ticked off at Upwork not representing it's freelancers, but instead using the "Hourly Protection" guidelines as a way to screw freelancers because we don't enter memos.

 

The client's dont' look at the memos and really don't want us taking billable time to write memos in the work diary.  Let's not even get into the idea that the memo system sucks because there and is no way to enter long notes to explain what the freelancer spent 4 hours doing.  Instead you want us to stop our work and enter a memo every 10 minutes.  What a waste of time and way to stop progress and fluidity on a job.  For God's sake, you monitor our keystrokes and take screen shots.  Why don't you rely on that instead of the silly memos.

 

Further, when our contracts get put on hold most of the time our client's don't even know it.  They usually find out from me when I notify them and then they dont' know why and because you don't provide Freelancers enough information to guide our client's on what they need to do we're left holding the bag.

 

After much time spent trying to help my client find out why the contract was on hold (which I can't bill because the contract is on hold) my client identified that his credit card had expired.  He updated it, I started working again, and then I get a note that I'm not getting paid for work 2 weeks prior.  Maybe go back and process the payment another time when the client updates their credit card instead of not paying the freelancer.

 

If you're trying to drive freelancers to break the rules and work directly with clients then keep up the good work in not paying the freelancers when there is a problem.  I have about $800 coming to me in payment for that week.  There is going to be a serious problem if that is not in my bank account when it is due to be there.

14 REPLIES 14
prestonhunter
Community Member

Kevin, it is not a big deal to use Upwork Payment Protection practices. Meaningful memos. Adequate keyboard/mouse activity. Screenshots showing you are actually working on the client's project. Payment-verified client.

 

Do that and you'll be fine.

 

Upwork really will pay you out of their own pocket. Like they paid me three weeks ago when a client's card couldn't be charged.

You seem to... shall we say... feel differently than I do on the topic of memos.

 

Memos are part of the Payment Protection.

 

But they are also a sign of respect to clients. If memos had absolute nothing to do with payment protection, I would still write memos.

 

You do NOT need to write memos every ten minutes. (Contrary to what you said in your post.)

 

I write memos more often than many... but the concept here is generally identifying what you're doing. You can write a memo that describes what you are doing and not change the memo if the task takes quite a while. Some people may only write one memo for an entire work session. Maybe one memo that covers six hours of work. I like more detailed more frequent memos. But you don't need to describe every little detail of your work.

 

re: "...my client identified that his credit card had expired. He updated it, I started working again, and then I get a note that I'm not getting paid for work 2 weeks prior... I have about $800 coming to me in payment for that week. There is going to be a serious problem if that is not in my bank account when it is due to be there."

 

Your problem was with the client and his credit card expiring. Now tht your client is sorting out his payment method, your client can pay you using the cilent-side Pay Bonus tool. The missing $800 that will pose a serious problem for you if you don't receive it is not going to show up in your account by virtue of your having posted here in the Forum.

Don't get me wrong on me keeping my clients informed on what I do for them. My clients know exactly what I am doing.  I email them detailed notes and when I release new versions I include detailed release notes as well.  But since there is a 140 character limit on the memo field if that is all I tell them they'd fire me.

 

Regarding the memo I would venture to say that a 140 character limit isn't enough space to write a memo with enough detial to explain or document what is being worked on.  If they provided 1,000 characters then I could paste in my notes.  In 140 characters I can basically say "working client version 2 per email from client".  That's not detailed enough to prove anyone did anything.

 

If Upwork wants to require memos then allow enough characters so we can truly document what we did. Otherwise, remove the memo requirement from the payment protection.  Like I said before, they have our keystrokes and screenshots.

You have adequately explained how you inform your clients about what you are doing.


But in this situation, it is not your client who you are asking to pay you.

 

If you are asking to be paid by Upwork through the Payment Protection plan, then you are asking Upwork to pay you out of their own pocket. Upwork does so based on looking at your work diary, including your memos.

 

So if it helps, don't think of the memos as being what you use to inform clients about what you are doing. Think of memos as what you do to get Upwork's employees to approve your payment if you ever need Payment Protection.

 

Upworks employees who approve Payment Protection are given VERY simply rules, and one of those rules is: Check for adequate memos. If they approve payment protection for work segments without memos, they risk getting fired. So they're not going to approve. It's as simple as that.

wlyonsatl
Community Member

Kevin,

 

Believe it or not, you are taking the TimeTracker memo requirement too seriously.

 

All you need to do is write a short note that a person not involved in your project could understand if they need to review your activity during the time period tracked by TimeTracker. Such a person, who will work for Upwork, will likely know little and care less about the specific details of your work for your client.

 

And even a short memo should also suffice to remind a client what you are working on for them.

 

You don''t need to write a memo every 10 minutes (as Preston has pointed out) - you can even re-use a memo for more than one work period if you're doing pretty much the same thing during each period, which is why previous memos you've used are available in a dropdown menu.

 

I don't remember ever using all 140 available characters for a memo and I have had a couple of reviews by Upwork to confirm adherence to their payment protection rules that did not result in any complaint about the informativeness of my memos. 

 

Once you get used to what Upwork requires, I really don't expect you'll think it onerous. And if I understand correctly, even if Upwork doesn't pay you for time booked in previous weeks your honest client can pay you a bonus for the same amount in question now that their credit card info has been updated.

 

Good luck.

 

 

ko1967
Community Member

Well if they don't really care about what your write in such a short amount of characters then that gets to my point of, if the memos aren't really documenting the details of what you're doing, they are really useless except for some employee to count the number of memos to make sure the box is checked.

 

So not to belabour the point.  My memo will now always say "working" so I can check that idiotic payment protection box.

 

Good point on the bonus.  I'll be sure it goes through Upwork!

wlyonsatl
Community Member

If all your memos ever say is "working" you're not going to be happy with Upwork's next decision regarding your access to hourly payment protection either.

 

The memo is meant to convey the basics of what you're working on, which is different than saying "they don't really care about..." 

 

But you already know that.

I highly doubt that "working" would be deemed an  adequate memo.  My memos are less than 10 words but I always get paid.

re: "My memo will now always say 'working' so I can check that idiotic payment protection box."

 

An Upwork employee tasked with approving Payment Protection won't accept that.

As a client, I appreciate it when freelancers use memos so I can easily scan the work diary. And I do check it. Not with freelancers I've worked with for a long time, but for those that are new to me. 

 

Surprise surprise, this past week I used my main credit card to pay my grad school tuition ( I run a business and pursuing a PhD), and oh no! I didn't realize the poor timing and my freelancer payment didn't got through. As clients we are human, it's not always an attempt to defraud or scam. I got notified immediately there was a problem, I addressed the problem right away, and I also let my freelancer know I was aware and dealing with it. As a freelancer, all the clients I've worked with have dealt with issues quickly too. 

 

Memos are such a small requirement. I don't know why they attract so much ire. You can even go back later and add them. 


Amanda L wrote:

 

Memos are such a small requirement. I don't know why they attract so much ire. You can even go back later and add them. 


This is the first time I've seen anyone complain that memos are too much effort. Usually the problem is that a freelancer didn't realise that memos were required until they'd already lost money through not using them. 

joansands
Community Member

Kevin - I find it very easy to use the memo field in the tracker. As an editor, I just put in a memo of what I am working on - like editing of such and such a manuscript. Then, if I need to give the client more information about what I am working on,  I do that in messages. All very easy and, if there is a problem, you are covered.

petra_r
Community Member


Kevin O wrote:

 I'm really ticked off at Upwork


It's 'interesting' how you're mad with Upwork, rather than the client who is ultimately who failed to pay you...

tlbp
Community Member


Petra R wrote:

Kevin O wrote:

 I'm really ticked off at Upwork


It's 'interesting' how you're mad with Upwork, rather than the client who is ultimately who failed to pay you...


OP appears to be unhappy because they did not understand many of Upwork's processes which led to a series of costly missteps. The client did not need a freelancer's help to determine how to resolve their payment issue, the client needed to communicate with Upwork. And, if a freelancer contracts with Upwork and agrees that in exchange for A, the freelancer must do B. Then, it doesn't matter whether B makes sense to the freelancer or anyone else. All that matters is a contractual requirement to obtain A.

Anyone can come up with a list of ways in which they would run their business differently. But, the reality is that freelancers, individually or collectively, aren't running this business--Upwork. We fail to recognize that (and follow Upwork's many rules) at our peril. 

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