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ravi_iitian
Community Member

Wondering if opting out of Upwork as per section 7.3 of the TOS is best

 

I have always been a staunch supporter of Upwork.

 

Remember the chaos when Upwork wanted to raise the service charge to 20%?

 

I strongly supported Upwork even then. A strong and vibrant Upwork was and is essential.

 

A few months ago when the service charges were changed, quite a few freelancers indicated they would rather opt out.

 

Still I kept insisting that staying on Upwork was better even if service charges had to be paid. I insisted that Upwork provided security and peace of mind.

 

Now I am beginning to wonder if opting out of Upwork with clients whom I have worked with for two or more years is wiser.

 

And this has absolutely nothing to do with obviating Upwork’s service charges.

 

From what I understand, the client needs to initiate the process and the opt-out fee is $1.

 

I still have a question: How would I take care of the tax requirements of the US IRS?

 

In particular, if a person from India has moved with a client off the Upwork platform, could you please share what paperwork needs to be done?

 

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
18 REPLIES 18
yofazza
Community Member

How would I take care of the tax requirements of the US IRS?

People in the US who hired me for personal projects didn't require me to do anything with taxes. People in companies, even the non-profit ones, want a filled W8BEN form every time they want to send me a payment. This is a new requirement that came around the time with Upwork's requiring us to fill that form as well, last year? The form has more fields than the one here on Upwork, but it basically just asks for our basic info, signature, and local tax number.

 

As for our own taxes, my country's tax people aren't connected with the IRS yet, so I need to do the reports myself. I think it's different with India, it's probably 'automatic' as Upwork (the IRS) has already cut your income?

 

 

Still I kept insisting that staying on Upwork was better even if service charges had to be paid. I insisted that Upwork provided security and peace of mind.

Whaat? 😁 

 

I think I had this conversation with you before. I have peace of mind knowing everything is under my control instead. 😁

 

 


Still I kept insisting that staying on Upwork was better even if service charges had to be paid. I insisted that Upwork provided security and peace of mind.

Whaat? 😁 

 

I think I had this conversation with you before. I have peace of mind knowing everything is under my control instead. 😁

 

 


Thank you, Radia.

I will be dealing with individuals only, so no IRS problems.

Of late, I feel like I am standing on quicksand.

That feeling of security is evaporating.

 

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
rekasesh
Community Member

Hi Ravindra,

 

I have taken clients off platform but that was before the $1 initation fee was introduced.

 

You simply start working with them. 

 

We aren't required to provide a W8BEN form as Indian freelancers, unless you're working with LLCs or registered companies in the US and they need it.

 

As simple as that.


 wrote:

Hi Ravindra,

 

I have taken clients off platform but that was before the $1 initation fee was introduced.

 

You simply start working with them. 

 

We aren't required to provide a W8BEN form as Indian freelancers, unless you're working with LLCs or registered companies in the US and they need it.

 

As simple as that.


Thank you, Rekha.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
ravi_iitian
Community Member

 

@Rekha

 

How do you get the payment transferred to your bank?

 

I am not looking for the cheapest method.

 

Rather, I am looking for the least intrusive method, even if it is the most expensive.

 

I would rather not use PayPal or Wise.

 

Giving our banking details to a third party is not a good idea.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"

You don't have too many choices. I make do with PayPal and Payoneer. Direct bank transfer from US or Europe is expensive in some cases, if the client doesn't have an account with a bank that charges less for international wire transfers.

 

You can check with your client.

 

With Aadhar linking and UPI, almost everything financial is stored in third party servers anyway. 

Sadly, you can't function in the digital world without giving away some information 😔


 wrote:

You don't have too many choices. I make do with PayPal and Payoneer. Direct bank transfer from US or Europe is expensive. 

 

I use a seperate account for my freelance income.

 

With Aadhar linking and UPI, almost everything financial is stored in third party servers anyway. 

Sadly, you can't function in the digital world without giving away some information 😔


A separate account for freelancing is a good idea. Thanks.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
ravi_iitian
Community Member

 

@Rekha 

 

Is there any downside for the client if we move off the Upwork platform?

 

Apparently, an ongoing contract can converted with a conversion fee is just $1.

 

Is that correct?

 

"Certa bonum certamen"

I'm not Rekha obviously.

 

downside for the client 

I think, and I see none. They'd have the same quality of work with a more flexibility in payment. So, we're the ones who actually need to take extra precautions (although I'm not saying payments through Upwork is 100% guaranteed).

 

If you're talking about invoices, or administrations in general, Google Sheets should be fine. I now use an invoicing app that I developed myself but to be honest it's just for a little 'fancy' aspect. Sheets are fine, no personal or organization clients will complain.

 

And main bank account is safe for me, what do you think could be the problem? They only need our name, account, and the bank's SWIFT (because our banks use that). Addresses are sometimes asked but I don't think they are a strict requirement.

 

I let the client choose payment methods, although I might persuade them to use the ones I prefer. To me, the best option is direct transfer; faster and less fees. It's not like 20 years ago when even PayPal didn't trust our banks and the fee to transfer directly was just not feasible for small amounts, where we need to use e-gold to receive payments. India is better in this regard, I think.

 

I find that some clients uses banks that could result in the least fee, for both sides, even lesser than Wise. If we think about it, direct between banks (if they really have no one else in between) is the best isn't it? Because even Wise, is a third party.

Thank you, Radia.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
ravi_iitian
Community Member

 

My consideration for taking eligible clients off the Upwork platform has absolutely nothing to do with obviating Upwork’s service charges.

 

It has to do with these factors:

 

a) Regular brain waves Upwork has without any input from freelancers, for example suddenly raising the number of connects required for job applications, doing away with the Top Rated Perk of feedback removal, introducing the connects requirement for jobs we are invited to, etc.

 

b) Falling standards of moderators who instead of answering specific questions just give a canned response. There are some very reliable and professional moderators too.

 

c) The fall in reliability of payment processing and the complete apathy on Upwork’s part.

 

We freelancers do not choose the payment processors, Upwork does,

 

Isn’t it Upwork’s responsibility to weed out the unreliable payment processors?

 

Why do we need to wait for 8 working days to be over before Upwork initiates a trace back and that too at the request of the concerned freelancer?

 

Oh, there are some downsides too in taking an eligible client off the Upwork platform.

 

a) As we do more work off the platform, our JSS will likely fall.

 

Fewer jobs on Upwork translate to fewer feedbacks from clients.

 

b) Greater chance of losing the Top Rated status.

 

These two factors will eventually make it difficult if not impossible to apply for jobs on the Upwork platform.

 

So, in a sense, it will be a long goodbye to Upwork.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
yofazza
Community Member

For me, the service charges are of course okay, they are the "broker's fee".

 

But when the broker tries to tie us down to make us depend on them, to make us think that they are the center of the freelance universe, it becomes risky. That's the primary reason why I don't do much work with them. Again: I have peace of mind knowing everything is under my control instead.

 

If you look at the Twitter thread above, I experienced something similar (although on a much smaller scale) with a product marketplace. I was a seller in a marketplace where my sales were really good. I didn't need to do any serious programming work anymore because I could live happily from just the sales. Then, suddenly, the marketplace changed something that dropped my sales from hundreds a day to less than five, and then to none. If only I had viewed them as I view freelance marketplaces.

 

So, I kind of understand how some people feel here right now.

bobafett999
Community Member

For US based clients, you coul urge them to use XE.com.  best exchange rate.  Free to them, but may take 4-5 days for you to get money.

 

I personally use it to send money to India.  It costs me money if I want recipient to get it faster.

 

Thank you, Prashant.

 

I don’t mind the 4-5 day delivery time.

 

It is the uncertainty that bugs me: sometimes the same day, at other times 7 or more days.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
rekasesh
Community Member

In my case, clients prefer Payoneer or PayPal. They are e-commerce buss, health coaches, and food bloggers who have these systems in place for their sales and buss billing. As they say, the client is king/queen.

 

Two of my clients prefer Upwork's Escrow system, and so we continue to use Upwork for milestones even after 3 years of recurring projects here. 

 

No risk for clients going offline, but you have that 10% risk of non-payment and 20% risk of delayed payments as clients get busy. 

 

The only downside is clients prefer fewer bills  You're the one sending bills at the end of each month or project. Delays have happened a few times but thankfully, no cases non-payment of invoices so far. 

 

@Prashant, that's a good suggestion to bookmark for later.

 

@Rekha

 

“Two of my clients prefer Upwork's Escrow system, and so we continue to use Upwork for milestones even after 3 years of recurring projects here.”

 

So those contracts are fully on Upwork?

 

“The only downside is clients prefer fewer bills.  You're the one sending bills at the end of each month or project. Delays have happened a few times but thankfully, no cases non-payment of invoices so far.”

 

So we have to generate invoices for even individual clients (not companies)? A simple agreement via email will not suffice?

 

"Certa bonum certamen"

A simple agreement via email will not suffice?

Depends on the client. It'll be fine to just say, "Hi, the totals for last week is [some amount], thanks!" in WhatsApp if they are okay with it (you should still keep them in Google sheet and share it to keep track).

 

Two of my clients prefer Upwork's Escrow system

I don't have enough data (many clients) to comment on this but in my opinion clients feel safer with the escrow because they don't trust us, isn't it? So if you can work this out, it should be fine, such as doing the work first before requiring to be paid (if nature of the work allows it).

 

It's us who need to take more precautions, like doing the work in small parts and requiring payment in between (have our own milestones). The amount and due dates can change based on how trustable the relationship is, that could change overtime as well.

 

And I'm of course not suggesting to 'force' the client to leave this place, if they don't want to.

 

@radia

 

Thank you, Radia,

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
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