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ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป is it possible to to receive money or even pa...
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4caebb5d
Community Member

is it possible to to receive money or even partially upfront for a project?

My project requires me to pay a large sum out of pocket so was wondering if it would be possible to receive half of the project total upfront? 

18 REPLIES 18
tlsanders
Community Member

If your client agrees to that.

 

But, be careful, because many projects that require you to spend money are scams. 

prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "My project requires me to pay a large sum out of pocket so was wondering if it would be possible to receive half of the project total upfront?"

 

No.

 

Your project DOES NOT require money out of pocket.

 

I do NOT think you should get upfront money.

 

I advise all clients to NOT pay you anything up front.

 

The client can pay the vendor directly. Should not pay you.

That is how YOU will avoid getting ripped off.

iwan-spillebeen
Community Member

"My project requires me to pay a large sum out of pocket" ... is a very strange statement to make.  Do you mind providing more information? 

Does the client require you to pay a sum of money on their behalf? if yes, drop like a hot potato, that is likely a scam.

Do you need to buy equipment to fullfill this specific job? Will you use this for other jobs?  Did the client agree to sponsor this?

 

Jobs on UpWork should never consist of a freelancer spending a large or small sum of money, you shouldn't be spending any money on behalf of a client, ever.  If it is for subscriptions and the likes, tell the client to purchase these themselves and give you access keys.

 

If the money is for you to set up as a freelancer, then it has nothing to do with the client and you shouldn't be asking them for an upfront payment.

Think of it this way. If you're building someone a house, you charge the customer for two things, materials used to build the house and the cost of labor. Materials are paid out of pocket and at the end of the project you bill the customer for whatever was paid for it. What I am basically asking is can I ask for the customer to pay me whatever it's going to cost for materials upfront instead of waiting till the end to receive the full amount?  

Arie, you are not building a house. Upwork is a "service" platform. Projects do not require you to spend money out of your pocket. And you are not allowed to charge clients for things other than your own service. Do not proxy someone elses money through upwork. Ask your client to pay the third party directly.

So even if I'm building a client a website I'm not allowed to purchase them a domain name and hosting per Upwork rules? 

re: "So even if I'm building a client a website I'm not allowed to purchase them a domain name and hosting per Upwork rules?"

 

That is not what I'm saying.

 

You ARE allowed to purchase the domain name.

 

You ARE allowed to purchase anything for the project.

 

You ARE allowed to ask for upfront payments.

 

People in this thread are warning about potential problems.

We aren't saying you can't do it.

got it

So you are saying that the customer is asking you to build a physical object, for which you require source materials?

 

If not then your house analogy doesn't fly, and even if you were building them a house, then you would create a specific contract with a bill of materials for which you ask for a downpayment.  Let's hypothetically say that such is the case, you can do so by entering into an additional contract with the client, by discussing it upfront and then after the UpWork contract has been established set up an additional agreement.

 

Alper is correct, UpWork is a service platform, none of what you are suggesting fits within the confines of the platform but if you're willing to expand on the project and the need for this upfront charge we might be able to help you out.  There are ways you could do this through milestones but without knowing the details of the project we cannot advise whether this would fall within UpWorks TOS.

I've done this with milestones many times and had no issues. I'm specifically asking if something similar can be done with projects.

But you're avoiding the questions, you are comparing it to building a house, which is very different from what UpWork offers.  Now I've seen from other responses that you're talking about building a website; easy enough, get the client to purchase the domain name and hosting package, problem solved.  Consult them on it.

 

There is no reason that you should be paying for this on their behalf, if they don't know how to do it, work with the client, send them instructions / remote to their PC / coordinate a time, register it in their name and send them the link to the payment.  There are plenty of ways you can do this without needing upfront payment.  All of those are billable hours, clients will feel you're really helping them and you're not skating on thin ice about either being scammed or scamming someone.

 

Because you are not building a house or a physical product, you are building a virtual product, you don't need to put together a bill of materials because there isn't one.  Why would you expect the client to pre-pay this to you, plus 10% contract charge, plus 2-4% exchange rate charge?  Act in the best interest of yourself and your client, get them to purchase direct and guide them if needed, they will thank you for it and you get paid to do so. 

It's not just domain and hosting. I purchase backlinks for my clients. These backlinks can cost anywhere from 100 to 200 each. I guess I can get my clients to pay for it directly, but it's just a hassle and will cause delays.

Buying backlinks is against Googles webmaster guidelines. And i believe such a job is against Upworks ToS as it is against ToS.

  • Deceptive marketing. Creating fake content or identities to boost a product, individual, company, etc. (like creating fake social media followers or writing fake product reviews).
  • Terms of Service (TOS) violations. Doing anything that breaks Upwork's or another company's or website's Terms of Service.

re: "Think of it this way. If you're building someone a house, you charge the customer for two things, materials used to build the house and the cost of labor. Materials are paid out of pocket and at the end of the project you bill the customer for whatever was paid for it. What I am basically asking is can I ask for the customer to pay me whatever it's going to cost for materials upfront instead of waiting till the end to receive the full amount?"

 

But this makes it sound like YOU are a scammer, or that you want to be scammed.

 

None of this makes any sense.

 

You just have the client buy the materials directly.

 

Otherwise, you have to pay the 10% Upwork fee.

 

And you are asking the client to pay upfront without receiving anything. No client should do that. No client should trust a freelancer who asks for that.

I agree with Preston, this really all sounds very fishy.

How is this scamming, I do this through milestones with no issues all the time and my clients are aware and I have no negative feedback. 

re: "How is this scamming, I do this through milestones with no issues all the time and my clients are aware and I have no negative feedback."

 

It IS NOT scamming.

You are not a scammer.

This is not about your clients.

 

This is about OTHER clients and OTHER freelancers.

 

This is about "Darlene," who hired a freelancer to develop a website for her. She had a lot of requirements. The freelancer said it would cost $6000, and he said she needed to pay half upfront.

 

Darlene paid him $3000 upfront through Upwork. He never did any work. He kept saying he was working on it, but after three months he had done nothing. He disappeared and she never received any work. She never got her money back.

 

And this is about "Sid", a freelancer who agreed to work on a large project. He project required buying a domain name from a registrar the freelancer had never heard of. The client said they needed him to but it now fir $600, and he would pay the freelancer back with a $1000 bonus payment.

 

Sid purchased the domain name with his own money, and transferred ownership to the client. Then the bank issued a chargeback. (The credit card had been stolen.) Sid lost $600 and the time he spent working on the project.

 

YOU are not the problem. But there are bad people out there. That is why we advise clients to NOT pay upfront payments. And we advise freelancers to NOT purchase materials directly.

 

It is not against the rules for you to ask for a large upfront payment. We are advising you to not do so. This is the personal opinion of individuals, not Upwork policy.

feed_my_eyes
Community Member


Arie A wrote:

My project requires me to pay a large sum out of pocket so was wondering if it would be possible to receive half of the project total upfront? 


Even if you receive half of the project total upfront, there's nothing to stop a client from requesting a chargeback through their bank; they can do this even months later, and if you've already withdrawn the money, Upwork will freeze your account until you pay them back. So, if you think that you'll have any safety from doing this, you are mistaken. 

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