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Reimbursement for expenses

Active Member
Jessica Faye J Member Since: Jun 8, 2019
1 of 8

I am new here Smiley Happy I accepted a contract with an hourly wage. The contract stated I might have to buy stamps to send copies of subpoenas to a list of clients but the client later told me through chat there are a couple of people that might need certified letters mailed to them. That currently costs $3.55 plus postage. I didn't charge a high hourly fee because I'm trying to build a portfolio. I didn't mind covering the cost of postage for a simple letter but I will not make any money if I have to send letters by certified mail. 

 

What is the best way to handle this? I haven't asked the client about reimbursement yet as I've been searching for answers on the best way to handle it first. I can't seem to find much that has a solid answer. Can anyone offer any advice? Thank you!

Community Leader
Wes C Member Since: May 3, 2019
2 of 8

Clients have the ability to issue a bonus payment which in this case could be used to cover your expenses. But, unfortunately, there's nothing that says they have to do this even if they tell you they will, and it's a very easy way for an unscrupulous client to rip freelancers off.

 

You should have that discussion on reimbursement with him now.  In the future, it's best to work those details out before accepting the offer.  

Community Guru
Heather H Member Since: May 9, 2011
BEST ANSWER
3 of 8

You should not be paying for postage at all unless you agreed to it when you were hired. Simply send the client a message letting them know the cost of the stamps/certified letter, ask them to send a bonus payment to cover that, and then mail them the day of, or the day after they make the payment. 

 

 

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
4 of 8

To add onto the 2 replies you've received. If I'm not mistaken, you will be charged Upwork's 20% etc service fee on the bonus payment. 

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
5 of 8

Heather H wrote:

You should not be paying for postage at all unless you agreed to it when you were hired. Simply send the client a message letting them know the cost of the stamps/certified letter, ask them to send a bonus payment to cover that, and then mail them the day of, or the day after they make the payment. 

 

 


This sounds like legal work, in which case waiting for the client to make a payment every time you need to mail something is likely not workable. Why not ask the client to issue a bonus payment that will cover what he anticipates to be postal costs for a week (or whatever time frame seems reasonable) and then work against that and let him know when it's running low?

 

You will, though, be charged the same percentage on this type of payment as you are on your hourly earnings, so you have to either be prepared to eat that or ask the client to pay it.

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

Just set up an account with a service that prints postage, such as Stamps.com.

 

And have the client fund the account with her own credit card.

 

Then nobody is paying extra fees. Not the client. Not you. And you don't need to worry about how to pay for postage.

 

You can do the same thing with FedEx, or whoever it is that you are sending these mailings through.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
7 of 8

Preston H wrote:

Just set up an account with a service that prints postage, such as Stamps.com.

 

And have the client fund the account with her own credit card.

 

Then nobody is paying extra fees. Not the client. Not you. And you don't need to worry about how to pay for postage.

 

You can do the same thing with FedEx, or whoever it is that you are sending these mailings through.


This doesn't work for certified mail--no way to pay for that through an online account (I know this because one of my ongoing clients has been struggling with this issue for a remote employee who sends out legal documents)

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

For something like this, I always come back to this question:

 

What would YOU do, if YOU were the client?

 

Would you expect a freelancer you hired to PAY for your certified mailing expenses?

Of course not. You would be embarrassed to even suggest such a thing. You would do whatever it takes to make things fair and professional. Which means, if YOU were the client, you would not expect somebody you hire (and somebody you're not paying high wages or rates to) to pay for your business expenses.

 

Thinking about this question can help us, as freelancers. It can help us decide which questions to ask and what requirements to place on the clients who hire us.

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