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Fixed Jobs and Upfront payment

I just have a question, why is it that some Clients don't want to give upfront payment on Fixed priced jobs? I often read that on some job posts here and that they won't give upfront payment. Is that a legit job? and if so, should I go for that job because there's no assurance that the Client will pay once the job is done?

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There is no assurance either

There is no assurance either that the contractor will start the job after receiving the upfront payment. Like some clients here looking for free work, so are some contractors looking to grab upfront payment. It's a gamble really.

I agree, it's pure madness

I agree, it's pure madness and gamble. I do not trust any pre-payment even from agency contractor.

If they won't give upfront payment

If a client won't give you an upfront payment, don't do the job. Very simple. Turn around and walk away.

An honest client looking for good work, and who knows this business, will have no problems paying up to 50% upfront. The others aren't worth the trouble.

Cate I think you are doing

I think you are doing some harm too those people whom you say dont take jobs with out upfront payment. You have a very good portfolio and you have alot of experience. If I were looking for a top notch contractor like yourself, I would be willing too offer an upfront payment too you, why becuase you have the history and you have shown yourself capable of doing the work.

However, alot of the contractors have no history , they have very weak profiles and too suggest that they dont work unless they get upfront payment, is the same as saying too them dont work. As to be honest I would not give a person with no history an upfront payment.

Yes its a matter of one side bending before the other side, and due to the sheer number game more often then not its going to be the contractor who will have to bend, when they are first starting out. Yes they are going to have some bad experience but its my thought that this is the better way for a newbie to get his/her first contract.

I see both Cate's and Rachelle's point. There is a middle way!

Both points are very valid. I, too, would be hesitant to hand over a 50% up front payment to someone with no history at all.

Having said that, I WOULD quite happily gamble a SMALLER upfront payment, and would in fact almost insist on it.

New contractors with no history will have some problem securing a 50% upfront payment in many, if not "most" cases. But they could and should try for SOME up front payment, even if it's just a couple of $$ ...

That provides them with a nice lever to get the rest of whatever payment is due as it buys both sides the right and ability to leave appropriate and visible feedback.

Petra Here is the kink in

Here is the kink in your suggestion. If you start doing hundreds of upfront payments, it gets rather expensive. See part of the problem is that odesk have a very weak verification system. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten sample articles in the interview part of the job, that just amazed me and my editors but then when it came to the real job the article was nothing like their sample.

My thoughts are a) people are working very carefuly with their samples or b) they are hiring people too write them and passing it off on their own.

For your suggestion to work of a small upfront payment, I would need to know with certainty that the resume and the samples that they have submitted are truly their own, and the only way they can do that is if odes were to setup testing centers in places and have people come into the center and do a test in person and then
They can upload the samples, tests right there with of course the right ids/ but that is expensive and I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

You are right about the

You are right about the samples. I was working with a client, and helping them set up a team of regular writers and the number of fake samples I received was overwhelming. Sometimes it's obvious: the language and quality in the cover letter gives them away, but other times, they do manage to pass it off as their own work and once the work begins, you realize the problem.

My advice: don't depend entirely on samples. For starters, do a Skype interview, audio at least, to see how fluent the person is. That call will tell you a LOT about the contractor and you will be able to judge whether their claims are true. Naturally you'll need to ask all the right questions to test their knowledge as well.

Paid samples, specific to your requirement are also a good option. A quick paid test will show you the contractor's real ability and talent. All my long term contracts started this way- the clients hired me for an hour, I did one sample for them, and as they liked what they saw, they adjusted the weekly limit as per their requirement.

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Life is full of uncertainty

Rachelle S.

I understand your point and I can sympathize with it. However, life is full of uncertainty. For maximum safety, I would suggest you hire writers in your own region. If worse comes to worse, you can always sue.

As I contractor, I will not take on a client that will not make a down payment. It is just too risky; especially so on a wild west style site like oDesk. Would you really want to work for days, weeks or even months in hopes of being paid if your client decides to pay you?

I have seen postings such as: "Will not pay upfront; you will only receive payment after I have thoroughly tested and approved." The client could say: "I don't approve; no money for you!" and he keeps the work for free. Yes, it is common. In the case of a trading strategy, I've seen things like: "The EA must have a winning percentage of 80%; draw down 15%. I won't pay unless I can be sure it works the way I want it to." In case you don't know, it is impossible to guarantee those kinds of results; especially when it is the client's strategy. My own strategies are profitable, but I would never sell them at a price oDesk clients offer.

Most oDesk clients are unreasonable; they offer very low pay for a great deal of work and demand it all be done in an unrealistic time frame. They get away with it because this is a global marketplace and many contractors are desperate enough to accept those terms. I would rather work with local clients; I only use oDesk to search for the occasional gem.

Like I said, I understand your point but I am not willing to work for free. Hire people in your area; build a relationship with your writers; get to know their strengths and weakness; become a team. In the end, it will be more than worth the extra cost. Besides, you'll be adding your local economy.

Rachelle, you may have a point.

You may have a point. However, when I was first starting out in this business, I listened to people who had been doing this a lot longer than I have who told me NEVER to work without something upfront.

You're right in that, by having the experience and the portfolio that I have, I'm able to get the upfront that I ask for, whereas someone with less experience might not. On the other hand, asking for SOMETHING up front, whether its $2 or $50 gives the contractor 2 things.

1. It allows the contractor to give feedback to the client. If the client takes off without paying the whole amount, at least the contractor can warn others.

2. It tells the contractor whether or not this client is serious about payment and the work. Somebody who can't -- or won't -- pay a minimal upfront is not somebody you want to work with. They either don't know the business or they're out to scam you.

Additionally, as little as some of the contractors on here work for, an upfront of $5 to $10 is usually half the contract anyway, and any client worth the time can pay that easily. Wink

Cate I do see your point.

I do see your point. I think you need to divide the contractors into a few groups the top notch people like yourself. Even before you started your first job
I am sure you had something eye catching in your profile.
and the rest. I have zero issue with the people who have wonderful portfolio asking for and demanding upfront payments, but its the other people that gives me pause,

2. It tells the contractor whether or not this client is serious about payment and the work. Somebody who can't -- or won't -- pay a minimal upfront is not somebody you want to work with. They either don't know the business or they're out to scam you.

So where do I fit in with this statement?
I almost never offer upfront but, I do have a small history of making payments.
I have been accused of scamming and I have had people asking if I can give their friend their first contract. I think when you make the statement that if a client does not offer upfront it means their not serious about payment is not a fair comment.

Rachelle, to be honest

To be honest, I hope you turned around and sent those contractors packing. That is the most blatant form of unprofessional manipulation and you shouldn't be working with those kinds of people. They ARE the ones who would take your upfront and never finish the job.

I have seen way to many scammy clients -- and to be fair, scammy contractors -- to not believe everything you just said. If I were a client, I wouldn't OFFER upfront unless it was asked for. And I would, indeed, be very circumspect about how much I gave when I gave it.

I do believe, however, that a small upfront is called for even on the smallest jobs, particularly in the beginnings of a business relationship. A dollar or two is not going to break anybody and -- like I stated -- is often 50% of some of these contracts on this platform anyway.

Once a business relationship is established where both parties are trusting and comfortable with each other, then the upfront is not always necessary. But establishing that trust is absolutely essential for freelancing to work for both parties -- and to me -- an upfront is part of making that happen.

Some people (like me) have to learn the hard (expensive) way.

I am this minute dealing with my very first non-paying client. I should have known better and I did know better. I saw the red flags and painted them green, did not ask for an up front payment and delivered great work. I am unlikely to get paid for it.

MY FAULT entirely. Had I asked for an up front payment I would have some leverage. As it is I wasted time and effort and it actually COST me money because the hours I wasted were hours I did not work on the readily available work from another contract I have.

I'm NOT going to complain about it for a minute because this was my very own doing from start to finish. I failed - out of arrogance or lazyness, - to exercise a bit of common sense and that's the end of it.

It's not that I didn't know better. I did and I do. So I just consider it a lesson learned and one that will hopefully have taught me to take my own advice.

So there. At least I am not too proud to admit to it Smile

With all due respect

It seems like you are trying to bargain hunt, and that game has different rules, I am sure. You want to get something great for the least amount of money, and you are trying to fit that thought into the way a person who can produce what you are looking for should handle the business end of it.

Don't pay upfront if doing so feels too risky. But then ask yourself if a bargain is really what your business needs. If bargain material is all it will take to get you where you want to be with it, stick with the game plan of considering contractors who you do not feel comfortable including an upfront in the deal. If you feel your business may require more, start dealing with contractors who you feel confident giving upfronts too.

The point is, the contractor who can create a profile that lets a client feel comfortable about upfront payments, even if small, deserves that confidence. Clients who "will not do upfront payments" are not considering contractors who deserve upfronts. They are bargain hunting or scamming (possibly both).

You are correct. I am a

You are correct. I am a bargin hunter.

We are ALL bargain hunters. It depends on one's definition......

Rachelle S. wrote:
You are correct. I am a bargin hunter.

We're all bargain hunters. There is a difference between what I consider to be a "bargain hunter" and what I consider to be a "bottom-feeder."

The former is someone who wants exceptional value for money. That may well mean paying a high price for something, but considering that "something" to be a bargain because the perceived or real value is higher than the price paid. The latter is someone who wants something cheap and "cheap" comes before other considerations such as quality either entirely or to a degree.

I am the former as a buyer (both as a client and a consumer in general) in that I want quality first and thenwant to get that quality at the best price I can.

There is nothing "wrong" with either approach provided it is handled in an ethical and businesslike way.

It all starts to go tits up when someone wants "bargain hunter" prices for quality work but is only prepared to pay bottom-feeder prices.

Great advice! Alternatively

Great advice! Alternatively have him award it as a hourly job and limit the number of hours so it is the same dollar value of the fixed price job. Often on fixed price jobs here I assume that I am never going to see the remaining 50% of my money so I just double the price when I bid.

what I do is the

what I do is the following
low price work= odesk
Higher price work= other site that allows escrow.

And there you have it...

Your statement tells the entire story of how this platform is viewed by clients -- as a place for cheap, low-balling labor.

I think that is why I, as well as many of the more experienced contractors, rarely bid here anymore.

For example, I bid on a job today where I was the ONLY fully-qualified candidate according to the job posting. The client wrote me back explaining he was unwilling to go below his stated price of $10 an article and would I lower my price. When I explained to him that no, I wouldn't lower my price mainly because my degree, clinical experience, and web presence was worth more than what he was offering, I ended up withdrawing my bid.

Clients have gotten so used to getting cheap, inexperienced labor on here -- and not really knowing the difference between real experience and "see I really am a artical writter" experience -- that they demand to pay less while they get less.


"and not really knowing the

"and not really knowing the difference between real experience and "see I really am a artical writter" experience -- that they demand to pay less while they get less."

That is what I have been thinking all along.
It's the clients not really knowing what to look for, or in a field they know nothing about.

If a client gives me a hint that they are offering me a job they know nothing about,
I will drop them in a heartbeat.

Just as clients are not here to train contractors for a job, I am not here to
train the clients.

Cate you are correct. I

Cate you are correct.
I would never even think about offering the rates I do on this site
at another Freelancer site which i have been a member for atleast 8+ years.
Odesk has set itself up as a place too get as you said "chep labor".

However that is not the clients faults alot of the blame rests with odesk and the way they want a hands off approach. I am much more protected at other sites when i can put money in escrow. When given a choice between paying upfront to the contractor and putting money in escrow, I have made the choice that escrow is the safer place for my money.

Same thing just happened to me

I just got a message from a potential client yesterday stating that I was a perfect match for the work she wanted done. Then she tells me that my rates are too high and she isn't willing to pay that much. This has actually happened to me a number of times but I don't think my rate is at all unreasonable. People see contractors working for a couple of dollars so they think everyone should.

I really need to put some effort into getting work at those other sites.

I mainly log into oDesk to

I mainly log into oDesk to read the community forums, which I find entertaining. Between the people that are clueless and the oDesk fanboys it is interesting reading. As far as trying to find projects here I have given up trying to find projects here. Total waste of time to bid on 99% of the jobs here in my opinion.