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Clients cheating because of Fixed price rule


I am a contractor, i started recently woking here, i did a work for a client 2 days back, he told me he will give money after some time, now when he is disappeared, when i contact odesk, they say, since it is fixed price, so nothing can be done and suggested me to click " Flag as inappropriate". so that next time he does with somebody, his account will be suspended.

My suggestion will be, once contractor clicks "Flag as inappropriate". Anybody else when applies to that clients work, should get a pop up on their system stating, that this client could be a non payer. So that there hard work can be saved.

Anand Pratap

Vote Result

Score: 9.2, Votes: 16
Well, if oDesk is going to

Well, if oDesk is going to have a popup, then they might as well kick'em off.
But since they will not kick them off, then oDesk will not put a popup.

kick'em or popup equate to the same thing.
Why let them stay on with a popup?

Getting a pop-up is as good

Getting a pop-up is as good as giving a negative feedback.

And we know that no one can leave feedback if no money was transmitted.

Hence, your duty as a contractor is to insist on having an upfront payment. If you're established, you can charge for up to 50% upfront payment. At least, you should have a $2 feedback, just enough to leave them a negative feedback in the event of non-payment.

If you don't want to charge upfront payment, your other options:

(1) For graphic and web designers, never send a PSD file or any editable graphic file with layers. Instead, send a JPEG, GIF or PNG file with your watermark imposed on the design.

(2) For writers, you may send a PDF file with the password enabled for editing, and for print and copy text turned-off (though I've heard somewhere there's a software to bypass this).

(3) For web developers, upload the website it your own hosting account and show it to the client for evaluation. Agree to transfer it to their server only after you've been paid in full, or at least a partial payment that is more than 50% (might not be a good idea for small website (around five pages, all HTML files) since the client can simply copy the source codes).

Yes, you may leave feedback.

Yes, you may leave feedback. But do you really think the cient will leave approiate feedback for contractor? Extremely doubtful.

I faced exactly similar

I faced exactly similar problem and proposed some kind of personal black/white lists, but this will not resolve non-payment issues.
Actually, I'm not clearly understand why fixed-price jobs are so easy to fraud. I think, the best solution will be to allow contractors to log manual time to work diary at some checkpoints, and client may accept or decline work at that points (not only at the end of week, but at any time), so arbitration in case of any disputes will be much more fair, than current "we warned you :(".

I'm still unclear why oDesk

I'm still unclear why oDesk does NOT do what Elance does which is make the client deposit the money into escrow so it has to be paid once the job is complete.

Or at the very least protect the worker by allowing for a dispute. I just don't think this is fair at all to the independent contractor & I know that in the past when I've played the employer role & posted jobs for hire, I didn't like having to fork over 10% or 50% upfront to a worker who hasn't done the work yet. Many workers have just disappeared & never done the work. At least if it's in escrow neither party has the money.

There are way too many flat jobs out there & I for one find it very difficult to figure out how much I should charge, especially with poorly written job descriptions. I often say I can give a more clear bid once I've done the task for free a few times.

How does one know how long it's going to take if one hasn't done the task at least 3 times to get the hang of it?

Not only that, it takes me a lot longer to bid on the job because I have to start adding hours, really think about how long it would take me to do XYZ in an hour, etc.

I also had a negative experience with a flat job on Elance. The client kept ignoring my repeated requests to get me the information so I could do the job.

Finally after the time was up, I contacted customer service to find out what I should do because I had already spent time researching certain things, talking to the client on the phone, e-mailing him 2-3 times & repeating myself over & over again.

Instead of having customer service handle it which I now realize I should have done (I am a grownup after all), I talked to the client nicely myself, & explained the situation. He told me he understood where I was coming from & didn't realize he had to get me the information & admitted he wasn't ready. He then wanted me to figure out how much he owed me & he released the funds. Honestly I didn't know what to do, as it was all very confusing & I'd never come across this type of situation before.

I charged him a fair rate, told him what the credit was, & said I'd let him know what the difference was once he had the information compiled & sent to me & he restarted the job.

I thought I'd hear back from him, but in the end about a week later without any communication from him, he ended the job & then gave me a terrible review. I was shocked & naturally very upset.

So please clients, think long & hard about making jobs flat rate, as I'm very trepidatious about doing flat rate jobs now & I'm sure many others are too.

do a search on the forums for

do a search on the forums for 'escrow' and just see how many hits you get. 328 to be exact.

That subject has been beat to death.

One of the posts is from oDesk.

One simple answer

There's one simple answer to your primary question: oDesk isn't Elance that's why.

oDesk does not offer escrow and in my opinion that's good. If you feel the need to work on fixed rate jobs and you don't want to risk not having escrow bill the client 50 percent upfront and if you don't get it refuse the job. Period. If the client gives you a bad review activate the feedback request change and explain WHY you want the feedback fixed. They'll either agree or won't. If you don't get any satisfaction from that your only option is to refund the $$ and only you can determine if it's worth it or not.