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Payments

oDesk is the first and only service to guarantee employers that an hour billed is an hour worked and contractors that an hour worked is an hour paid. oDesk is able to provide this guarantee to contractors only through verifying that the employer is actually able to pay. Therefore, we require employers to verify their payment methods. In exchange, our employers are able to pay their global online workteams without the hassle of global payments.

Hourly

How do I pay for the time worked by my contractors?
Hourly jobs are automatically billed weekly (see weekly pay schedule). You just need to have an active, verified payment method verified payment method screenshot. If your contractor goes over their weekly limit, you won't be charged for the time over that limit. But you may wish to pay your contractor for those hours.
In addition to, or instead of an hourly rate, you may pay a weekly payment. (Learn more about weekly payments.)
It is your responsibility to review your contractors' Work Diaries every week during the review period.
You have until the end of the review period to resolve inconsistencies with your contractor and file a dispute if necessary.
How do I receive payment for the time I worked?
Hourly jobs are automatically billed weekly (see weekly pay schedule). You just need to be logged into the oDesk Team application while you work; we'll take care of the billing. If you go over a contract's weekly limit, you will not be paid for the over-limit time unless you come to an agreement with your employer to submit a bonus payment for those hours.
It is your responsibility to review your Work Diaries at the end of the work week (or, preferably, daily) to add offline and/or remove inappropriate online time captured by oDesk Team application. Remember: If you can see it in your Work Diary, so can the employer. Remove anything inappropriate right away.
Verified Work = Guaranteed Payment.
Payment for properly-recorded online hours is guaranteed. (We cannot guarantee payment for offline hours or fixed-price jobs)
Agency contractors do not receive pay for their contracts inside oDesk. All their earnings are pooled into the company's financial account for dispersal outside oDesk. This does not change the way the employer is billed for the contract.
How do I pay my contractor for something that's not on the weekly invoice of hours?
Even on hourly jobs, you may occasionally want to pay the contractor for something that's not on the weekly invoice of hours. It could be a performance bonus, reimbursement for expenses, compensation for time over the weekly limit, etc. No matter what the payment is for, you'll submit it the same way. You can even make a payment on an ended contract!
  1. Go to My Jobs > Contracts. Select the appropriate tab.
  2. Find the correct contract in the list. Click the Title in the Contract column.
  3. Click the give a bonus or other one-time payment link in the Terms section of the contract details page.
  4. Enter the amount you'd like the contractor to receive. The form will calculate and add the oDesk fee on top of this amount. Check the total Charged Amount. Adjust the amount you entered as needed.
  5. Enter a comment. The contractor will see this comment. You can also enter an optional, private note for your own records.
  6. When you're ready, click the Give Bonus button. This cannot be undone! Your financial account will reflect this payment immediately. If your account has a negative balance at the end of the day, it will be charged to your billing method.
Non-hourly payments are optional. Therefore, they are not disputable.
In addition to, or instead of an hourly rate, you may pay a weekly payment. While bonuses are great for one-time payments, weekly payments automatically pay out a set amount each week. (Learn more about weekly payments.)
How do I receive payment for something that's not on the weekly invoice of hours?
Payment will show as pending on your financial account immediately after the employer submits it. You can even receive a payment on an ended contract! As long as there aren't problems with the employer's payment method, it will become available after the standard security period. It could be delayed if the employer's payment fails to clear.
Non-hourly payments are not guaranteed.
What is a weekly payment?
A weekly payment is an automatic, recurring payment for a specific amount. The employer is charged that amount weekly in addition to the contractor's billable hours. Weekly payments are invoiced on the same weekly schedule as payments for hours.
Hourly, weekly payment, and bonus payments are all independent from each other and suited to different work arrangements. You are welcome to utilize all three payment types on a contract, if that's what works for you.
It is possible to make a contract paid solely on a weekly payment basis by setting the weekly limit to zero. With a weekly limit of zero, the contractor can run the oDesk Team app and maintain a Work Diary (if desired), but the hours will not be billed.
The weekly payment must be added to the contract at creation. It is an advanced option on the hiring form. To add a weekly payment to an existing contract, please end the contract and use the rehire link in My Jobs > Contracts. This will recreate the same contract and give you the option to add the weekly payment.

Fixed-Price

How do I make an upfront payment?
Many candidates will request an upfront payment when they apply to your job. This will show as part of their application. You can negotiate the amount during the interview, but only the contractor can adjust the amount to be paid upfront. When you hire one of these candidates, your financial account will reflect the upfront payment immediately. If your account has a negative balance at the end of the day, it will be charged to your billing method.
Please be cautious about making an upfront payment. It is not a refundable deposit. If the contract does not work out, you won't be required to make any additional payments. But oDesk cannot force the contractor to refund payments you've already made (except in extreme cases, such as fraud). At the same time, many of our best contractors do request some upfront payment because there are no guarantees on fixed-price jobs.
So should you agree to upfront payment or not? It's a judgement call and it's up to you to decide if an upfront payment is worth the risk. Here are a few things to ask yourself before you hire a contractor who requests upfront payment:
  • Have I worked with this contractor before?
  • Do they have a great feedback history (especially on fixed-price jobs)?
  • Is the feedback on small or large jobs?
  • How much do I trust this contractor to follow-through and deliver?
  • Were the cover letter and interview thoughtful and professional?
  • Have they been responsive and easy to communicate with thus far?
  • How much of a problem would the forfeited payment be if things didn't work out?
Upfront payments are optional. Therefore, they are not disputable.
How do I make payments during a contract (aka milestones)?
milestone payment screenshot
We recommend breaking up fixed-price contracts into smaller pieces (or milestones). This way you can pay as you go along, instead of all at the end. If, when and how much to pay is up to you. Fixed price jobs are not billed automatically. To enjoy automatic billing, consider changing to an hourly contract.
  1. Go to My Jobs > Contracts. Select the appropriate tab.
  2. Find the correct contract in the list. Click the Title in the Contract column.
  3. Click the make a milestone or other one-time payment link in the Terms section of the contract details page.
  4. Enter the amount you'd like the contractor to receive. The form will calculate and add the oDesk fee on top of this amount. Check the total Charged Amount. Adjust the amount you entered as needed.
  5. Enter a comment. The contractor will see this comment. You can also enter an optional, private note for your own records.
  6. When you're ready, click the Make a Payment button. This cannot be undone! Your financial account will reflect the milestone payment immediately. If your account has a negative balance at the end of the day, it will be charged to your billing method.
Milestone payments are optional. Therefore, they are not disputable.
How do I make a payment at the end of a contract?
When you end the contract, you have the option to make one final payment. If you did not make upfront or milestone payments on this contract, this will be the only payment you make. If, when and how much to pay is still up to you. If you don't want to end the contract and leave feedback while you make your final payment, please use a milestone payment. You can come back and end the contract (with or without any additional payments) later.
  1. Go to My Jobs > Contracts. Select the Active tab.
  2. Find the correct contract in the list. Click the Title in the Contract column.
  3. Click end contract at the top of the contract details page.
  4. You'll see a confirmation message. Click the End the Contract to continue.
  5. You can choose to pay the full amount remaining, nothing, or enter the amount you would like to pay (this amount includes the oDesk fee).
  6. You'll also need to leave feedback for the contractor on this form.
  7. When you're ready, click the End Contract button. This cannot be undone! Your financial account will reflect the final payment (if any) immediately. If your account has a negative balance at the end of the day, it will be charged to your billing method.
Payments on the End Contract form are optional. Therefore, they are not disputable.
How do I get paid for fixed-price work?
Fixed price jobs are not billed automatically. If, when and how much to pay is at the employer's discretion. When an employer submits an upfront, milestone or final payment on a fixed-price job, it immediately shows as pending on your financial account. As long as there aren't problems with the employer's payment method, it will become available after the standard security period. It could be delayed if the employer's payment fails to clear.
It is your responsibility to work out a payment schedule with the employer and follow up with them if there are any problems. oDesk cannot force a non-paying employer to submit payment for fixed-price work.
Agency contractors do not receive pay for their contracts inside oDesk. All their earnings are pooled into the company's financial account for dispersal outside oDesk. This does not change the way the employer is billed for the contract.
Payment for fixed-price work is not guaranteed. To enjoy guaranteed payment, consider working on an hourly basis.
How do I switch a fixed-price contract to hourly?
switch to hourly payment screenshot
The employer has the option to switch any active fixed-price contract to hourly. On the form, there will be options to make payment for the current, fixed-price contract and set the terms for the new, hourly contract.
  1. Go to My Jobs > Contracts. Select the Active tab.
  2. Find the correct contract in the list. Click the Title in the Contract column.
  3. Click switch to hourly at the top of the contract details page.
  4. You'll see a confirmation message. Click the Continue link.
  5. You can choose to pay the full amount remaining, nothing or enter the amount you'd like to pay (this amount includes the oDesk fee).
  6. Set the Duration and Workload for the new contract. Your selections will not put any restrictions on the contract; they are for record-keeping purposes only.
  7. Enter the new Rate. This is the rate the contractor will receive. The form will calculate and add the oDesk fee on top of this rate. Check the total Charge Rate. Adjust the rate you entered as needed.
  8. [Optional, but recommended] Check the box next to enable weekly limit on this contract. Enter a Weekly Limit in hours. It must be a whole number 0 - 168. The form will calculate and display the new maximum weekly billing. Adjust the hours you entered as needed.
  9. When you're ready, click the Continue button. The new hourly contract will begin at 00:00 UTC. The contractor cannot log billable hours until that time. Unbilled hours logged today would need to be added as offline after the start of the new contract for automatic billing or paid as a bonus.
The employer must hire at the contractor's listed profile rate or higher. But you can follow standard rate change procedures on the new, hourly contract.
Payments on the end contract form are optional. Therefore, they are not disputable. See above for payment info for the new, hourly contract.
What's the oDesk fee?
The oDesk fee is 10% of the employer's payment to oDesk which equates to 11.11% on top of the amount paid to the contractor. Please see oDesk Policy 2.1: oDesk Fee for complete details.
Does oDesk offer benefits?
oDesk has negotiated pricing, plan offerings and an approval process that outstrip other health care plans generally available to individuals. These plans are available to all U.S. users. U.S. contractors working 30+ hours per week may be eligible for oDesk Payroll and additional benefits.
At this time, oDesk's Health and Payroll benefits are only available in the U.S.
My company requires PO numbers on all invoices. How do I add those?
Some companies require PO numbers on all invoices. oDesk can accommodate this, but you'll need to tell us the PO number prior to being invoiced. (More about adding PO numbers to invoices.)