The biggest reason why most people are discouraged from working as a freelancer on the internet is that they are afraid of being exploited, in other words, ending up unpaid for their hard work. The same fears are all present if you are an employer: you hire a worker who agrees to finish the project on time, but the freelancer ends up double-crossing you, leaving you empty-handed.
This is why freelance websites are prepared to deal with such disputes, either acting as mediators between the parties or, even better, implementing several features to avert such demoralizing events from happening. It’s up to clients and freelancers alike to make use of the safety features that are in place to take the best course of action and protect themselves from unpleasant situations.
Use Escrow Payments
Depending on the nature of the project, it’s better to divide it into different stages and pay the freelancer after each successful milestone. This provides a regulated income for the worker, while employers have tighter control on the overall progress of the task. While most freelance websites charge a service fee for each transaction. you should definitely make use of the clever and easy-to-use escrow system, since it protects the deposited amount until you decide to release it.
Keep in mind, however, that paying through PayPal just to circumvent the freelancer website’s escrow service is a risky move, since the e-wallet’s dispute resolution system takes weeks or more.
Back up With a Tracking Application
Freelancers dislike the idea of using a tracking program, since it interferes with their method of work, forcing them to abandon such actions as sidetracking while browsing. Despite all of its (alleged) disadvantages, it’s still highly advised to give it a chance. In fact, many freelancer sites (like Upwork) have their own built-in time trackers, but if there is no such built-in program, you can agree with your client to use a standalone solution. Regardless of which solution you use, all tracking apps work the same: they continuously log the user’s action by randomly taking snapshots of the screen. Said snapshots can be used as a tiebreaker during a dispute, because the application shares the evidence with both parties. Thus, if you are doing your freelance job in a diligent manner, tracking apps only serve your benefit.
Freelancer.com’s Dispute Process
Since it is very likely that you will run into a real dispute, we decided to show you how Freelancer.com manages a disagreement. According to the site’s resolution policy, when two parties have a discord, they can turn to the so-called Dispute Team to judge the case. $5 or 5% of the disputed milestone (whichever is greater) is taken from both sides, but the winning party’s amount will be refunded.
The dispute resolution itself consists of four stages. The first one is the identification of the issue, followed by a negotiation between parties. If the negotiation stage fails, the third stage commences, where the parties, after paying the arbitration fee, can submit evidence to support their case. And the last stage is the arbitration, in which the Dispute Team reviews the evidence and makes a final, binding, and irreversible decision within 48 hours.
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