You got hired! …Now what?
Disclaimer: I’m not being paid or anything to write about Upwork. I’ve just found it very helpful, and I wouldn’t be doing the work I am today without this site.
I’m continuing on in this series from two weeks ago, since last week, the entire oDesk site was overhauled and became Upwork. From what I can tell, the hiring and working process is exactly the same (just in different font), so the previous articles are still valid in that aspect.
Once you get hired, it seems to be a simply matter of actually doing the work. If it’s a Fixed Rate job, then it is indeed fairly straightforward.
You’ll have received an Offer that you accepted when a client contacted you about the job. The Offer is located in the Messages tab, and you can reply to further messages in that thread or create new ones. It’s your basic form of communication between you and your client. I don’t recommend moving off Upwork to discuss work related things, unless it’s for a company that has its own content management system that they need you to use in order to access the files (like Basecamp or Trello, etc.). Payments should all be done on Upwork, lest you violate their terms and conditions, and also open yourself up for a scam. For a Fixed Rate job, this is done with what they called Upwork Escrow. As defined in their help section: “Under this program, clients making fixed-price offers deposit a milestone payment into escrow before you begin working. Upon receiving and approving the work, your client releases the payment to you.” Again, pretty straightforward. You get the files either on Upwork or another method, like email or a CMS, and then return the files. Once the client approves your work, you receive the payment. It’s the fastest way to get paid for work, but obviously you risk the client never paying you at all. You can use Upwork’s contact system to settle any disputes, but it’s not guaranteed. And if you spend much more time doing the task than you originally thought, that fixed price might not have been worth it.
The alternative method is Hourly Jobs, which are essentially a hour worked is an hour paid. You have to download their Time Tracker app onto your computer (no mobile capability), which takes pictures of your screen so the client can check to make sure you’ve actually been working. This scrutiny may bother some freelancers, but I’ve found that most clients either don’t care if they see, say, that you listen to iTunes while editing as indicated by the highlighted icon in the taskbar, or they don’t even check the pictures. That’s not a guarantee, however, and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have to explain why five of your ten screenshots are Facebook images. It’s fairly simple: do the work, and you won’t have to worry about anything. If you should accidentally get sidetracked and it does take a screenshot, you can delete it in the appropriate client section under the My Jobs tab. It’s best to be as fair as possible, especially since it takes into account your keyboard and mouse clicks and will “sleep” if there is no activity, so don’t bother just leaving it there for hours, it won’t work. And besides, this is your job! Don’t be lazy!
Long story short, every hour you work will be recorded, and at the end of the week (Sunday/Monday, depending on time zone), the client will accept the recordings and you will receive your payment, guaranteed. Hourly Jobs are best for long-term, continuous work, and the automation ensures you will always be paid. The downside is that, while both Fixed Rate and Hourly have security waiting periods before the funds are released into your account (you see which are pending in the Earnings section under the Reports tab), the Hourly waiting period is longer. For example, work done from the 4th of May to the 10th, once approved, its payment will not be accessible to you until the 20th of May. It’s therefore best when first starting out to have a mix of Fixed Rate and Hourly, until you have enough consistent work that results in you getting paid every week with Hourly.
We’ll continue this series next week on various odds and ends of Upwork, including tests, Manual Time, and more!
Questions? Advice? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Header image from Upwork.com