Why is Alex not willing to work via Upwork.com?
Alex has been at Odesk/Upwork since 2012.
- Upwork charges 10-20% fees off each project. That is, either you as the customer pay 10-20% more than you otherwise would, or I as the contractor get paid 10-20% less.
- There're fees everywhere as well. For withdrawals there're fees. These are $1-2. Not much. However, Payoneer has its own fees again. And likewise PayPal does.
- "Connects" or "bids" are paid.
- PayPal and Payoneer - 2 main ways of withdrawing money from Upwork - aren't reliable. PayPal has made my account limited recenlty, and my account is over 5 years old. Payoneer has introduced new regulations - KYC, and thefore since 2018 I've not been able to order a new card.
- Accounts of the freelancers get banned left and right. Including those who have 100% job success or who have been there for years.
- Job success doesn't reflect the real performance of the freelancer. It jumps up and down. Besides, Upwork states the formula - some metrics - by which it's calculated are partially a secret.
- Upwork Team app which tracks time -- is this an accurate way to track where time goes on hourly paid contracts? No. If I have an intention to pretend that I'm working on a project, I'll do so with no effort. The Team app would be doing screenshots and measuring my activity. I'd be moving mouse around, typing code, erasing it, doing google search... to pretend that I'm working hard.
- Upwork doesn't guarantee a payment for the freelancer on fixed price contracts. Which implies that only hourly paid contracts ensure a payment. However, the issue with hourly paid ones -- see the previous point.
- At Upwork the customer can get away with far more things than the freelancer. For instance, threaten the freelance to open a dispute. The fact of opening a dispute, regardless of a reason and the end result, will negatively affect the rating of the freelancer.
- Upwork is a middleman. Working via a middleman requires obeying its rules. How wise are the rules?
There're other reasons too.
But at Upwork I can see who you are, your testimonials, skills, photo, what you ate this morning, etc...
Not true. At Upwork you can see as much as you can see, and not more. That's a sliver of who freelancer actually is and what his skills are. But is that even accurate in the first place? And how much data about the freelancer is there missing -- one that you can't see at Upwork?
See, every time I learn a new skill, my Upwork profile doesn't automatically get updated to reflect a new skill. Every time I create and launch a new project, get a testimonial from a customer who I work with directly, do anything that doesn't involve Upwork, forget a skill, get worse at communication, get more lazy, get more productive again ... my Upwork profile still remains unchanged.
How will we deal with payments without Upwork?
I like to use Transferwise.com. There's also Paysend.com which works similarly. These 2 are trustable and well known. The fees are a few dollars. There're some limitations as for from where and where to a payment may be sent. However, for the majority of the 1st and 2nd world countries they work.
And there's a dozen of other ways:
- Bank wire transfer
- Wester Union
- Other EMIs
It's individually. I'd rather work with it.
However, if the customer isn't comfortable with a prepayment, I don't ask for it. I'll do a task and demonstrate you the end result. You'll verify it. Then we'll proceed to the source code and payment.
And sometimes I'll provide the source code first too, usually when it's an open source project.
Yes. By small chunks.