FAQ: I’ve been awarded a project via Freelancer.com. Now what?

9 12 2010

So that email has plopped into your inbox telling you that you’ve been selected to complete a project. Congratulations! You’ve clicked “accept” and received your buyer’s contact details. Great. But now what?

Hopefully, if you’ve accepted the project, it means that you’re happy to work for this person. You’ve discussed, via the private and/or public message board, what you are expected to do, in what timeframe and for how much. You’ve been sensible and checked out your buyer’s feedback and Googled their company website just to make sure they’re legit. You haven’t bid on a project that is likely to get your account suspended and, of course, you’re going to play by the rules. In short, this is a genuine project and you are a genuine freelancer, working with a genuine buyer.

The absolute KEY to successful working relationships, especially via a platform like Freelancer.com, in which you might never meet your boss or even speak to him or her in person, is good communication. The internet is brilliant for making good communication possible – email, Skype, instant messenger etc. – but all too often it can fall by the wayside. Impatience gets the better of us, or perhaps we think we know what we’re meant to do without having had it confirmed. The old saying, “to assume makes an ass out of “u” and “me”” rings particularly true for remote working.

As soon as you’ve received that email from Freelancer.com that lets you know your buyer’s email address, use it. Drop the buyer a quick line to let them know that you’ve accepted the project, and send them your contract (and I HIGHLY recommend that you have one. If you haven’t got one yet, try amending this one for your own needs). Tell them that you’re looking forward to starting the project, but you won’t start until you have heard back from them just in case they want to negotiate some points of your contract or give you additional information to help you complete it.

Once the buyer has given you the go-ahead to start the project, and you’re absolutely sure that you know what you’re supposed to do, then go for it, but stay in regular communication with the buyer. Depending on the project size and your specified turnaround time, you might want to send updates every day, every couple of days, or for larger projects every week. Not only does this reassure the buyer that you’re working on the project and making progress, but it gives the buyer an opportunity to review your work, to advise, make suggestions and give feedback as you go along.

Your Freelancer account won’t be suspended if you don’t stick to the turnaround time you specified, but do try to stick to it as closely as possible – if anything it’s good PR for your career and it also makes it easier to organise your own time. If there’s a genuine reason why you will not be able to make the deadline, don’t rush the job or simply abandon it – talk to the buyer and mutually agree an alternative.  You can’t help it if you are ill, if your broadband company is planning line repairs or if there is an emergency that you need to attend to, and as long as you’re open and honest, there’s no real shame in simply being a bit behind schedule, but most disputes and conflicts can be avoided or resolved through good communication. As a last resort, if you have agreed to be paid via Freelancer, you can always fall back on the Freelancer dispute system, recently clarified and improved, but I stress again that this should be used as a last resort.

The final stage of any project is of course the payment part. If you’ve been sensible, you will have agreed how, how much and when you will be paid before you start the project; it’s important to be crystal clear when talking money so that you get what you were expecting to be paid, and the buyer is under no illusions about how much they will be forking out. I mostly work on writing and editing projects, so I will always state in my contract the price that was agreed for the project AND my price per word and/or per hour. That way, if the client decides that they want more copy than they originally asked for, or the project takes significantly longer than we both thought, the client knows exactly how much extra they will be asked to pay. of course, I never write more copy than is asked for without mutually agreeing this with the buyer first!

At the end of the project, I always send my clients an invoice that breaks down the final fee so that they can see exactly where their money has been spent. I ask for payment within 14 days, but am amenable to negotiate this if, for example, the client has a policy of paying invoices at the end of the month, or needs time for clearance from their company’s financial department. Lastly, when payment has been made, I always thank the buyer and send a receipt.

Good communication and a professional approach are two of the most important rules of business. Many users of Freelancer have a lot to learn, and I’m on a learning curve myself, but I hope this will help some of you to make good choices and be successful in your venture as a freelancer.

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30 responses

18 12 2010
freelancingpinay

I was awarded a project by a Pakistan-based vendor and I was charged US$5 by Freelancer.com for project fee. But just 10 hours after I accepted the project, the Pakistan-based vendor deleted the project and now I’m left with an outstanding balance for a project I was never able to do.

I’m disappointed because according to its online support, Freelancer.com doesn’t do refunds. I couldn’t contact the vendor anymore. It’s not fair that service providers are penalized for something that is beyond their control. If any, it should be the vendor who should be penalized.

Now, Freelancer.com tells me that if I don’t pay the $5 in 35 days, my account will be suspended (which I think is so unfair). I just started using Freelancer.com and now this?

I would appreciate your thoughts about this. Thanks!

18 12 2010
lisaamartin

Hi there and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Interestingly, I found myself in exactly the same situation just a week or so ago – I meant to write a blog about it but haven’t yet got round to it. In my case, I was awarded a writing project by a medical communications company, but my buyer’s boss asked him to put the project on hold for a while. I have worked for this buyer and this company before so I’m not worried that the project will never materialise, but like you, this left my Freelancer account balance in debt. After a while I got the email from Freelancer asking me to deposit funds into my account or risk account suspension. I asked for some leeway on this, given the situation, but was told that accounts in debit are automatically suspended after a certain number of days (35, I think). So I suggested an alternative; cancel the project and refund me the commission fee, thus putting my account back at zero, and we’ll open the project again when the buyer is ready to start.

Like you, I was told that Freelancer don’t do refunds, that their commission fee is an “introduction fee” and once the project has been awarded and contact details have been exchanged, Freelancer plays no further part in the transaction (except to take further fees for withdrawing your hard earned cash, but they conveniently forgot about that).

To cut a very long story short (I will blog the full story when I have some time), a series of emails went back and forth between myself and Freelancer, with Freelancer’s – quite frankly – pretty inept support staff just expressing the same piece of text from their FAQs page in different ways. Eventually, my project fee was refunded, and all it took was a simple tweet. Airing my frustration in cyberspace, I sent a message saying something like “Trying to get through to @Freelancer’s customer support is like banging your head against a brick wall”. I didn’t really expect to get a reply, but Freelancer tweeted me back and asked for my support ticket number. One tweet later and the commission fee was back in my account.

This may be a one-off gesture of “goodwill”, but it might be worth a try!

19 12 2010
freelancingpinay

Thanks for your inputs. I tried emailing its customer support, hoping for a different reply. But just like the online customer support, they gave me the same answer–that they do not refund project fees.

Might as well blog about Freelancer. 🙂

19 12 2010
freelancingpinay

Just want to update you. After posting my blog about my dilemma, I am now slapped with a warning by freelancer.com for the alleged violation of “posting contact information” in bids. I checked all my bids and I’ve never posted any contact info.

22 12 2010
lisaamartin

Did you ever send your contact details in a PM to the buyer, before you accepted/were awarded the project? It doesn’t have to be in a bid – it’s against the rules to post contact details (including email address, Skype/IM username, phone number etc) anywhere on Freelancer.com, including on your public profile, in a PM or on the public message board.

21 02 2011
MrGam

2/16/2011
Your Freelancer.com account balance is negative. Please deposit funds urgently!
Your account mistergam may be temporarily suspended if your balance remains negative.
Your balance is:
USD: -21.00
==================
Sounds like it is the end of the world if they cannot be paid the USD -21.00

I joined Freelancer hoping to earn some money. By some misguided use of rule-making, I end up being fleeced. They’re so concerned about their commission, but they have not done anything to help me collect on a balance of USD 125 from a job submitted about two weeks ago.

The Freelancer model seems to be:
1. Freelancer.com where buyer and provider meet and case each other
2. Buyer and provider agree on terms using Freelancer PMB.
3. An acceptance from the provider and an exchange of contact details gets Freelancer to earn $5 or10%, whichever is higher.
4. After Freelancer gets the commission from the provider and the escrow from the buyer; the Freelancer service is deemed completed.
5. Freelancer declares “commissions once earned cannot be refunded” and “Caveat emptor”. What happens after wards is of no concern to Freelancer. If ever, try to make use of their conflict resolution process [which I have not had the occasion to use].

The commissions are earned and non-refundable; while the escrow funds become part of the bank balance of Freelancer. The higher the volume of accepted jobs, the larger this balance becomes and the float alone from payment of escrow to the final payment of the funds to the provider could earn Freelancer a hefty interest from the banks. This could be the reason behind what we perceive as the onerous practice at Freelancer.

“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people” – David Sarnoff

Thanks for allowing me to post my criticisms here.

27 02 2011
Hannan

I`m going to join freelancer.com&bidding for a supportable job but cannot get any replay.

27 02 2011
Hannan

how can I published my email address?

28 02 2011
lisaamartin

I’m not sure what you mean. If you’re referring to publishing your email address on Freelancer.com, you can’t – this is against the rules. You provide your email address when you sign up for an account, and if you are awarded a project that you bid on, and accept it, your email address will be passed on to the buyer/provider via Freelancer. You cannot pass your email address on yourself.

6 11 2012
Carlos

I was awarded a project of 800$ I completed the work, employer took the website and deleted all his email adresses, skype accounts, doesn’t reply on freelancer site, now I have -80$ balance on my account and employer will never pay me, I googled for him after there are 6/7 people scammed by the same person before me, and now what? I have to give 80$ to freelancer? wtf?????

1 01 2013
Inkthirsty

It’s basically impossible to make money on this site. It works like a casino. Those who run into honest buyers make money. Those who run into bad buyers posing as honest buyers lose money. Everyone gets milked by Freelancer.com in the end, because their accounts can get suspended for no particular reason. I suspended a PayPal payment that I did not authorize to prevent Freelancer.com from taking money from my PayPal account without my permission, but even that failed! I was preventing THEM from taking money from me for something I didn’t intend to pay for, and now they’re preventing me from withdrawing or transferring funds out of my account! See freelancerscams.blogspot.com, where I explain further.

1 02 2014
topwebsiteinfo

Thank you for the helpful information.
I am working on freelancer from last 4 months, now I accepted one project , but I don’t want to work with that client who is continuously changing his requirements. 10 days are remaining for the deadline and I dont want to work on this project , also I dont want to hurt my profile.
please suggest.

1 02 2014
lisaamartin

I don’t really know what to suggest i’m afraid. You just need to talk to your employer and try to work it out with him/her – are they happy to mutually cancel the project because it wasn’t what you agreed? When you are offered a project make sure you know exactly what you are required to do before you accept it, and sign a contract with your buyer to agree what will happen if the specification changes. Freelancer.com gives you little protection once you have accepted a project.

22 04 2016
Mj

Still now I haven’t received money from below employer. His name is Swagat
Mohanty. He is having account in all freelancer site.

https://www.freelancer.com/u/swagat555.html

23 04 2016
Rina bhatt

I just joined to freelancer.com in search of good content writing work. I started bidding for some good projects there and next dat I received mail from freelancer.com that am being awarded by employer for the project. In all excitment, i clicked the link and accepted my very first project there. Just seconds later my phone beeped with message from my bank saying that my bank account has been debited for $ 5.42 as standing payment to freelancer pvt ltd. I was not sure how this happened when am here to earn and not pay back. I browsed again and realised that freelancer took fees on priority without any intimation. Now the real pain is I bid $ 25 for completing whole project. Later employer communicated with me and informed me that I am assigned part of assignment and not whole work which is just worth $ 5 dollar. Rest part were assigned to other bidders. When i received payment via paypal i was again charged there and just received $ 4.48. So in a way i lose more and gained nothing. Though this may be small amount but now am worried what if i try for big projects? Seeking your guidance and suggestions.

23 04 2016
lisaamartin

My advice is to never sign up for *anything* without reading the terms and conditions!! Freelancer is very clear about the fact that it charges a project fee for all projects accepted, likewise PayPal charges fees for receiving payments (and gives a poor exchange rate on foreign currencies too). You MUST take this into account when using these sites, or others like them! If you win larger projects on Freelancer, you will pay a larger project fee, and a larger PayPal fee.

26 04 2016
Marimar Pronton

How do I accept awarded project?

10 05 2016
Neetu

I m takking to employer on project in chat, now when I refreshed my project page the project is no longer there. I visited the project page and can see it’s in In progress Awarded status but not in my queue. Does this mean I won’t be awarded with the project i was talking on with employer?

10 05 2016
lisaamartin

It sounds like the employer has awarded the project to someone else.

4 11 2016
Hanifi

hello, I am new to freelancer.com. I am a freelancer, and I am currently awarded a project. I got an email from freelancer.com saying that I was awarded the project and to accept the project, when I clicked the link it went to the project details just the same as when I bid the project and no accept button or any button that shows any next move that I have to do, so how I accept the project?

1 12 2016
lisaamartin

Maybe the buyer changed their mind and gave the project to someone else in the meantime.

14 12 2016
Amin Jan

The best way is to upgrade to preferred freelancer. Preferred Freelancer Program, you will be charged 15% project fee when you are awarded and accept a Recruiter project. This will not be charged upfront, like on regular projects, but rather when you receive the payment.

5 01 2017
venkatesh

i was awarded with 3 big projects all turned out to be fake or sellers cancelled,as i accepted the project and now i left with negative balance. so do i really need to pay this amount? how can i get rid of this amount ?.if i dont use this freelancer can my account get suspended and i can escape from paying or else they would make liability by any other means

4 04 2017
MD IMRAN AKHTAR

i have been awareded a project ..but unable to accept it….when i contacted free lancer they said accept button is there and that they can accept it on my behalf….how come i m unable to accept it?

4 04 2017
lisaamartin

I don’t know. I can only assume you are looking in the wrong place? I haven’t used Freelancer for a long time so I cannot help I’m afraid.

11 07 2017
sana afzal

Hi sir/Mam kindly solve my problem.i am worried about this.i have been awarded 7 projects and i accepted all that but none of them contact with me and not give me detail about project.
now what should i do?

11 07 2017
lisaamartin

How long has it been since you accepted the projects? Were they all awarded by the same person? Why did you accept the projects if you didn’t already know what you had to do?

13 08 2017
Raheela

i just want to confirm if the freelancer cancels the project after accepting it, is client able to leave a review in this situation or the project is just closed?

14 08 2017
lisaamartin

I don’t know, but I assume that you can still both leave feedback.

13 09 2017
mai

Hello i the new freelancer,the same thing happen to me. Once i was awarded then the employer does not respond to my massage. Till today he still offline. And i have minus in my account. What should i do. Can i ask for fees cancellation. I don’t have money to pay.

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