vWorker - Escrow Services, Work Tracking Systems and Payment Guarantees
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Payment Guarantee for Fixed Price Work
vWorker explicitly advertises a money-back guarantee to clients for fixed rate work, which it calls its “Triple-point money-back guarantee”. I have no idea what “triple-point” means here—I’ve looked throughout the site and haven’t found any explanation. In a nutshell, this guarantee promises to clients that the worker will “fully complete and deliver the contracted work by the deadline, and it will be up to industry-expected standards”, or they get their money back.
There is a corresponding guarantee for contractors, but it doesn’t have a fancy name. This guarantee specifies the following: “If you fully complete the contracted work by the deadline, and it is up to industry-expected standards, you will be paid.”
vWorker’s guarantees are, in effect, implemented via its dispute resolution process. In essence, it is up to the site’s mediators and arbitrators to decide whether the worker really met the terms of the contractor and should get the escrowed funds, or did not, and the funds should be returned to the client. vWorker’s arbitration process is professionally implemented and has no additional costs. Therefore, I think that it is entirely reasonable to view this guarantee as solid—in contrast to Elance, which promises to guarantee payment, but forces you to pay for arbitration to get your money if the client refuses to release escrow despite you doing what you promised.
Escrow System for Hourly Projects
vWorker extends its freelancer protection commitment to hourly projects as well: escrow is mandatory. vWorker is unique in this policy—even sites that normally use escrow for fixed rate projects, such as Elance, don’t require escrow for hourly work.
Since hourly projects can be ongoing, clients can’t escrow the full amount of the project. Instead, they are required to escrow an amount sufficient to cover one week’s worth of work, based on the hourly rate and estimated weekly hours agreed upon by the parties. The other considerations related to escrow that I laid out above—funding escrow before the project can commence, and issues associated with verification—apply here as well.
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