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Giving an Advance

By A.Russell ·
I have been managing a remote team of freelancers. The pay is on an as the work is completed bases.

Recently, one of the freelancers sent an e-mail expressing some dissasisfaction with the difficulty of the task, and also requested the entire amount for the task he hadn't completed in advance to pay some urgent debts.

I phoned him, and he seemed to genuinely want to complete the work, and to be in fairly tight financial situation. He's a nice sort of fellow. I offered to pay him a portion of his commission in advance, but he needed all or nothing.

I opted for nothing because it didn't seem pertinent for him to ask in the first place. I feel obligation towards him, but not responsibility for his personal finances. However it isn't a good feeling.

I am just wondering how more experienced managers out there would handle such a request. It would be easy if you were just a link in the management chain and could fall back on a policy from above, but when there is no higher power what do you do?

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Contract?

by Leee In reply to Giving an Advance

You might already have a policy in place. Do your freelancers work under contract? If so, the terms should already be laid out.

Unless this is someone you've known forever and have a deep trust with, I'd advise against the advance with a contractor. The fact that he made you an ultimatum says a lot; if he needed the money that badly, he would have been happy even for a partial amount. If you pay him all at once up front, he has no incentive to finish the job - or do it right.

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Yes, he has a contract

by A.Russell In reply to Contract?

Yes, I sent him a contract. The terms set out are that he will be paid within ten working days or satisfactorily completing his commission.

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Professionalism

by LizSeal In reply to Yes, he has a contract

The guy knew he had financial issues when he accepted the on completion contract. Because of that I wouldn'trust him to complete the work.

I would only make an exception, if I personally knew that the person would follow through, and it was an amount of money I could afford to lose, if I had to turn and pay someone else to complete the work.

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another key point

by jdclyde In reply to Contract?

he already sounded ready to bail.

"expressing some dissasisfaction with the difficulty of the task,"

This is NOT someone that I would have advanced even a portion of the money. You did the right thing.

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Should be in the contract

by Maevinn In reply to Giving an Advance

This is something that should definitely already be in the contract you have with this individual, outlining the full terms for when and how payment is to be expected. I may be willing to pay out for the percentage of the task that's complete, but there is no way I would pay out the full amount of the contract with only part of the work done. And, depending on the project, I might not be willing to do even that. If it will cost me significantly more to find someone to pick up his pieces and finish the task, I'd say no way.

Employees who issue ultimatums aren't really trying to work with you.

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I agree

by A.Russell In reply to Should be in the contract

Yes, if I paid him out and had to find someone else it would be very inconvenient. Because it is an art job the next person might have to start over again so there is no conflict in styles.

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Have to agree with Leee and Mavyen

by Tig2 In reply to Giving an Advance

When it is me writing the cheque, I write based on the satisfaction of the contract terms. Period.

The minute I step outside of contract boundaries, I am opening a liability risk. This is a bad practice. If the contractor leaves due to my refusal, I can validate the additional risk.

When I have worked 1099, I have made very certain that the obligation of the corporate to pay is clearly defined. If they do not pay within the obligation terms, I simply do not work.

If this person is expressing dissatisfaction in one breath and demanding full payment outside of the contract terms in the next, I am already suspicious of the motivation.

Rest comfortably in the knowledge that you have done the right thing. I know that it isn't resting easy, but you saved yourself a potential legal issue as well as the potential for shoddy work going forward.

Deep breath. Part of the job and all that. You did the right thing!

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Good Advice

by A.Russell In reply to Have to agree with Leee a ...

Thanks TigerTwo, that sounds like good advice. I view contracts as neccessary evils, though. I prefer good old fashioned gentlemens' (or womens') agreements, and actually enforcing the contract would be virtually impossible anyway, since the team is spread across the globe. I am aware that contracts are important -I have worked without one before and got my fingers severly burned myself- but keeping good raport is more important in my opinion.

Thanks for the encouragement. It's good to know I did the right thing, but it certainly didn't feel too good declining him yesterday.

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I agree with Tigger,Leee & Mavyen

by gautam.sarathy In reply to Have to agree with Leee a ...

All of us want to help people whom we know but the issue here is that you are also answerable to your boss and you can not take certain risk. In case he is full time staff then advance of pay is OK.

Rest assured you did the right thing.

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I would suggest they go to the bank...

by compootergeek In reply to Giving an Advance

Sounds like they need a loan.
Ask them, if they've tried borrowing from their bank?
If it's not in the contract, I'd shy away from offering money, most likely your funds are budgeted (just as tight?)

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