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In my experience there are two types of jobs on the system. Quick simple projects and almost-full-time-job type work. With simple projects it just isn't worth the contractors time - the amount of time wasted in non billable hours: messages, specs, understanding, setup - just doesn't make anything efficient. Sure, bill for the client meetings - but watch your ratings crash. With the almost-full-time-job type work - it's smarter to just yank the person out of upwork and not pay the crazy upwork fees then develop a real relationship.

Unfortunately, how contractors get really screwed is when they run into a real asshole client. Once this happens they are reported to upwork (for not doing free work usually). Good contractors that worked for us were routinely banned.

[I only have been on the client side.]

Is it easy to move outside of upwork for the financial side, and still have some recourse on both sides? If I'm a US client working with a contractor in Russia, I'd be concerned about taxes, currency conversion, etc. I don't really understand all of these challenges, but I assume upwork has them handled. Is there something else I could use that would take a smaller cut, once trust around the actual work has been established?

Ironically, working with someone overseas makes taxes simple. There are no with-holdings. You just wire money. Couldn't be more simple. If the person is a US citizen, it's a circus.

"As a general rule, wages earned by nonresident aliens for services performed outside of the United States for any employer are foreign source income and therefore are not subject to reporting and withholding of U.S. federal income tax."


I'm truly failing to understand this. What's a recourse that you have with upwork? Not paying the contractor that did not deliver? You can not pay contractor who does not deliver to you via another method. People in the entire world like to get paid with US dollars. Those who live in the countries that provide bodies for upwork have bank accounts or methods of receiving dollars. They would gladly communicate that to you. Taxes? Upwork clearly does not handle taxes for you. If you are in the US, you are responsible for your taxes. i

If you're in Russia, you can't just receive dollars from someone in US. You have to pass currency control, you have to provide documents to your bank that those funds were earned. I guess, there are means to bypass those regulations, especially for small sums of money, but they are risky, so not everyone will use them. That's why worker might prefer something like odesk, those companies usually have established processes to transfer money and get necessary paperwork.

You can use what upwork uses: payoneer.com

The contractor in Russia that is registered on payoneer can issue an invoice to you, with an US bank account number.

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