For many oDesk employers, news of an escrow-like payment process for fixed-price jobs would come as a welcomed surprise.

Well, get ready to be surprised! oDesk.com has announced that this highly-requested feature has arrived. Let’s take a look at how this new escrow feature will positively impact employers.

How It Works (in Pictures)

I’ve already started using this feature with some of my fixed-price contractors. Here’s a screenshot of a contract milestone that I recently enabled.

Step 1: Activate Milestone

activate next milestone

Step 2: Complete the Form

milestone whitepaper

Why This Feature is Valuable to Employers

There are obviously many benefits to this new feature. To quickly summarize, they are:

1. No more upfront payment negotiations. For fixed-price jobs, employers can now submit a fully refundable deposit to oDesk. This deposit is held by oDesk until the client is ready to approve the work submitted by the freelancer. Employers have two options when it comes to the deposit amount: 1) Deposit the entire contract amount or 2) Deposit a smaller amount for the first milestone of the contract.

2. Reduced risk for employers. Unfortunately, every employer will occasionally encounter a freelancer who does not live up to expectations. With this new approach to fixed-price payments, employers have the added assurance knowing their deposit is fully refundable should the freelancer submit shoddy or incomplete work.

3. Attract higher quality freelancers. Just as the ability to submit a deposit gives employers extra peace of mind, it’s also a positive for your potential freelancers. By placing a deposit, you’ll illustrate to freelancers that you’re a trustworthy employer who is “good for the money” so to speak.

Can I Get My Deposit Back?

Absolutely. The deposit is fully refundable. For example, if an offer expires, is withdrawn, or declined by the freelancer, your deposit will be refunded to your primary payment method.

To learn more about this new feature, view this helpful infographic from oDesk.

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Written by Matt Keener

Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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