Tips for Managing Remote Workers Through an Online Marketplace


Tips and Tricks: Management

Image Source: Heather on Flickr

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: even with the most careful selection, the freelancer you choose to work with through an online marketplace, such as UpWork, Guru or Mechanical Turk, could be a lazy jerk.

There are ways however, to protect yourself, just in case you run into one of these not-so great freelancers.

Keep Your Money Safe

First and foremost, before you start a relationship with a freelancer through an online marketplace, always put payments in escrow, if the marketplace has that feature.

With escrow, payment for the service are kept by the workplace until you approve the work at various milestones throughout the project. If the freelancer doesn’t do the job, or does a poor job, then your money is safe.

If the site doesn’t have an escrow feature, check to see if the workplace has a milestone payment option. This way, you only pay as you get results.

Keep Lines of Communication Open and Document Everything

Many marketplaces will moderate disagreements between you and a freelancer, but their hands are tied if you can’t provide evidence that you did everything in your power to make the project go smoothly. Always:

  1. Give your freelancer detailed instructions of the task you need completed.
  2. If you’re asking for something creative, like an article, illustration or website design, be sure to send plenty of examples that show what you’re looking for.
  3. Ask to see the project as it progresses. Voicing your concerns early on is important.

Never Go Off-Site

All marketplaces have one major rule that you should never break:

Never contact freelancers outside of the marketplace.

This is very important for two reasons. First, if you contact the freelancer outside of the site, it is much harder to prove your case if things go south. Second, it’s against the terms of service and can get you kicked off the site.

If you’re careful, even if your freelancer turns out to be a bad egg, you can still walk away with nothing lost but a little time.

The GSD Management channel is brought to you by Work Market, the leading labor automation platform. Work Market empowers businesses and skilled professionals to unlock new levels of productivity, engagement and growth across the entire lifecycle of work. Learn more at

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