There are no right or wrong opinions when it comes to freelancing. I think it is because we have our own journey and every one of us have their unique experience and path. Whatever you do may be right in your opinion, but it doesn’t mean that it is right for everybody.

So, in a world where you can basically do what you want and get away with anything when executed properly, where should you stand? Where should your standards be?

Mine is always on the same line as courtesy. I believe that when it comes to dealing with your clients, you always have to think about the win-win situation for you both. Sadly, there are freelancers who only think about what can benefit them.

This blog is my opinion about the question of whether you or your client should pay your fees. (Eg. Paypal fee, Upwork fee, etc.)

The Situation

Working remotely has its own set of pros and cons. These vary from person to person. But a lot of people consider cross platform fees as one of the significant disadvantage of freelancing.

However, you must understand that if you work online, your client can’t just hand over your salary to you. You will be using different platforms for your money to get from your client’s pocket to your pocket. Just to name a few, you’ll be using your client’s bank or credit card, Paypal, freelancing platforms like Upwork or Golance, your bank, etc.

Naturally, when you use these services, you can’t expect it to be free since they will be exerting effort to help you get your money. If you think about the fees that you will pay, think of it as a courtesy to those services that you will use instead of a burden that you have to pay.

The Reality

The reality is that there are clients who are willing to pay the fee for you to get the whole amount that you agreed upon but there are clients who won’t. If your client does not offer to pay your fee, of course, you can ask him properly, I’m sure, if you word it properly, he will understand.

But, you have to remember that it is not the clients responsibility to pay your fee. I’ve read somewhere about a freelancer who asked his client to pay for his fee, explaining how the amount of the fee is already equivalent to a week’s worth of grocery or something like that.

In my opinion, it was a total turn off. Why? Because the client does not need to know that. Think about the employees in the corporate world, do their employer pay them an extra amount just for them to be able to go to work? Or think about businesses, do they give out transportation fares for you to be able to ride a jeep or bus to go to their establishment? 

The same goes for your freelance clients. Don’t expect (or worse) force them to pay for the food you eat just because you work for them. That is your responsibility, not the client’s.

In all honesty, there are clients who are willing to pay for Paypal fees, but if they don’t ask, then don’t oblige them.

The Solution

So, how do you go about the painful deduction of fees as well as the bank fees and all? If you ask me, it’s just a matter of proper planning and management.

Before placing your bid, I’m sure you have already considered the basics. Compute your bid by computing the following:

  1. Monthly expenses.
  2. Daily expenses.
  3. Transaction fees.
  4. The going-rate of your niche.
  5. Platform fees.
  6. Portfolio and experience.
  7. The client’s capacity to pay.
  8. Little room to move.

Do not ever bid an amount just because somebody told you that a freelancer can earn more than $20 per hour. These things take time. Go through your own journey, start with what you have and work your way up.

Anyway, when bidding, make sure that the amount you bid to your client already includes allowance for the fees that you will incur. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself before bidding:

What platform will you be using? How much is their transaction fee?

From the platform wallet, where will you withdraw your money? Paypal or direct to bank? How much is the platform fee?

If you use Paypal, how much is their fee when you withdraw to your bank? Below P7000 transactions in Paypal are subject to P50 fee, plus your bank fee.

What is your bank? How much is their bank fee if you withdraw money online to your local account?

These fees are minuscule at first glance, but can cut a significant part of your earnings if not taken care of properly.

These fees are your responsibility, let’s not burden our client with this responsibility. Clients also have their own budgets. What they budgeted for a freelancer may be their only allowance for that service, asking them to pay extra for your fee is unfair and may take a toll on their budget.

Remember, not all clients are from big companies and are rich. A lot of clients who choose to hire freelancers are also just starting out. Let’s be more considerate and offer our client a win-win situation.