Use freelancing platforms to deal with repeat clients / referrals or use something else? 🤔

During a customer discovery interview for Claver (digital agreement solution that builds your reputation), a freelancer interviewee gave an insight which I thought was "crazy".

According to him, his freelancing peers would constantly tell their repeat clients / referrals / organic leads, to make a 'purchase' at a Freelancing platform to formalise the project. This is considering they are already discussing about the project directly via emails/Slack/DM/etc.

In the process, a 30% fee is incurred - 20% from the freelancer + 10% from the client. Assuming it's a $500 project, that's $150 (~8 months of Netflix) we are talking about.

I get it - it's a form of protection, in case these clients abscond with the work done without payment. But it's also very costly, and I'm questioning the wisdom of doing this as it assumes all 100% of the referrals / repeat customers would behave this way. The fact that you have dealt with them before, or is referred to you via social proof would suggest otherwise.

So his idea: Use Claver's digital agreement solution to formalise the deal + use a payment gateway (e.g. Transferwise) to handle payment. It'll be a cheaper (& better??) alternative.

My interviewee thinks it'll work. Granted there's a slight bit of risk, but reclaiming the 20%+10% insurance value used for an unlikely scenario is worth it.

My interviewee is a sample size of 1. For me, I haven't had enough experience to scrutinise it much. So what does everybody think? Workable or nah?

Inspired a blog post with more details too:

Will this Customer's idea work?
  1. Yes
  2. No
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