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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Escrow: It's a good idea

As a former freelancer, I know that a freelancer's greatest fear is dodgy clients that could possibly not pay. The same goes with clients that hire freelancers. Clients usually go for the cheapest possible freelancer with good portfolio, those freelancers are mostly new ones that have just left or are still working full time. Its no secret that people who are good at what they do, doesn't necessarily make good freelancers*. These freelancers either miss their deadlines, or just run away, leaving the client high and dry.

From a freelancer's point of view, I'd ask for a 40% down payment. But then as a client, I think, "will I get that 40%'s worth?". So now you have 2 sides in constant battle over what to do. How to approach? will I get paid? Will I get my money's worth. Both sides equally have that risk.

Google they keyword "escrow" now. Wait, I'll make it easy, just click here for English or here for Indonesian.

A brain fart (what I call my ideas, since I have one every hour or so) hit me one October morning in 2007. As you can see, escrow isn't something new, yet is unavailable in Indonesia. I typed up a nifty 240 page business plan for a local escrow company, but none of the 80 people I proposed to took a bite, thats why I'm sharing it here, maybe someone will have more luck.

While not sharing what my business plan is, the basic is that to set up a third party financial institution that clients will put their project money in, and deliver full payment to freelancers. Its that simple. Freelancers reliefs to the idea that their money is there in full and ready to be paid, and the client gets a relief knowing that they won't lose financially if the freelancer bails. When the freelancer finishes his job, he just shows his final work progress to the escrow company that holds a record of the freelancer's job description and release the funds.

What does the escrow company get? How would the business run? Will this be a solution for Freelancers & Clients?
I'll leave those answers to your imagination.


Jw said...

menarik juga nih, tapi apa perusahaan yang menawarkan jasa eskrow ini ada di Indonesia?

H said...

Hummm.. menarik Chan. Tapi kalau brenti ditengah jalan gimana? Apa akan ada itung2an yang udah dikerjain itu nilainya sekian gitu? Ntar masalah lagi pas itung2annya.. :)

IMHO, untuk setiap prospective project, baik client maupun freelancer harusnya punya dasar TRUST + RISK. Estimasinya ya berdasarkan kredibilitas masing2 dan 'hunch', baik bagi client atau freelancernya. Kalo udah yakin, ya Terms of Payment adalah bagian dari 'trust + risk' yang harus disepakati.

The thing is, dengan sistem escrow ini gue ngerasa (CMIIW) seolah2 nggak ada trust dari kedua belah pihak, bahkan sebelom projectnya jalan. Which I think is not a good start.. :) Mungkin gue salah sih.. tapi interesting option nevertheless.

BTW, bawa ke WebPM Chan.. penasaran tanggapan anak2 yang lain. Owh.. Lilypie tickernya lucu. Ikutan taroh di blog gue ah.. ;)

Ichsan Darmo said...

Salam kenal mas Chandra. Terima kasih atas sharing ilmunya. Setahu saya system escrow itu memang akan dibutuhkan sejalan dengan semakin individualistis masyarakat Jakarta. Issue trust memang semakin penting, dan system escrow ini akan membantu freelancer atau pebisnis pemula untuk menjamin bahwa mereka akan dibayar. Chayo mas, semoga ada yang mau bikin escrow service di Jakarta.