New site requires escrow payments to ensure freelancers get paid

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In this era of unemployment, many people who grew accustomed to working for a single employer have turned to freelancing for a lot of different clients. The problem, though, is that freelancers do the work and then the commissioning business doesn’t pay up.

When I get calls from a freelancers who have been stiffed, I haven’t historically had a lot of good advice to give them. In the past, I would suggest trying to shame a non-payer in some way online, maybe with a site like TheyDidntPay.org that one of my listeners started. But that often wasn’t enough to shake the money loose and it certainly didn’t pay the bills.   

But now there may be a solution. I read in The Wall Street Journal about a startup called Zintro.com that requires the hiring business to put the money it intends to pay a freelancer into escrow. Once the work is completed, Zintro releases the money into the freelancer’s account, generally through PayPal.

Now, I don’t know if this business model will be successful. But it deals with those calls I get so often.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired in March 2011.



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