I do contract work on several websites, WorkMarket and OnForce are the primary ones.  Every “ticket” I accept always carries the fear in the back of my head that I will do the work and not get paid.  I have been using this platform for about the last 5 years and it has never happened before.  Then in March, I did a job even though I knew the work required would make the payment around minimum wage for the time spent doing it but I needed the money.  It was going to carry me through to the end of the semester paying for the necessary vital things like Food and Gasoline.  It is now May 7th and I still have not been paid for work that I completed on March 21 and calls to the ‘buyer’ or the company that I actually performed the work for always dump me in to the voicemail queue that states they are experiencing high call volumes and to leave a message for someone to call back or wait.  I have waited.  And waited. And waited.  All to no avail.

The ticket came through WorkMarket and I have searched their website top to bottom and it seems that they have taken a page out of PayPal’s game plan and intentionally made it hard to find or omitted it entirely from their website.  They have an automated phone system that is used to check in and out of the jobsite when handling a service call through their platform and using it to get through to a live person is about as difficult as it would be to get through to the President Of The Unites States by calling the main White House number.  I did it on 5/4 and spoke to someone who had an attitude that seemed to be aimed at trying to make me feel like they were doing me a favor for calling me outside of the normal corporate business hours, except that the WorkMarket platform has engineers in the field 24×7 which means that the support line should be open during those times to handle support issues that the Field Engineers that they pimp out can reach them for support.

I am sure that WorkMarket gets their money upfront, when the assignments are posted and only the engineers like me are left to our payment when the buyers decide they want to.  When the platform launched, they bragged about the fact that payment would be required at the time the ticket was completed and that there were no terms.  Then they added 7 day terms and now I have seen tickets with 30 day terms.  Keep in mind that at least 80% of the Field Engineers who use WorkMarket are independent, self-employed people who are basically running their own small business where they are required to pay for their expenses out of pocket and purchase any needed parts on their own dime, and sometimes they are reimbursed by the buyer.

If you own an HP product and get in-home or onsite warranty repair from HP, the Field Engineer is hired via the OnForce platform.  The terms of the work order tickets from the buyers, HP is a buyer, often have clauses that will reduce payment by various percentages based upon what they perceive as partial performance:  not turning in the required consumables within the specified time (usually 24 hours) or not crossing every T or dotting every I can also reduce or completely remove your payment and when this happens, OnForce and WorkMarket always err in favor of the purse strings.  They will suspend your account thus depriving you of the ability to take tickets. 

The truly frustrating part is that this minute amount of money was supposed to be my food and gas money for the last couple of weeks of the semester.  It was also supposed to cover the gas for me to accept more jobs because I used money and gas I did not have to do the work.  Now, I do not have that money nor do I have the money that I laid out to get to the jobsite.  So as a result, I have no money for food or gasoline right now.  I mean, it wont kill me to not eat or to only eat pop tarts or granola bars that I can purchase from the 99 Cent Only Store but it just saddens and frustrates me that WorkMarket and the buyer seem to feel that this is a totally acceptable situation, that there is no urgency on the part of WorkMarket, the Broker, to ensure that I am paid even though WorkMarket themselves got paid.

Ok, so maybe I am just upset because someone sat at the table next to me with Subway and all I have had to eat today is a pop tart and a granola bar.  It also does not look like that is going to change anytime soon.  I am trying very hard not to lose my composure through all of this,  but it is so hard to keep my chin up every time I discover that the soothing light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train coming my way.  If it were not for the flowers in my life, the darkness and despair would surely consume me.

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