And stop moving apartments all the time!
July 16, 2012 12:36 PM   Subscribe

How can I best manage documents for a fleet of freelancers online? Particularly including signing W-9s and contracts digitally.

So, say that I have a bunch of freelance writers. There are two particular administrative things involved:

1. One-time: they should sign a contract, and fill out and sign W-9.

2. Also they should be able to keep mailing address updated.


* I'd like to get an email from the system when a writer updates her address. (I mean, I'd REALLY like it to update my payee system in my online banking interface, but I know that's not going to happen.)

* By "sign" I'm okay with "HIT X TO INDICATE YOUR ACCEPTANCE."

I'd like to give new people a URL, basically, that says "What follows is a contract and a W-9; fill them out and hit save. You can manage your mailing address here."

Then I guess... that mails the completed paperwork to me? Or lives in a database? (Though would a database be secure? Eek scary.)

Can I... build a thing? Is there a system that does this? I have no idea. I got nothing.
posted by RJ Reynolds to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can't a payroll processor do this for you?
posted by JPD at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2012

Response by poster: (Totally good point, and I should have mentioned: pretty sure a payroll processor would be pretty awful for everyone. Payroll systems are great when you have people on salary. But they make no sense when you're not paying unemployment insurance, and when everyone's check is a different amount every month....)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2012

My account uses EchoSign. I'm happy with it and assume he is, since he keeps using it.

The only way to force people to keep an mailing address updated is to make them fill out their address each month when submitting their time sheets. How are you managing time sheets or the hours reporting that generates these variable pay checks?

(Alternatively, pay with ACH and you wouldn't need an address at all...)
posted by DarlingBri at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2012

I have done this sort of thing a few times (as in filled such out). Some systems basically say "typing in your name and the date is the same as a legally binding signature". There are currently free sources online for doing things like typing info into pdf files. All you need is a pdf file coded so it can be typed on. (That isn't true of all pdf's).

I found it very annoying and inconvenient to have to print and mail a w-9. Someone else was happy to get it as an email attachment with all the info and no signature. I don't know why there are such different standards out there.

I have no idea what would be involved in other parts of your question. Though I will add one freelance site requires me to "request payout" once a week and pays via paypal. So I don't think they care so much about my mailing address.
posted by Michele in California at 2:14 PM on July 16, 2012

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