Frequently Asked Questions

How does Ditto work, in general?


Ditto is a simple, intuitive invoicing and payment platform that ties project deliverables to payments to help freelancers get paid on time, every time.

Ditto breaks projects and retainers up into smaller “Phases” that are funded by the client before work begins. Clients only have to fund small chunks of a project at a time, and risk of the project getting off track is minimized.

For each Phase, Ditto sends an invoice, collects payment from the client, and then holds the funds in escrow while the freelancer works.

At the end of a phase, the freelancer requests payment. Ditto confirms with the client that work has been completed as promised, and then immediately transfers the funds to the freelancer, allowing them to more accurately predict cashflow.

Is there a subscription?


No, there's no subscription or monthly fee. We only get paid when you get paid, and what we get paid is 2% of your income. (Less than many payment processing fees!) That means that if you have a slow month, you're not paying for a tool you don't use.

How do I get paid?


Ditto eliminates the need to chase down invoice payments and allows freelancers to experience frequent, predictable payments, more like a salaried employee.

Ditto asks the freelancer to break their projects up into “Phases” and then asks the client to fund each Phase before work begins. Notifications keep both sides informed and/or prompt for action (such as making a payment) every step of the way. The project dashboard is an up-to-date representation of which phases have been funded, as well as what work is in progress.

Funds from a completed phase are released to the freelancer before the start of the next phase.The money will be deposited directly into your bank account.

Phases are determined by the freelancer before the start of the project, giving the freelancer full control over how frequently or infrequently they get paid. You can also add or edit phases during the project, as long as they haven't already been paid for.

In addition to having a better sense for WHEN you’ll be paid, you’ll also never be left wondering IF you’ll be paid – because you never start work without knowing that there’s money waiting for you in the Ditto account.

I just signed up for Ditto. Where do I start?


Congrats on taking the first step towards Agile collaboration.

Check out our Quick Start Guide for a step-by-step overview of where to go from here. The guide includes things like how to set up your first project, how to share Ditto with your client, and more!

Does Ditto provide legal support?


In a word, no. We are not lawyers. Our goal is to keep you from needing legal support!

Ditto helps get a contract with your client in place before work can begin. This contract includes terms and conditions which must be agreed to in order to work through Ditto, as they outline the way Ditto operates, including providing an overview of how phases work, how funds are held in escrow, when they will be released, and how to proceed when there are disputes over project funds.

It should be noted that while Ditto provides the framework and tools for a working relationship that encourages clear communication, it is not legally responsible for disputes that may happen during the course of work, nor does it provide legal advice of any kind.Think of Ditto as a neutral third party and assistant. We believe that freelancer and client WANT to work well together. We’re here to help and support the freelancer/client relationship, not to be an enforcer in adversarial situations.

Please see our terms and the contract we use for details/legalese.

What if a contractor and client disagree?


Ditto assumes that both freelancer and client have all intentions of creating an open, positive working relationship. When used correctly, with good intentions and open communication, Ditto is designed to prevent disputes before they arise.

When a freelancer believes that a Phase is complete and requests payment, the client may reject that request. If the client does not approve the release of funds, he must provide the freelancer with the reasons for rejection, giving the freelancer an opportunity to remedy the situation.

The freelancer will then perform updates or work as requested and re-submit the payment request via Ditto. Should the freelancer disagree with the client’s assessment and request, the project will be considered “in dispute.”

Ditto provides channels and guidelines for early dispute communication, but Ditto is not liable if the freelancer and client have disputes that require legal mediation or intervention. Ditto will not release funds being held in escrow without either the unanimous consent of both freelancer and client or a legal order to do so.

Please see our contract for full details on this dispute policy. All freelancers and clients must agree to this contract in order to work through Ditto.

Is Ditto's payment processing safe?


We use Plaid and Stripe to facilitate online payments. Plaid verifies the bank institution credentials, then Stripe processes the payment. Both providers are industry-leading financial technology companies, and we've chosen them for their stability and commitment to security.

That being said, we know many people are hesitant to enter online banking credentials anywhere outside a bank's own site. We understand; it's smart to learn more about the security of a platform before sharing financial details with it. Plaid is a secure, audited, and trusted system that has built partnerships with most major US-based financial institutions and thousands of credit unions across the country. Plaid is also a trusted provider for major financial apps and services, like Venmo, Robinhood, and Stripe. Put simply, banks are on the Plaid platform because banks trust Plaid.

Please read about Plaid security if you seek more information to help you make an informed decision.An important note: Ditto never has direct access to anyone's bank username or bank password. When our service prompts you for this information, you are actually interacting with a secure window into the Plaid system that pops up onto their screen. All credentials are securely encrypted between that pop up window and Plaid, using industry-standard end-to-end encryption.

How does Ditto pricing work?


Ditto charges a small percentage per transaction (2%) to cover the costs of holding funds in escrow, processing payments, and developing and maintaining the Ditto product.

We understand that freelance work is by nature a little up-and-down, so we’ve tried to make our pricing scale alongside your needs.

You never pay out of pocket for Ditto - we simply withhold 2% to pay Ditto from your client's payment. We don't want you to pay if you're not using the platform, especially if it's a slow month.

Also, remember that the cost of using Ditto is a qualified business expense - it's tax deductible!

How many phases should my project have?


The right number of phases really depends on the size of your project and the nature of the relationship with your client.

For project-based work, we suggest breaking the project down into 3-6 chunks with tangible deliverables and timelines for each. An ideal Phase contains work that can be accomplished in a short, 2-3 week period. A good way of approaching Phase breakdowns might be to think about how often you want to be paid.

If your project is more like a retainer (i.e. you’re contracting for a certain number of hours), then we recommend setting up Phases at regular intervals – usually every two weeks or once a month, like a paycheck. Simply assign a lump sum value to the hours you are contracted to work, and charge the client that amount up front, to be held in escrow. It’s often helpful to provide clients with somewhat frequent updates as you go — for example “here’s what I’ve done this week: (list of activities goes here); you’ve used 50% of your phase hours.” — so there won’t be any surprises.

Remember that you can always add Phases as you go, so if you find that you need to make adjustments, you can!

I can't connect my bank account. Help!


If you (or your client) is having trouble paying an invoice - perhaps getting an error message along the lines of "couldn't connect to your institution" - this is happening at the "bank authentication" step of our payment process, which is handled by Plaid.

We use Plaid because it's a best-in-class financial technology provider, and the experience is intended to feel seamless for clients. Rather than entering accounting and routing numbers for your bank, you instead enter the login information you use for online banking. Plaid uses that information to authenticate and connect your bank account in order to process an ACH payment - this information is never stored. (Learn more about Plaid here.)

If you've never interacted with Plaid before, it can be a little confusing.Here are some suggested troubleshooting steps:
• confirm that you're entering bank login information (not Ditto login information)
• confirm that you're entering bank login information for your checking account, not login info for a credit card account
• confirm that the login info is being entered correctly

As always, please do reach out to us if you're having trouble - we're here to help!

Do I need to send my contractor a 1099?


In a word, no.

One of the primary benefits of working through Ditto is the fact that we handle all of the tax forms for independent contractors.

Still have questions? Just ask!