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Closing Fixed Price contracts with no activity

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
31 of 98

@Michael R wrote:

I spoke with two clients, and both were......surprised. They had no work on Upwork in the past two weeks or more, and when they received this mails, they did not open[] them. Certainly many other clients thought, "when they close the contract, why should I do, who cares?".


Bingo! "They did not open them." And why should they? Whether contracts are left open intentionally or through negligence, why would clients think they need closure? How could they imagine Upwork cares? How could they divine that their response or lack thereof has any impact on their freelancer's livelihood? Why would they not see any communication at all from Upwork as irrelevant to the work done or remaining to be done—at best, trivia and at worst, spam?

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Community Guru
Isabelle Anne A Member Since: May 19, 2014
32 of 98
Sandra, but the feedback period is supposed to open for 14 days AFTER the contract has been closed (whether ended by Upwork or by the client).
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Sandra T Member Since: Nov 26, 2014
33 of 98

Isabella,

 

I understand that. I just think the idea is that after loads of opportunity for the client to close and give feedback, the line needed to be drawn somewhere. I mean, do you really think a client who didn't close for 76 days and gets two emails with another 14 days of opportunity, will make use of another 14 days to give feedback after Upwork closes the contract? Not 100% impossible, of course, but let's be honest, highly doubtful.

 

------------------------------------

 

I haven't made this comment anywhere yet, as I am a bit afraid of a virtual hanging, but during the past months of all kinds of discussions on JS and what not, it has also often crossed my mind that there are possibly quite a few open contracts where things didn't work out and both parties sort of walked away silently. In these cases, freelancers probably prefered having the job open, as closing might lead to negative feedback or impact of some sort. To me, this sudden closing policy thingy is Upwork's way of cleaning house. And sorry, but someone who really deserves a really high score is someone who is either really clean or really good at cleaning up after themselves.

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Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
34 of 98

You don't punish the majority simply because the minority has screwed up.

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Sandra T Member Since: Nov 26, 2014
35 of 98

Jean,

 

with all due respect, but nobody even knows yet whether this will impact their score or not. If you have a really good 12 or 24 month score, a bunch of closed projects (and most freelancers seem so have just a handful) won't hurt, as those older scores will kick in instead. And if the freelancer continues their good work, the 6 month score will be good again by the time the older ones expire. Okay, the whole thing doesn't look pretty on the job history, but that changes again when some time passes by.

 

And btw, nobody but maybe Upwork has the complete data on who is the actual minority or majority in this case.

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Community Guru
Isabelle Anne A Member Since: May 19, 2014
36 of 98

Sandra, I personally haven't been affected by this "closing fixed-price contracts" move made by Upwork, but I would be furious if I had. To address your points:

 

1) "I mean, do you really think a client who didn't close for 76 days and gets two emails with another 14 days of opportunity, will make use of another 14 days to give feedback after Upwork closes the contract? Not 100% impossible, of course, but let's be honest, highly doubtful."

 

Yes they would - and I'm saying this from my experience!! I have had several clients whom I've contacted several times (for months) before closing a contract myself. And what do you know - once they saw that I had actually ended the job, they left me feedback (5-star feedback, I might add).

 

2) "...it has also often crossed my mind that there are possibly quite a few open contracts where things didn't work out and both parties sort of walked away silently. In these cases, freelancers probably prefered having the job open, as closing might lead to negative feedback or impact of some sort. To me, this sudden closing policy thingy is Upwork's way of cleaning house. And sorry, but someone who really deserves a really high score is someone who is either really clean or really good at cleaning up after themselves."

 

I have to completely disagree. As many freelancers can confirm, countless clients are simply lazy and fall off the face of the earth - that or they're just not willing to let go of a freelancer yet. Real example: I had a fixed-price contract that had been inactive for several months, and I recently contacted my client to ask her to close the contract. She didn't reply, and then the next month I sent a reminder. She finally came back to me - with a lot of work - paid me a bonus, and has now gone silent again. This is just the way some clients are, and it doesn't mean that the freelancer doesn't deserve a good score!

 

"Cleaning house" is necessary now and again, but Upwork should have let the freelancers know that it was going to do that, and it should enable feedback to be left, because some clients would be willing to give freelancers a rating if the latter asked them to.

 

IsabellSmiley Happy

 

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Active Member
Hazel Jin M Member Since: Nov 6, 2014
37 of 98

I am also affected by this. I had 3 inactive fixed-rate contracts automatically closed.

 

I am fine with contracts being auto-closed but only if all of the following conditions are true:

 

1. on the second notification to the client, the freelancer will be also be contacted to confirm that there is no pending payment

 

2. the JS score won't be negatively affected

 

3. the jobs will appear on the Job History clearly marked. I don't want to hide those jobs because I performed those jobs to the best of my ability and they will serve as proof to future clients that I have experience doing those particular jobs. However, "No Feedback Given" is not acceptable, because it makes it seem that we did the job in a mediocre way that the client did not bother to give us a proper feedback. If Upwork wants to auto-close dormant jobs, then they should appear in our Job History as something like "Job automatically closed by Upwork due to client inactivity/lack of response."

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Community Guru
Beth T Member Since: Jan 18, 2015
38 of 98

Well, the general point is that Upwork continues to do things that upset their lifeblood (freelancers). And communication is beyond poor. There is little transparency here (maybe some after the fact, if you can call that transparency), but there is certainly a great deal of mystery.

 

I did some poking around about the JS score, and it says somewhere that Upwork can't reveal 100% of how the score is calculated, as some things must remain confidential. Really? Why? Can you imagine working a traditional job where your boss says, "The way we determine review and assess your performance is partially a secret." So ... is the number of times I use the restroom a factor? How paranoid would that make people? My guess is that when the client rates you on a scale of 1 to 10 at the end of the job (whether they'd use you again), that's part of the score, too.

 

I'm really terrified and don't know whether I should go back to school, check out other freelancing sites, visit a career counselor, try to get a traditional job after five years of working for myself ...

 

P.S. Has anyone noticed that Upwork's signature color is that of kryptonite?

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Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
39 of 98

@Sandra

 

Thankyou for your detailed and compassioned opinion. I can see that you've rumbled how I kept my stars and JS so high - I forced my clients to keep dodgy contracts open and only close the good ones! Nice catch.

 

"And sorry, but someone who really deserves a really high score is someone who is either really clean or really good at cleaning up after themselves"

 

...except what we're really talking about is cleaning up after our clients.

 

Things may or may not get back to normal for me - we'll have to wait till Sunday to see. But if they don't, then I'll lay the blame fairly at the feet of Upwork, and not at myself for not having the opportunity to live in the land of perfect hindsight.

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Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
40 of 98

Beth, you must be new around the forum. You wrote, 'My guess is that when the client rates you on a scale of 1 to 10 at the end of the job (whether they'd use you again), that's part of the score, too.' Oh yes, it most definitely is part, and quite a significant part at that, and numerous objections have been raised about this, some being

 

  1. The client might think 8 is a good score, but Upwork considers less than 9 a poor score,
  2. The client might not recommend the freelancer because he/she has no one to recommend to,
  3. If the question is intended to measure client SATISFACTION, it should ask something like "How satisfied are you with the freelancer's performance?"

In fact, as best I can recall, this was one of the most heavily criticized features of the Job Success metric, and that says something, because Job Success has generated a mountain range of criticism. It so happens that another heavily criticized aspect of Job Success was the negative effect of contracts closed without feedback, which is what this current discussion pertains to.

 

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