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Am I doing something wrong as a client? Why are my hires so bad?

Ace Contributor
Jonathan L Member Since: Oct 20, 2015
1 of 58

So I've been on these sites for a couple years, and for some reason all the hires I make have the same pattern: they are extremely slow or don't do any work at all even from the get go (often will work for a few minutes and make it seem like they made progress), make promises that they don't fulfill, and just disappear whenever they feel like it during conversation without any notice (while I sit there wondering if they will come back). They always have excuses and after the first or second person doing this every day I realized they are just lying. 


So you probably already figured out that these were all low cost free freelancers, so I guess it's my fault for not learning my lesson or expecting to get quality service at low cost, but I did vet all their work and they all had great reviews in general. I just don't understand what the problem is: I mean the last person I hired gave me a price and I accepted it without even negotiating, so could it be price related issue even when i'm giving the freelancer everything he/she asked for (and also incentivize with bonus)? I understand that they may be working on other jobs or trying to solicit new ones, but why wouldn't they just tell me so I can set the proper expectations instead of wasting all this time waiting? Why do they accept my job if they don't have the time nor will to work on it? Is their plan to work on the job for 10, 20, 60, however many minutes or so whenever they have free time, stretching out the job for weeks or months and expect the client to wait for them even though they said the whole job would only take a few days? Are they outsourcing the work or trying to figure out the skills required to do the job? I mean, they can't possibly think that the client will be happy with their performance (which also prevents them getting future work and keeping you as a client)? Why do a bad job and get a bad review? 


Then if I ask them if they still want the job they'll say yes, but things don't change, and some get mad when you bring up your concerns, acting like you're so a-hole for not thinking their behavior is normal? I always start out by giving them the carrot and lots of freedom but when that doesn't work, neither noes the stick. I am just so confused by their thought process and everytime wonder if I am somehow being scammed. Each and every time I just keep asking myself if there is something I am missing. 


Please advise. I am so confused. 


P.S. Does anyone know if cancelled jobs actually factor into job success percentage? Perhaps this is why the score does not reflect their actual performance?

Community Guru
Kanwal F Member Since: Apr 20, 2015
2 of 58

After reading all this, the point I figured out is that unfortunately you're doing work with unprofessional people. I as a freelancer can never thought of such behavior with my any client even If I am not happy with the price he pay to me.


My advise for you is to make sure to hire the person that can provide you best possible work rather than hiring low cost free freelancers. And before hiring make clear expectations with the freelancer in terms of quality and time, set reasonable deadlines by taking in confidence the freelancer and then stick to them. If the freelancer is not able to meet the expectations then leave feedback based on his performance. A bad feedback is not really bad in nature, it will not only help freelancer to realize his mistakes and improve but also save other clients from hiring unprofessional people. 



Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 58

You said yourself that you are hiring cheap. You also take a chance with noobs. I gave a few noobs a chance and it didn't turn out well. The only time taking a chance on a noob is worth it is if you have a non-critical job where time doesn't matter too much.


The problems you have are just one reason why I have clients who stick with me for years. If my competition wasn't a bunch of incompetents, I might actually have a hard time. I also have clients who only hire certain people because they've been burned too many times. Some places just keep ruining their rep over and over again.


My advice is to find people who charge professional rates, have a history, and then work with them on a test project (paid) to see how they do.  Only take a chance on a noob if it's something that isn't critical.  I always had them accept the job and then disappear. Then, when I'd ping them a couple days after it's due, they'd say they were sick and then get it back to me the next day. It was always terrible too.


The thing with this place is that you really have to work to find the right people. You can get a vibe from people when you chat with them. Even though I gave noobs a chance, I kinda got a vibe from them if they were any good after a little chat.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
4 of 58

Both provider's suggestions have a lot of validity.  I'm a huge advocate of Skype chats just to get a feel for the person's comprehension of your needs.  This also lets you determine in a second if their language skills are sufficient to understand and deliver the product.


Hiring cheap is asking for trouble.  Hiring a new-comer not always - but check their credentials before hiring and have that Skype chat.  Everyone was new to the platform at some point so lumping all noobs into a "Never Hire" category is unfair.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
5 of 58

Jonathan, I'm on the both sides of the fence here and in my experience, cheap very often means cheap. People who bid the lowest rates here are those who are desperate, who are amateurs, or who are fraudsters.


If somebody bids very low, chances are that they have nothing else to offer. Usually, with time, this attitude will reflect on their job success score since cancellations have an impact. This, however, may take some time to emerge on one's profile since not all disgruntled clients leave feedback.


When I hire people I immediately dismiss unrealistically low bids because I know for sure that those are just trouble. Depending on the category, you can get work done for a reasonable price if you accept to hire newbies. But you need to learn to read between the lines in order to decipher their proposals and profiles.


Yesterday, for instance, I hired a Linux guru for a simple task. He had 0 job history but his profile and proposal demonstrated that he had the required skills, I also sleuthed a bit and found his LinkedIn profile.


His rate was within the average range of all rates that I received. I choose him because I knew that as a beginner, he would want to receive a stellar first rating. And this is exactly what happened. He ended up with a professional wage, I ended up with a professional service and he ended up with a stellar rating.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Ace Contributor
Jonathan L Member Since: Oct 20, 2015
6 of 58

The person I hired seemed to be one of those up and coming providers too. I think he/she may have been top rated at the time in fact. Maybe there is something that I am doing wrong or could do better? What kind of communication do you have with the people you hire? Do you have discussions with them over chat for example, which requires more time and attention, or leave a set of directions for them to complete on a daily basis with minimal communication? Are there any kind of expectations that you set from the get go with each person you hire? 



Community Guru
Gerry S Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
7 of 58

Speaking rhetorically, contemptible wages elicits contemptible behaviour.


The fact you let them work for you, does not mean they "like" you (for having to work for you at wages that are ?).


Simple experiment: hire a few at different rates and note the behaviour.

Ace Contributor
Jonathan L Member Since: Oct 20, 2015
8 of 58

So you think there is an inherent understanding between a client and a low-cost freelancer that work performance be contemptible? Is that their perspective when they set their rates low?

Active Member
Allen E H Member Since: Feb 12, 2016
9 of 58

Would you take an important client for a meeting on a project to a Mcdonalds and expect a steak? why would you be surprised if what you got did not turn out to be a steak.  truly you get what you pay for in life but that is only true when you are willing to put effort in to manage that.   Why would anyone put some important project or process that can affect your relationships with your customers and their satisfactions at risk by having expectations that are ungrounded.  Most of my work doesn't come from this site and business in general outside of upwork seem to be more cautious on who they shack up with.  There is no problem finding great help anywhere in the world.  I have a team of Indian developers that are top notch.  We split the profits on jobs after expenses and it works out fine.  I get a lot more work, high-quality complex work from them that is hard to find anywhere in high availability.  I get that because I pay them very competitively.  I get a lot more than just the face value. They want my work and do backflips and go the extra mile always because I make it worth their while.


Try paying a competitive wage to qualified freelancers abroad or at home, the difference will be obvious. You get what you pay for

Never teach a pig to sign, it is a waste of your time and it annoys the pig.
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 58

There is nothing wrong from a tactical perspective with hiring low-cost contractors, as long as you understand the risks and hire enough to hedge your bets.


As a client, I have successfully hired low-cost, mid-range, and high end contractors.


When I hire low-cost contractors, I'll typically hire between four to six and give them identical assignments, in order to obtain satisfactory results from at least one. This can result in significant savings.