Are the pay bands "Entry-Level/Intermediate/Expert" helpful to anyone? The salary bands have little to no correlation to experience level, only to the freelancer's self-perception. Freelancers set their own rates.
Upwork has recently adjusted the bands by job category, but the breakpoints are price percentiles, not experience percentiles.
These pay bands and their names are not consistent in a global market. Salary dot com says a junior programmer living and working in Palo Alto commands 15.7x what the same person commands in Bangalore. Clients do expect that they will get lower priced talent from certain countries. These one size fits all pay band names are highly inaccurate when taking geography into consideration.
I suggest that Upwork apply a different naming convention to the pay bands, like Low/Medium/High, or Budget/Competitive/Premium.
What seasoned clients are really looking for in a freelancer is independence. They most often complain that freelancers are too low on the independent thinker continuum.
"So and so is fine at following directions literally, but it's garbage in-garbage out. His rate is low, but I have to manage his work under a microscope. I spend a lot of time spelling things out for him.
"On the other hand, there's a guy I pay 10x as much per hour, but I don't even need to send requirements - just a quick note. He understands exactly what we need and just does it. And he's not afraid to challenge me if I'm on the wrong track - he's definitely not a 'yes man.' He brings so much value to our team, it's worth it for me to pay his rate."
Follower/Implementer/Leader is really how clients perceive freelancers, but self-set hourly rates do not tell that story.
Allan, you made interesting comments, but given your profile is private, I can't even tell if you're a freelancer or a client. I hope some clients will read your post and add their comments, because I'm strictly a freelancer so I probably do not have much insight into client psychology.
The payment levels seem to be applied by clients subjectively, especially, if higher rates are affected.. I sometimes see incredibly low budgets linked to $$$ (the symbol for high fees). If a client selected that he only wants to pay the lowest rates then I can be sure that this is true and abstain from applying.
As a freelancer, they are not helpful. I ignore them as best I can.
I think the client chooses the level and also chooses the budget (for fixed rate work). I wish Upwork would automatically set it based on the client's budget so it could at least be a helpful filtering tool.
Right now the levels are not useful as a filter. I have had some decent paying "entry level" projects and I declined $5 for 10 hours of work at an "expert level". I think part of the problem is that it is an international platform. I pretty much ignore the levels as they are currently way too subjective. I wouldn't mind if the levels were discontinued. I can't imagine they could be that helpful to clients either since many experienced freelancers probably just ignore them.
I agree that from a freelancer point of view they are subjective to the point of being nearly worthless. I say nearly, because it does give me some insight into what the client might be thinking. Whether I personally agree with something being "Expert" or "Entry Level" it does signal me when the intention is rock bottom prices over anything else. Conversely at least looking for the highest expertise as a stronger criteria also says something. However, these are just small indications that can have some value but in the end don't mean more than that. If the job looks interesting and the client has taken the time to provide details that suggest it has been thought about for more than 2 minutes , then it can be worth going after regardless of expressed level desired.
@Scott B wrote:
If the job looks interesting and the client has taken the time to provide details that suggest it has been thought about for more than 2 minutes , then it can be worth going after regardless of expressed level desired.
Yes, that's what counts.
I'm so sick of all this "I'm going to get myself a cheap developer from a poor country" attitude.
The only way to get somebody cheap is if he doesn't know his own value. That's a small number of developers to begin with. And after a while he will eventually figure things out. And once he does, goodbye. He'll leave your project half finished without even looking back.
Thank you Gabriel B. For an African Beninese who did not know the realities of Western programmers I was exploited for scraps. But my research has allowed me to open my eyes and understand this market a little more.
My latest misadventure to date is related to a friend, a colleague who applied for a writing project by a famous French client (I specify) who offers a rate of $ 4 to $ 12 per word. But imagine that he called my friend directly on his mobile phone and offered him a totally discounted rate of $2 a word, and when my friend wanted to know why, he told him that "as we are in Benin (West Africa), that the cost of living is low and that we do not deserve to be paid at a normal rate despite the quality of work is that of a professional writer. blah blah blah blah blah it was a real insult.
Kinhou F wrote:
My latest misadventure to date is related to a friend, a colleague who applied for a writing project by a famous French client (I specify) who offers a rate of $ 4 to $ 12 per word. But imagine that he called my friend directly on his mobile phone and offered him a totally discounted rate of $2 a word,
Most writers would bite the client's hand off being offered $ 2 per word.....
How is what happened to your friend your misadventure? (Free profile advice: Don't set a profile rate at over 4 times the rate you last worked an hourly contract at. It makes you look silly to clients.)