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Clients vs Freelancers

Community Leader
Richard T Member Since: May 26, 2016
1 of 19

My name is Richard Toland. I was a 5 star rated freelancer on Elance for years prior to them becoming Upwork. Currently, on Upwork… I have a 100% satisfaction rating, nothing in my feedback on my profile below 5 stars, a full portfolio (half of which have won awards), multiple test scores that place me in the top 10% to 20% of all freelancers worldwide on Upwork, and an “elite” member of the Upwork Enterprise Bench. For those of you who are not aware of what that is, you can’t buy your way onto the Enterprise Bench. It’s by invite only. You have to be that good and have a profile as strong as mine to even be considered. I have that badge on my profile.

I am a graphic designer by trade. I am fully degreed as a designer. I have over 15 years of experience, half of which was at ETS (yup, those **bleep** SATs and GREs everyone takes to get into college) as one of their Lead Graphic Artists. I also did some time at Trilyn… another full blown corporate professional production department.
In short, with all due humility… I am that good. I know that sounds arrogant, but I am last person that would ever brag. I just like making my clients happy and the only reason I point all of this out is so you know where this is coming from.

I came up with a list of things that I hope would be an “olive branch” between clients and us freelancers. By no means do I think this is the end all of all lists, but at least hopefully it’s a start. As a freelancer myself, these are the biggest problems I see…

1. The fees – lol… No, it’s not. Sorry I had to include that. Just couldn’t help myself.


2. “This is an easy job”, “This would take 5 minutes for a good designer”, etc. – Okay first of all, no job ever in the history of Graphic Design (can’t speak for all the categories) ever just took 5 minutes. If it only took minutes, you would have done it yourself. You spent more time than that just placing the post in the first place.


3. “I’m looking for freelancers with the lowest rates” – Well then you my friend are looking for the cheapest, lowest quality as well. And you shouldn’t be surprised or take shots at Upwork (or us freelancers) because you were not satisfied with the results. There’s a big difference between a $99 paint job on your car and a $1000 paint job on your car. Same deal applies here. If your hiring $2 an hour labor in some other country, well… you asked for it.


4. “I’ll supply more details to the freelancer chosen” – Let me make this blunt. When I see that… my first thought is you don’t care about your own project enough to give me details in your little job postings. So why should I care about your little posting? Seriously, this might make sense if you wanted me to redraw the blueprints for a B-2 bomber… but your brochure or flyer isn’t classified.


Secondly, please… do explain… how am I supposed to give you an honest estimate if I don’t know what it is you want done? You might as well of said “I’ll tell you what the job is after I hire you to do the job”.


5. On that note, please… please do read your own post. I kid you not, this was a recent post I saw… “Ineed banner for my ecommerce business please share youre portfolio of banner”. And then in the requirements for this post… Fluent English language required.


Okay I get you’re in another country, English is obviously not your second language. Just be honest about it. Tell me that.

Any one of these is giant red flag for us freelancers. Truth be told, I wont even bid on a job with any of these.
Now, let’s not say I didn’t address the other side…

Oh yes, freelancers… we screw up too!

1. Low bidding – Bid what you are worth. Trying to outbid someone to India, Pakistan, or some other country is pointless.

2. Don’t bid on a project that you aren’t ready to complete. In other words, if you have 5 other projects going, get them done first. Then come back and pick up an another project.

3. This kind of goes hand and hand with what I just said… Do what you say you’re going to do. Every time you don’t, it gives us freelancers a bad name. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been hired to “clean up” or finish something another freelancer did not do.

4. Stop bidding on stupid things. If someone wants a website for $100 bucks, walk away. Don’t even bid on it. Bid the real time, the real effort, and the real cost it would take to do it.

5. Stop spamming clients. Read their posts. Ask questions. Understand what they need. Blanket spam responses to every post just makes us all look stupid.

Community Leader
David D Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
2 of 19

That's a pretty good list. I'd have to say for me, as a freelancer, my biggest problem is the lack of details in the job listings. 


Yes, I understand you don't want to type out a book, but the more details you give us, the better understanding of the job we have and the easier it is for us to apply for jobs we believe we're qualified for or ignore the ones we're not.


And yes, you may have sensitive material that you don't want to post publically for anyone to look at and I get that, but if that material is vital to understanding what the job entails then please, by all means, at least paraphrase it somewhat. 

View solution in original post

Community Leader
Richard T Member Since: May 26, 2016
3 of 19

Yeah it is. I usually tell them I am willing to sign an NDA just so I can get a better idea of the scope of work. Smiley Happy

Community Leader
David D Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
4 of 19

I am more than willing to sign an NDA. Doesn't bother me one bit. Really shouldn't bother any freelancer. 

Ace Contributor
Daniel S Member Since: Apr 2, 2014
5 of 19

Love the list! But while some of us do quality work and value ourselves as persons, there are other who are happy to do a crappy $2 job, and of course to deliver what they are paid to (even though I saw the same quality fo $200 jobs, from same people). So you see, there is a balance here. Clients are aiming for those freelancers, thus making their job posts look like some "come on, I have some work, jump in the truck" kinda' deal.

Community Guru
Jutta B Member Since: Jun 7, 2016
6 of 19

like the list too (not too fond of the bragging and bragging it is).

re 2$ people- keep in mind 2 USD may be nothing to us in the western half of the world, it's a LOT of money here in india (where I am still held prisoner ugh).

And yes - i don't even think twice about jobs that don't give me at least an inkeling of whats involved,i don't look twice to jobs that want 9000 words translated for 20 $ - those jobs are fine in india.They'll come back anyways..maybe with a lesson learned.or not.

" The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth will ever be "
Community Leader
Rekha S Member Since: Jul 13, 2015
7 of 19

Sorry Jutta, but $2 is not a LOT in India, specialy if you live in cities or towns. Where I live, $2 (120 Rs) will fetch me 4 apples or a small meal of rotis and side dish in a hole-in-the-wall kind of food joint. 


It may be a lot in a remote village or for a unskilled, daily wage earner, but 80% of them definitely don't have internet, electricity or the basic educational qualifications to freelance on Upwork or other places.


I have repeated this many times in the forum -- those who work for $2 are part-timers with a steady source of income from a regular job, or do it just for pocket change.



If you think an educated person can live a simple, bare-minimum, middle class existence (on their own without any help or financial assistance) on $100-150 a month in even a tier-3 city like Jaipur, you need to open your eyes to the reality of modern India.  

Community Guru
Jan L Member Since: Jul 5, 2015
8 of 19

As a designer myself I could add some things on the list and I wish you to tell me if I ask too much:




I really would like to know what is your target market, life span of the design and your other messages.

Sometimes, I had to fish out those answers and most of the time it is or super-vague answer ( Target market: EVERYONE) or client didn''t thought about that at all. You can say goodbye to design career if you take your business so lightly. Turns out that designers end up caring much more than clients.


If you change your direction, please consider paying so far the job done, time invested, etc... We just executed your decisions, if you still want us to do new direction- fair thing to do is to pay extra. 


We are open to suggestions, but most of the revisions just screams belittleng and untrust. Good designer knows a lot about colour theory, balance, typography, grid... It is our job. Illustrations are sometimes though to change. Please respect our time and know your limts.


We still own bragging rights. It would be fair if yoyu let us put our work in our portfolios. We can wait until launch. If you want to take credits to ou work, please make us know and pay double at least.


Community Guru
Robert James R Member Since: Apr 17, 2015
9 of 19

Wow. I came in here expecting a fight.


I like the list. As an addition for the Clients side, clients should always respect the freelancer's work limits specially if the job did not mention "extra."


As an example, let's say Client A hires freelancer B for Project C. All goes well with the contract set up. A few days later, Client A asks Freelancer B to do Project C+ or Project D or more.


B did not agree to a contract with that requirement since B may not have the skills or simply didn't include it in the proposed budget/bid. If B doesn't do it, A will give B poor feedback and will greatly affect B's freelancing career on UW (JSS, public feedback, other algorithm BS).


For freelancers, specially noobs and whiners, freaking educate yourself about how to vet clients and job posts as well as how to make sure you're always on the right side should things go sour between you and the client. 


By "always on the righ side" I mean:


1. Don't violate TOS

2. Read no.1

Community Leader
Richard T Member Since: May 26, 2016
10 of 19

lol... Nope, no fight intended. I was just hoping maybe we freelancers and clients to come to table and understand each other a little more.