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7ba0ec2c
Community Member

Complaint: Upwork blocks communication beween clients and potential freelancers

I used Elance in the past and never had any problems. With Upwork, not only is it not user friendly or intuitive, I have read nothing but negative reviews from other users on the net. So, with that in mind, I write this post to help Upwork improve. 

 

On Elance, before choosing a freelancer, the client had the opportunity to communicate with freelancers who made proposals. This was key to the hiring process as it allowed the client to ask freelancers to clarify any proposals, provide more specific information, request more samples of work, etc. It also gave the freelancer the freedom to ask the client for any necessary clarifications, talk deadline flexibility, etc. 

 

Unfortunately, Upwork has implemented a communication black-out and does not allow for this kind of communciation at all. Thus, Upwork has completely thwarted the hiring process. With Upwork, you cannot communicate with a freelancer until after you have proposed to hire that person AND he/she has accepted. But how do you know if you want to hire someone if you cannot communciate about the important details mentioned in the last paragraph above? 

 

I thought Upwork's communication black out couldn't be true, so I contacted Upwork's help line yesterday and Mark Anthony confirmed that this is indeed the way the system is set up. He writes, "'(05:07:08 PM) Mark Anthony:' It is by designed of our system that you will be able to get a chance to communicate to a freelancer who has a pending offer when he accepts the job offer you sent. I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you."

 

 

This also causes another real problem and hits home to me right now. I offered to hire a freelancer 6 days ago, and he still has not responded. Tomorrow was the original deadline date I provided. I have worked with him before and so would have liked to have contacted him to see if something came up or what is going on. But I cannot. Upwork has blocked any client/freelancer communication. 

 

Mark Anthony said that I should lodge my complaint on this forum.

 

Upwork, please allow the client to conduct well-informed and educated hiring. Otherwise, there really is no point to using your system. I look forward to your response.  

17 REPLIES 17
lysis10
Community Member

I don't understand. What is keeping you from talking with a freelancer before you hire? I do it all the time with clients.

chris_macartwork
Community Member


@Ashley N wrote:

... ...With Upwork, you cannot communicate with a freelancer until after you have proposed to hire that person AND he/she has accepted.

 

 


Hi Ashley,

I'm a freelancer,  after sending a proposal I often get messages from the client before any offer is made or any proposal has been accepted by the Client.

 

So clients CAN contact the applicant. I don't understand why your communication is blocked.

 

The thing I would like changing is for the applicant to be able to amend their proposal after sending - as is the case on Elance.

 

 

Ashley, that is a misunderstanding.

 

you can discuss things with the freelancers to your heart's content before you send an offer to hire, it is the interview process.

 

do you mean people you invite, or people who apply for one of your jobs?

c02dd01c
Community Member

NO you can't! I just saw the same thing. ALL COMMUNICATION channels to ask anything is gone! I will NOT be using upwork

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Sorry about the confusion, Ashley.

 

You certainly can communicate with the freelancer before he accepts the offer and even before the offer is sent. The simplest way would be to go to your Messages tab, click on the name of the freelancer and send a message.

 

I'll follow up with our Customer Support team leads about the response that was given to you via the ticket.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

The original poster's comments may indicate unfamiliarity with the Upwork interface, but the comments touch upon one of the biggest problems on Upwork:

 

There is far, far too much communication between contractors and prospective clients.

 

Too often clients start talking to a contractor about a job and they just keep going back and forth with emails and messages and Skype or phone discussions, discussing the project, how to best do things, asking for concrete implementation ideas or even sample work.

 

It happens far too often and it is entirely inappropriate and unprofessional.

 

On another thread, a newbie contractor described spending about 8 hours in interview processes, and then she didn't even get hired.

 

Contractors need to understand that their time is valuable and their expertise has value, and clients should be paying for time.

 

It is fine for a client to interview me to verify that I am who I say I am, and that I know what I'm talking about.

 

But then when we start talking about your project, you're getting me to work on your behalf. Contractors need to learn to politely explain we're getting into actual discussion of the project now, and it is time to start a contract or choose a different contractor.

 

Clients need to be responsible and stop these excessive "interviews," which aren't really interviews, and simply tell contractors: "I can tell you have the expertise I'm looking for. I'm sending you a contract offer now. After you have accepted that, we'll get down to details of how we'll work on this project."

 Preston,

 

 You've given us a couple of hundred words and your solution -- one that could actually be implemented -- is what?

 

 Why should clients stop the endless interviews and trolling for free advice or suggestions if they can get away with it?

 

 It's up to freelancers to say to prospetive clients: you have enough information to evaluate my abilities, now fund escrow, and hire me or move on.

 

Maybe you could start an Upwork University tutoring clients and freelancers on how to be professional.

James, you're 100% correct.

 

Despite my call for clients to act professionally in this matter, it ultimately is up to the contractors to do so.

 

And yeah, I've been clamoring for better training for contractors for over a year now, in many threads, including the one titled "Introducing: oDesk Quality Training."

Preston, I would generally agree with you if we are talking about smaller jobs (like those typically done by newbies) or highly-specialized jobs (like those that you do).

In my field, financial analysis and modelling, when price of choosing wrong contractor is very high (ultimately inability to raise financing to move your company forward or wrong investment) particularly compared to the price paid to contractors, it is quite understandable that clients spend a lot of time interviewing potential contractors. The same happens in real life - the crazy 80-100 hours a week pulled by IB analysts and associates are mostly spent on pitch decks that go straight to bins. Broadly similar thing is happening in management consulting (though there there is a lot more waste happening once the project gets started). Now, because I have a lot of experience and most of my clients are not overburdened with bureaucracy, I can cut pitching time by a factor of 10, but still there is a lot dancing arround clients.

LOL. Ivan, I will take your word for it that the niche industry you work in uses a longer interview process than is used elsewhere.

 

But I think pretty much everybody writing in this thread is in agreement that Upwork does not "block communications" between clients and prospective hirees before clients hire somebody.

 

The original poster was probably getting confused by the fact that contractors can't talk to clients before even applying to a job. But that limitation is a good thing. And easily overcome. Just send a quick proposal, and you can ask a client as many questions as you want about their job.

 

As stated many times elsewhere:

If you see a job posted which lacks sufficient details for you to even be will no to apply to it, then you are not the right contractor for that job. Plenty of other contractors are available who understand that type of job better than you do. Sometimes you see a job which you feel like you don't understand and would need more details about. But I understand the client's needs based on what he wrote and I can confidently submit a proposal. Not every job is intended for every contractor.


@Preston H wrote:

As stated many times elsewhere:

If you see a job posted which lacks sufficient details for you to even be will no to apply to it, then you are not the right contractor for that job. Plenty of other contractors are available who understand that type of job better than you do. Sometimes you see a job which you feel like you don't understand and would need more details about. But I understand the client's needs based on what he wrote and I can confidently submit a proposal. Not every job is intended for every contractor.


 So when you see a 3 word job description, possibly in a foreign language, you "understand what the client needs" better than mere mortals because.....?

 

When a client posts a job that consists of no details, no scope, and based on the description you can't possibly know which price to bid then you still big accurately and others are clearly too stupid to mindread?

 

Clearly not every job is meant for every freelancer, and nobody said they are.


But if clients write gibberish job descriptions and freelancers don't have enough information to submit a meaningful proposal then that is not, as you keep suggesting, because the freelancers are incompetents with the IQ of a can of coca cola, but because the client has written a nonsensical job description.

 

Of course people can submit a proposal and accurately describe what they will be willing to do for the quoted price, but I am at a complete loss why you'd rather people waste their connects on nonsense job descriptions (which you, with your clairvoyant qualities and superior intellect and insight somehow understand in detail) than that clients were encouraged to help themselves find the right candidates by posting a meaningful job description in the first place!

 

When I see a job description that says just "Oil" and I decline to apply to it, it's not because I'm the idiot...

Petra, you are referring to what I would regard as extreme cases, and you are certainly correct that these job postings are just no good.

 

But I think such job postings are best ignored entirely. If a client posts gibberish, I am definitely not inspired to contact the client and ask for clarification, whether doing so would cost two connects or not.

 

I have seen many complaints, usually from programmers and web developers, about job postings which were perfectly reasonable but were brief. Some contractors expect an unreasonable amount of detail on the part of clients who have little more than an idea and need a bit of hand-holding to get started. And, yes, I am definitely more likely the contractor these clients need. Moreso than a developer who needs a more detailed project description in order to get started.

Preston,

 

The thing is:

 

Clients need educating that they are helping THEMSELVES by writing very detailed job descriptions.

 

The more detailed the job description the better the quality of the applications and applicants, and the less spam applications happen.

 

I do understad that maybe sometimes freelancers expect more than they strictly need, but in my experience the majority of job postings do not contain the info needed to submit an accurate quote without much luck.

 

It's no big deal with hourly contracts, as the expected scope can change and nobody loses out, but on fixed rate contracts it's very easy to under- or over-quote by a massive margin and really lose out.

 

I have also seen you use that same attitude when it was clear from the poster's comments that there genuinly were not enough details in a client's job posting to quote accurately.

 

Of COURSE freelancers can always withdraw their proposals upon clarification, but it's just such a waste of everyone's time, including the client's.

 

If clients simply post an accurate and comprehensive job posting then they won't have to answer the same obvious question (the asnwer to which should have been IN THE JOB POSTING!) over and over again. Freelancers won't waste their time and Connects applying to jobs they can't or would not want to do.

 

Less time wasted all round, less frustration on all sides, better job postings, more meaningful proposals, better chances of the right client and freelancer teams producing a great outcome.

 

In other words there is NOTHING that speaks against accurate and complete job postings as they create the basis for good contracts and that can NEVER be a bad thing.

Same here!!! I wanted to hire a freelancer and the stupid new account completely removed ANY communication places and areas so I could not even ask a flipping question. You REALLY think I would hire someone without communication first??

 

I cannot use Upwork until they fix, replace, bring back or get with the program. That is crazy. I think I'll make a little noise about this on SM. So not cool.

Hi David,

 

You can communicate with the Freelancer before the offer is sent. The simplest way would be to Invite a Freelancers to Submit a Proposal to your Job.

 

Thank you.

~ Bojan
Upwork

must be a usage issue. I communicate with freelancer all the time. wait till you check out freelancer.com you have to get recruiter permission to discuss anything via calls with freelancers there 

re: "Wait until you check out freelancer.com. You have to get recruiter permission to discuss anything via calls with freelancers there"

 

Due to a number of other reasons, I already thought that site was pretty much unusable. I gave up on it a long time ago.

 

I did not even know about this ADDITIONAL reason to avoid it.

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