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Flag clients asking for free work

Active Member
Today yet another free work offer appeared in my feed, and I feel like it's not only against the rules but very disrespectful to all freelancers in this website. It's already bad enough there are clients thinking $2-4/hour is a fair rate for the creation of products that will be sold at a bottom price of $25 each, infinite times due to being digital downloads. We have to go through seas of gigs filled with people who request multiple modifications to the point where the final product is far from the original description, or clients asking for extras and discounts on gigs that barely amount to any money. Clients who decide they don't need the gig anymore, who want us to deliver the product without watermarks before they send you the first milestone, who berate us when we can't figure out what they want because they can't explain it yet expect us to have psychic abilities, who wants to blackmail us into giving more in exchange for a good rating. We don't need freeloaders on top of that. I think it's safe to say each and every one of us took at least one "bad" gig when we were starting, in hopes the job ratings would make it easier on us to be accepted on other gigs. I cannot condemn that practice as a business strategy: it makes perfect sense to lower your gains a little to maximize your credibility. Completely free work, however, hurts everyone but the client. Reject free work offers, and be sure to flag them for it. It's the only way to start regulating the market and making sure the next one won't be expecting you to bend the rules for them like you did in the past.
Active Member
I already feel ripped off with my years of experience, it's not as if any designer can submit quality work within minutes!! But shame that's how low freelancing industry treats us. I'll surely flag these clients down.
Active Member
Ill flag any job offer that is below a reasonable price. I think others should do the same. Whats reasonable? Well ask yourself this question.. "How long have you been working in your given field, is it long enough to know what is or is not a reasonable rate?" I think everyone knows, what reasonable is. I will not be dictated to by a client on how to do a job that I specialize in. Nor will I be told how long the job should take. If they have all the knowledge about how it is done, then they don't need me, they can do it their damn self. Finally, if I see the client (especially the non confirmed payment) types, trying to low ball freelancers, you are damn right, Ill flag them. It's unethical business practice, and Im going to call you out on it. Clients want to pay **** for quality work. They just love to use the fancy words like, Professional, AAA+, Guru, Ninja, Expert and other such terms. If a clients material turns out looking like puke, then that's fantastic, they deserve the loss for undercutting quality for cheap labor. It's usually the ones trying to sound "Big business", like they have a team, or that they are not just complete buffoons at what they are trying to accomplish.. I love it, they really believe their own BS, it's precious. So lets just do a quick role reversal here. I'm the person contracted to do the work, and I decide in my infinite wisdom, that its in my best interest to do a really, really crappy job, yet they are expected to pay in gold bars, and their children's college tuition. Who here thinks that BS will fly? Odesk has ZERO interest in maintaining their platform. In fact it is working in full retrograde. Customer service is non existent, and I wonder who is actually at the helm of this cluster **** of a platform. Do a little googling and you will see just what kind of crappy reputation odesk has. I'm actually Embarrassed to claim I have worked from this site now. There are a few good clients, and I make sure they get 5 star feedback and I let the freelancers know where to find them. But for the rest of the bottom feeding scum, idiotic sweat shop running clients, and moronic portfolio stealing waste of space freelancers I say this. *..REMOVED BY STAFF.. Oh and one last thing. I don't know what this new trend is with freelances posting in job feeds to try and get work, but Im flagging that crap also. I'm sick of seeing "I do good designings, work fast, you hire me." In my job feed constantly. Great job Odesk, the now derelict robot that runs the site has been completely ignoring those. But of course, running this place into the ground s the plan yes??? PS: There is a saying, "If the shoe fits wear it." If this offends someone who is innocent, then don't worry about it, I'm not talking about you. The guilty parties know who they are.
I most definitely do flag the clients who ask for free work. If they want to test out a freelancer's ability, then they'll simply have to pay for a trial period.

Can somebody please tell me how to flag these **edited for Community Guidelines**?


I have had several inquiries where people want to either pay me off site (a huge violation) or who want me to review products or services I've never used (ethical violation).  


How do I flag these **edited for Community Guidelines**

@Rocky D wrote:

Can somebody please tell me how to flag these **edited for Community Guidelines**?


I have had several inquiries where people want to either pay me off site (a huge violation) or who want me to review products or services I've never used (ethical violation).  


How do I flag these **edited for Community Guidelines**?

 On the jobs themselves in the top right. See attached image. Click on Flag as inappropriate


Choose appropriate reason and submit. See the second attachment.

Ace Contributor

Does anybody know where I can submit a report of a client asking for free work? Something that's a little more in-depth than just the simple flagging system on the job listing?

I want to be able to type in an explanation of what's going on to be sure that Upwork takes notice. I just had a client ask for a free sample illustration, (basically they asked for a free completed illustration for their Ebook, depsite the fact that they love my portfolio and even picked out an illustration style from it that they'd love to incorporate into their project) - with the promise of:

"I'd share your deliverable with my CEO for a green light, and if financial logistics work out, we'll invite you to complete the guide."


A client should really not be posting a job listing in the first place if "financial logistics working out" is a tentative thing. Additionally, the client has a history of opening up projects that do not result in a hire - so it would not surprise me if they are taking all these free samples and using them in their work without ever actually compensating the designers for their time.

I did explain to the client that I do not do speculative work, but that I'd be happy to move forward officially… But chances are given their history that this will not result in a hire, and I don't want to see new or inexperienced designers be taken advantage of by this client.

Any ideas for how I should proceed?

Hi Lana,


Please, submit a ticket to customer support with the additional details you have.


Thank you!


~ Valeria
Active Member



What happens if we flag someone. Is it informed to the particular people that we flagged for? What happens to them whomever we flag for such, are they able to post jobs again?

Hi Bhojendra,


When you flag a job posting, our Marketplace Quality team is notified. They review the job and the client's account against Upwork Terms of Service and take actions accordingly. These actions depend on the severity of the violation.

~ Valeria

What else can upwork team see? Messages etc.?


What if I mistakenly flagged? I just asked this because I was opening differnt tabs and I tried to flag someone else but it was someone else? Its my big mistake though. 


Upwork team should be making undo action for this. What do you think?

Hi Bhojendra,


If there are no violations, the team will not take actions against a profile or a job even if it's been flagged. We will not be able to share details about our internal processes of reviewing users.

~ Valeria