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Huge Flaw in Upwork System

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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
11 of 30

@Mark K wrote:

Miss K

 

First you must understand that the low offshore rate is a specific strategy for Upwork -- the system is specifically designed and intended to steer work to these locations. 

 


 That makes absolutely no sense. Upwork makes less money when rates are low, so why on earth would it strategize to drive clients to contracts that will yield little or nothing in terms of fees?

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Community Leader
David D Member Since: Jun 8, 2016
12 of 30

I personally would like some sort of clarification as to what is considerd Entry, Intermediate, and Expert. Not so much to adjust my bids but I think the Client would/should want to know what they're getting themselves into.

 

Like anything else you get what you pay for. There are definitely clients who are bargain shoppers, same as there are freelancers who are trying to undercut the competition. But if someone is really willing to work for $3 an hour or write a 50,000 word book for $20.... it should say more about their level of expertise and their valuation of their abilities, and what the client should expect than anything else. 

 

Not to disparage the oversees freelancers but sure, the cost of living factors into things somewhat. Either way though, a relatively informed client should realize what they're getting themselves into. For example, a skilled web developer is still a skilled web developer and if they're underselling their services (based on what an open market valuation of the job would be)... well, that's up to them I suppose, but the client should also realize that if someones willing to make a fully responsibe, bells and whistles website for $50.... you're probably not going to get what you think you're going to get. 

 

Personally, I'll vary my rates a little here and there based on the level that's posted. Sometimes I'll undersell a little because I like the job and think it would be enjoyable, educational, fun, or open doors to other gigs.

 

Clients should also realize, however, that more experienced/capable freelancers are going to ignore some of those "entry level" gigs and you're going to wind up sifting through bids from freelancers you probably don't want to hire.

 

I won't compete with the guy willing to write the 50K word book for $20. Let him do it. But if you posted a higher budget or level... I might give it a whirl. 

 

 

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Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
13 of 30

@David D wrote:

I personally would like some sort of clarification as to what is considerd Entry, Intermediate, and Expert. Not so much to adjust my bids but I think the Client would/should want to know what they're getting themselves into.

  


 David,

 

IMHO difficult to find a definition. At present Upwork seems to suggest a price range, different for each category, as the means to differentiate between the levels. I'd prefer if they would base this on the number of projects, number of hours (both are valid as some freelancers prefer fixed price jobs) or client feedback or similar. True, newbies will be at a disadvantage, but that's the price to pay.

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Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
14 of 30

@Joachim M wrote:

@David D wrote:

I personally would like some sort of clarification as to what is considerd Entry, Intermediate, and Expert. Not so much to adjust my bids but I think the Client would/should want to know what they're getting themselves into.

  


 David,

 

IMHO difficult to find a definition. At present Upwork seems to suggest a price range, different for each category, as the means to differentiate between the levels. I'd prefer if they would base this on the number of projects, number of hours (both are valid as some freelancers prefer fixed price jobs) or client feedback or similar. True, newbies will be at a disadvantage, but that's the price to pay.


Neither is actually valid in any way that is useful to the client--a freelancer who started his career on Upwork and has ten projects, for example, has much less to offer in terms of experience and expertise than someone who has done one project on Upwork but has 18 years of professional experience off the site. 

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Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
15 of 30

@Tiffany S wrote:

@Joachim M wrote:

@David D wrote:

I personally would like some sort of clarification as to what is considerd Entry, Intermediate, and Expert. Not so much to adjust my bids but I think the Client would/should want to know what they're getting themselves into.

  


 David,

 

IMHO difficult to find a definition. At present Upwork seems to suggest a price range, different for each category, as the means to differentiate between the levels. I'd prefer if they would base this on the number of projects, number of hours (both are valid as some freelancers prefer fixed price jobs) or client feedback or similar. True, newbies will be at a disadvantage, but that's the price to pay.


Neither is actually valid in any way that is useful to the client--a freelancer who started his career on Upwork and has ten projects, for example, has much less to offer in terms of experience and expertise than someone who has done one project on Upwork but has 18 years of professional experience off the site. 


I fully agree with you on that one Tiffany, that's why we are encouraged to enter our CV/experience in our profile. What makes it even more difficult is that experience in one country cannot easily be transferred to another country. I remember a former CIO of SAP, an US American, admitting in an interview he gave when leaving the company after many years of service, that in the beginning he had tremendous problems with the differences in meeting culture between the US and Germany. In the US he was used going into a meeting to discuss how to implement his suggestions. In Germany participants of a meeting were expecting to first discuss his suggestions not how to implement them. It was quite a change for him, that his staff didn't simply accept what he suggested. 

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Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
16 of 30

Hi David,

 

Please check these two threads (here and here) and let me know if you need further clarification about the experience levels.

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Active Member
Miss K Member Since: Dec 18, 2015
17 of 30

I agree with you. It's unfortunate because you would hope that a US company would want to support it's own economy; but, like many corps, it's all about the bottom line. 

 

I'm a freelancer and a client. Due to exactly what's described above, I came to the conclusion that I just can't compete in web dev with overseas prices. The only way I can compete is for English writing jobs - but even then, I had to lower my price when they moved from Elancer to Upwork. It's getting to a point where it's not worth it. 

 

As a client, I swear "agencies" overseas are creating fake "individual" profiles with 5 star "feedback" to gain more work. It's REALLY difficult to find a good freelancer even when they have great feedback (which is questionnable for a lot of freelancers). I can't tell you the number of freelancers who shared fake sites or have fake profiles. I've reported some of them but Upwork did nothing. I think they figure as long as the freelancer makes $$ for them, they'll ignore the fraud. 

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
18 of 30

@Miss K wrote:

I agree with you. It's unfortunate because you would hope that a US company would want to support it's own economy; but, like many corps, it's all about the bottom line. 

 

I'm a freelancer and a client. Due to exactly what's described above, I came to the conclusion that I just can't compete in web dev with overseas prices. The only way I can compete is for English writing jobs - but even then, I had to lower my price when they moved from Elancer to Upwork. It's getting to a point where it's not worth it. 

 

As a client, I swear "agencies" overseas are creating fake "individual" profiles with 5 star "feedback" to gain more work. It's REALLY difficult to find a good freelancer even when they have great feedback (which is questionnable for a lot of freelancers). I can't tell you the number of freelancers who shared fake sites or have fake profiles. I've reported some of them but Upwork did nothing. I think they figure as long as the freelancer makes $$ for them, they'll ignore the fraud. 


I'll give you the agency thing. They are the scourge of this site and I've seen fake profiles on agency accounts too. Another freelancer and myself tracked one but you needed to really dig to figure out what they were doing. The guy's supposed US company had a US LinkedIn "CEO" but a search on Upwork showed that all the contractors were in Pakistan and the domain was registered in Pakistan. We are pretty sure the one US contractor that is bidding is farming it out and the profile is stolen from a guy on LinkedIn who doesn't claim to do any programming. The other freelancer reported but Upwork said they got a pass.

 

Anyway, after my nice little rant lol I do agree that there are a lot of shady agencies here. 

 

But, I can also tell you that they have killed their own reputation and LOTS of clients want nothing to do with them. You can indeed compete with low rate contractors too. I don't know what it's like in web dev, but they say it's impossible to compete in the writing section and I beat them all the time.

 

You could say that you don't need good English to program, but you have other things going for you. Time zone, better communication, cultural click, and even the simple fact that you can be sued more easily if you do something shady rather than some guy in another country. I've actually gotten contracts for the latter reason. lol

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Community Guru
Joachim M Member Since: Mar 23, 2015
19 of 30

@Miss K wrote:

I agree with you. It's unfortunate because you would hope that a US company would want to support it's own economy; but, like many corps, it's all about the bottom line. 

 

 


 I agree with Jennifer. All of us from the so called industrialized countries can't compete on price with the folks from Asia and Eastern Europe. We don't have to. If a customer is buying on price only, let him do it. One of my partners in another endeavour sourced programming jobs out to Asia. They most certainly can programme but they have no idea how business processes work in Germany. Same with culture, as Jennifer already pointed out. Business is linked to culture and to a certain legal system. My partner was forced to explain processes in absolute detail, really broken down to the smallest step before we got what we wanted. Counting in the time we spent and the long delivery time for the programmer, we would have been better off using a programmer in Germany costing nearly 10 times as much per hour.

 

In translation, my line of business here, it's very similar. I recently had a job translating marketing and sales literature for fuel cards. The client had as USP the fact that the user of fuel card (companies) would be reimbursed the VAT in form of a rebate and that the user could save on the International Fuel Tax. A translator from Asia would have translated it. Located in Germany I pointed out to my client that VAT is no cost for a company as VAT is a consumer tax and a company can claim back the VAT anyway. I further could point out that this so called International Fuel Tax is valid for Canada and the US only, it simply doesn't exist anywhere else. Both USPs were useless in Germany and within the European Union. No translator from Asia or Eastern Europe can compete on this kind of local knowledge.

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Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
20 of 30

Joachim's comments highlight another aspect as well.  For writers and translators it is mandatory to be able to incorporate localization of language in content.  What might translate into English, French, Spanish, German, etc. from an Indian or Asian aspect will most definitely not work when presented to native speakers of the language.  School simply does not teach localization when teaching a language.

 

This becomes compounded when there are regional differences within a country.  And what might appear as minor differences can kill a business ....

 

 

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