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Low Pay for High Quality

Ace Contributor
Grant M Member Since: Nov 9, 2014
21 of 59

I would really like to know from odesk CLIENTS what the method to the madness is for requesting (demanding/requesting) high quality content for ridiculously low rates


The answer is simple!


If someone submits and offer for $5.00 and can complete the task then I will hire them. From a busniess perspective if you have ten offers and you short-list four of them. After reviewing work history and past employment, if the $5.00 applicant stands out versus the $50 applicant the rest is a no brainer.


I had a scenario like this in the past where I hired an exceptional writier from the philippines. She worked at a newspaper, was fluent in English and had an interest in the topic. She also had one of the lower offers for the project.


In addition a lot of contractors on oDesk already have full time jobs as writers. Many are simply looking for additional income, which may not reflect their typical rate.



Active Member
Gabriele D Member Since: Jan 31, 2014
22 of 59

Thank you for replying here!


What I do not understand is, if this qualified editor/journalist who already works full-time does not really need your $5 (for how many hours work?), why wouldn't she rather read a book, spend time with friends and family etc? 


If she needed some additional income would she not be better off writing her own stuff and selling it to her paper/contacts for money rather than peanuts?


I can understand that you take good work for next to nothing, but I would pay her more either way.

Ace Contributor
Susan B Member Since: Mar 28, 2009
23 of 59

"What I do not understand is, if this qualified editor/journalist who already works full-time does not really need your $5 (for how many hours work?), why wouldn't she rather read a book, spend time with friends and family etc? 


If she needed some additional income would she not be better off writing her own stuff and selling it to her paper/contacts for money rather than peanuts?"



I can't speak for everyone who is working on oDesk below their brick & mortar rate, but I can tell you why I do it (instead of reading a book or cooking a fancy dinner or going to a museum with a friend) even if I'm not desparetely in need of the extra income. (And yes, my oDesk rate is still good, but nowhere near the real world pricing).


Note: I am a freelancer in the B&M world, so it is a little different than your example, but these possibilities still apply...


The projects I do on oDesk are very different than my B&M projects. Just a change of pace is a good reason to do them. I meet interesting people and work on interesting topics (my B&M work is almost all automotive, it gets old after a while). But most importantly for me - I get to work in a whole different design style here on oDesk - a style I love but my B&M clients aren't as fond of (nor is it necessarily appropriate for the jobs I do).


Not applicable to someone working full-time outside of oDesk, but another reason I work here is to keep up my skills, keep me fresh, get me on top of things, learn anything new that might come along, etc.


Believe me, I'm not arguing for low wages! I hate seeing that here. I just had a few thoughts on why someone may be comfortable working for lower rates.

Ace Contributor
Sarah C Member Since: Jan 31, 2016
24 of 59

I concur. As a freelancer for all income streams, I pass the jobs right by. I value what I do and make a seriously good living from it. If a Philipino offers the same, at $5.00 per hour, good for them. I'd rather saddle up the pony and go for a three hour ride.

Active Member
Jenyffer V Member Since: Jul 22, 2016
25 of 59


I feel there needs to be a set reasonable minimun $ amount for any work on here. exploitation of artists.


Active Member
Gabriele D Member Since: Jan 31, 2014
26 of 59

Really, I have worked here for a while and got completely disillusioned. This is very much happening in translation and I realised that in my field there are no reasonalby well paying clients on ODesk, only clients who want things done on the cheap and who are not prepared to pay qualified and/or experienced translators' rates.


Translators are highly educated people often with a prefessional career and specialist knowledge in a number of fields, e.g. legal, technical, business. They have to have an in depth knowldege of source and target languages and be able to write well. These people do not work for $3 per hour nor do they work for $13 per hour! It is insulting to offer a budget that works out a couple of bucks and then demand professional work.


In defence of some clients I have to say that many are not aware what the job involves, many seem to think translation is no more than a typing job, just type it up in the other language, you should be able to do a page in 15 minutes. But as one poster said, others, despite explanation, just want to pay as little as possible - the question is, what will they get for the little they pay? Or would it be cheaper to just stick it into google translate - that's free!


The sad thing is though that there is always someone who will do it cheaper and if price is all one has to offer then they might as well think about another line of work, because they will work 20 hours per day and don't have a chance to make enough to live on.


I am taking a back seat here now and still apply to some jobs, but I will not work for less than a professional rate, which is usually double the rate better paying clients pay here, so far I have just discussed a really interesting job with a client who had not given any information about the size of the project . My price is double his budget - I don't expect to hear any more really.



Active Member
Marissa S Member Since: Nov 14, 2014
27 of 59
Active Member
Sadie F Member Since: Nov 12, 2014
28 of 59

I can't speak for other clients, only myself, but can take some good guesses why workers are not being paid properly.


One issue for me, I needed a job doing and had no idea of the going rates, never hired anyone other than in real life. I took a wild guess and posted a job for an amount that was plucked from thin air. It wasn't meant as an insult, it was total lack of knowledge.


Another issue, 2, you are always working with someone you only know from words on a screen. hard to trust, both ways, so it is a big step to choose someone, so sometimes going on cost is one of those choices - we don't know you from Adam, so if the worry is losing money, you want to lose as little as possible if it comes to it.


A very long story short, Issue 3, costs came in from $150 to $1660, how are you supposed to know who is being honest about the real costs when they vary so much? I hired cheap. Not the cheapest, but the one whose prior work showed he had already done my type of job well.


Then I found the forums, and all workers seemed to do was tell stories about awful clients are, especially those who don't pay the right rate (see Issue 1). So I asked a few questions of the people who had costed the job more, I didn't lead then up the garden path, I said i had hired but wanted to know why the wildly differing costs. They were so lovely to reply, and from them it became clear that my costs were too cheap. The job was being done, but I went back and told my worker I appreciated what he had done so far, and renegotiated the price. End result, a fabulous job done, he's happy, I'm happy.


The lady who said there is a client and a freelancer for every person was right.


The lady who gets upset not getting the work, well Issue 4, we get bombarded with people wanting the work, at wildly varying costs, you are only words on a screen at that point, it isn't personal. Don't get upset or give up, only take work for what you are happy to work for, decent clients are out there and will find you.


I also think possibly people in countries where the cost of living are much much lower are not deliberately undercutting the job, they are asking for and being paid the going rate for the work where they live. I wanted someone near my time zone, as I didn't want to get up every morning to answer questions that wouldn't be read by my worker till I was going to bed that night, so again I would say charge what you are worth and the right clients will find you.




Active Member
Sean C Member Since: Apr 20, 2016
29 of 59

Good post Sadie. I have been writing for a client I got through Elance for almost five years now and the money is reasonable but there is plenty of work on an ongoing basis. You only need a couple of good clients to make a living, but like in sales, if you throw **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I have wasted a lot of time on useless clients with jobs that never go anywhere, but it's worth it when you do unearth a good client that turns into a good, ongoing working relationship.

Community Guru
Daniel P Member Since: Aug 15, 2014
30 of 59



But it doesn't help things that there are freelancers out there who are willing to work for such low rates of pay.


Most jobs aren't even equivilent to minimum wage (currency conversion from US dollars to British pound sterling). It's crazy, but I can see the appeal for freelancers struggling to find their first job on here.


I'm still trying to nail my firt job, but I'm certainly not going to work for such silly pay.