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Low-balling, misleading bids on jobs

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
21 of 27

Christopher B wrote:
What’s with the rude gurus here?

Don’t get flippant because you aren’t reading the complaints that I have here.

I post a job. I state exactly what I am looking for. I include a sample of the ideal style. I ask the bidder to answer a question that requests samples that fit what I am asking for if they have such samples. I post a budget.

I get quite a few bids. But one or two of these bids will be at or around the budget. These bids say that they’re read the job and want to work on it. They link their entire gallery or portfolio, or post incredibly good art, as the answer to the question regarding samples.

I pick one of these artists and point out the art in the link or samples that work for what I want. The artist tells me that they were not intending to do that level of work for the amount that they bid, but something either not referenced, or a simpler design than the example I had provided.

I’m not telling the artist that their work should be $X instead of $Y. The artist told me that they were willing to do the work for $X until the time that I offer the job or ensure that the example(s) they linked are for $X, then they demand $Y.

That’s the artist being deceptive. Exactly where did I do anything wrong there?

Don’t be rude inventing scenarios that aren’t happening.

I am just a dude stating my opinion I have no official capacity at Upwork at all but I am free to express my opinion within the rules of the community and I believe that I have done so.


I can tell you where I think you went wrong but you aren't listening and have already characterized my response as rude so it's a waste of time.

Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
22 of 27

Tiffany S wrote:


That's kind of an absurd overstatement. It doesn't sound like these illustrators are even saying he should go with something simpler. It sounds like they're saying if he wants something comparable to the sample he's pointing to, it will cost more. Which is perfectly reasonable. Samples are designed to show the client what you're capable of. Where he/she decides to shop within that range is an entirely different question. And, it's often difficult to tell from a job posting exactly what level of detail, etc. the client is looking for.

Well, it may sound exaggerated but I believe you misunderstood what I said. I know what samples and portfolio are for, so I agree with you. I am not saying the portfolio is there shouting "I can do all this for $10 (or whatever budget the client states in their job post)" It's obvious that the portfolio showcases different pieces covering a wide range of prices, and I take for granted the OP understands that. But I think the situation here is different.


Yesterday I applied to a project where they needed someone to create some writing with a neon effect overlaying a photo. The description and sample provided were very clear, the client knew what he wanted. It was a low budget but I applied anyways saying up front my cost (several times the job post budget) and I also sent two samples showing exactly what I was going to do. My samples matched exactly what they were looking for, according to the sample they provided, that's why I applied even while the budget was not appealing to me. From what the OP is saying I understand the freelancers he finds are doing that but not saying the real cost up front, but instead waiting till the interview stage to increase the price when he/she realizes the client is wrapped around his/her finger. Hence the complaint and why he feels deceived.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
23 of 27

Charging freelancers to bid has been an interesting experimentation in human behavior. 

Community Leader
Sheila F Member Since: Apr 6, 2017
24 of 27

I can see Christopher's point. It does seem like a bait-and-switch, but clarifying the terms of the contact is precisely why there is an interview stage.


Active Member
Christopher B Member Since: Aug 29, 2019
25 of 27
Pretty much this. I price based on what I think it is worth getting done, and artists can choose whether the price I’m targeting is worth the effort and time.

I have had a job where the freelancer I chose bid much higher than the budget, but I felt that the result would have been much better going with him. And I hired him to do a second piece for me.

Freelancers should be bidding based on the criteria of the job listed, and if they have multiple levels of output, they need to make it clear at what level their bid would be.

Expecting the client to guess what in the portfolio/gallery is the level of output for the bid price is asinine and unprofessional. Especially if the job posting has an example of what output the client wants and that level is available in the gallery/portfolio.

It’s up to the freelancer to bid exactly for the job requested, not something different or change the bid afterwards.
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
26 of 27

So it sounds like they link you to their whole portfolio or gallery as a sample, and you don't know which ones in the gallery or portfolio were done at your price point. Solution: Ask. Ask them which pieces in the gallery/portfolio were done at your budget amount. If they were all more expensive, then you don't interview them further. If the ones done at that price point aren't to your liking, also move on. 


As a grant writer, I'm often asked to see sample grants that I've written, but those grants are not necessarily examples at the same price point. They are examples of my writing style and expertise. Your grant may cost more or less than the sample based on the specifics of your project.  


You know you are going to have to interview the freelancer and find out specifics about their bid and what they will do, right? It sort of sounds like you don't want to deal with interviewing, because these are things that any client would do within the interview. Not intending to be rude in that question, I just think that your expectation of how much clarification you will need to do versus how much you might need to do are not in line. 


The solution seems to be that you could put in your job post that submitted samples need to be from work done at the same or similar price point, so you don't have to deal with this disconnect. And you could, I think, even add in your application questions a verification that the samples submitted were done at the same price point. You could also request that they attach specific samples and not a portfolio or gallery. That could help you cull it down to the right freelancers. 


Personally, I hate getting weblinks of galleries or massive portfolios as a hiring manager. Send me a relevant work sample. On the freelancer side, I'm not going to send you a research publication I've authored when I'm applying for a grant writer job, right? I think what would help you is to be super specific in your work sample request and just pass on anyone who doesn't answer that question appropriately. 

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
27 of 27

Christopher B. I get what you're saying. Freelancers are strongly encouraged Not to work work for free, such as tests, examples and mockups of the client's actually job. They are told to submit links to files on their computer or they are encouraged to show their portfolio so a client can see the STYLE of their work. And that is exactly what they are probably doing. Their "style" that they are showing you is all they have and those styles of work may be complicated enough to demand a higher price. 


I posted a job once and one freelancer linked files from their computer to their proposal. They showed several styles and for each one, they listed the price it would cost. (for a basic pencil drawing it will cost $x, for a charcoal drawing the cost would be $x ,for a colored pencil drawing it will cost $x and the top of the line, if you want it painted it will cost $X) It would be great if every freelancer did that, but usually, in a portfolio a freelancer will show their very best work, You like it, you ask for it, and that work style will cost more because it demands more complicated work then what you posted in your job's description. 


You recourse IMO, is, if you see the style you like and tell the freelancer that, that is what you want, and the freelancer tells you the price it would cost you, then Pay that price and you'll get exactly what you want.