Gary C wrote:
I mean't "Agency" who is actually a Freelancer but it is important to distinguish because some regard the charges to equate to Agency Fees, when many of the large Freelancers are Agencies or larger Companies. The Upwork charges are website admin fees nothing else. Also, I could not use a Freelancer because the breadth of skills would not be present in one person and the solution would likely be driven by the ability of the Freelancer and not by the Business Need.
So, the upshot of what you're saying seems to be "I'm not actually looking to hire individual freelancers, years go by between hirings, and I'm not at all the kind of client Upwork is courting...so I likely won't hire here again." That sounds fair, but not like it's indicative of a flaw in the system. It seems more like you've wandered into a vegan restaurant looking for a steak and won't go there for steak again. That makes sense for everyone.
Just a couple of points below to explain further. There ARE flaws in the system, which make my life harder. I have highlighted these to Upwork, but they are not really interested.
"I'm not actually looking to hire individual freelancers" - True, due to issues with diversity of knowledge and management of risk. I do hire one individual freelancer, however that is for graphics work, as it can be done off my website platform. The actual implemention of those done graphics is performed by the Agency.
"years go by between hirings" - Untrue. We just keep re-opening the same job(s) over and over, so it may look that way to you.
"and I'm not at all the kind of client Upwork is courting" - Untrue. I'm probably considered to be a cash cow, as I'm a long term user with the same Agency / Freelancers and I transferred over from Elance. The Agency mentioned that I pay 2.75% and they pay the remainder to 5%. Those charges are in line with what I would expect to see as a software service fee, so I'm okay with that.
"so I likely won't hire here again." Untrue - It's all re-hires. For new freelancers, it is very difficult to find someone who can do the job and to trust them because of i. Not being able to verify portfolios AND link directly to reviews with clear evidence of that link, ii. there are too many fake reviews, which appear to have been done by groups of associated people.
I've been stung twice before and it has cost me $1,000s to put right the mess left behind and to re-instate old code. I brought existing Freelancers / Agencies from Elance. My hires via Upwork have both ended up badly. Too many scammers and blagards.
INSERTED: Now I receive a communication from Upwork informing me that they will no longer be testing Freelancers. LOL. So before, I had a remote idea who I would be hiring. Now I have no idea who I would be hiring. That was the last thing I could place some reliance on. Crazy.
The theme I am seeing is that many Hirers & Freelancers are happy to accept the Upwork fees, as they regard Upwork as being similar to an Agency. To me, I pay an Agency via Upwork and I see Upwork as only a software service, similar to JustGiving.
So the underlying question is: Do you regard Upwork as an Agency (charging Agency Fees) or do you regard Upwork as a software Service (typically charging max 5% across both parties)? Your answer to that question will determine whether or not you agree with the fees. Each to their own.
This is my perspective as a software developer.
Upwork is a marketplace. I come here because I believe I will find big-bucks projects with people that are 100% involved into understanding and developing them. Clients come here believing they'll find excellent developers.
The reality is 90% of the projects are uninteresting for good software developers and from a client's perspective 90% of the developers are just some kids who learnt programming by watching Youtube videos and boast 6, 8, 10+ years of "development" experience.
The meeting point between good projects and good developers is very small. Most of the jobs posted in the last 5 hours represent little interest for me, for instance, so the good projects have low visibility to begin with. And good developers are already involved in well-paying, interesting work so they won't ever apply. You have to hand pick them and try to extract them from their current projects by offering them something better.
I've been interviewing people from other sources and 100% of them are already working. So it isn't like you'll ever find a jobless developer.
Getting back to fees and tools that Upwork provides. Well, I really enjoy Upwork getting rid of the noise (projects with low budgets and low interest as well as developers that aren't actually developers). The numbers of software devs has fallen from 150 000 to 20 000 for a specific search I did so that is excellent. It's still a long way to go since I know a part of these 20 000 and I know they aren't really devs, but just some kids that did the same kind of work over and over again.
And, finally, I don't really need Upwork to vouch for anything. I can easily spot the good ones from the unexperienced ones in 5 - 10 minutes.
In the end what Upwork offers me as a client is a pool of about 30 000 people I can start selecting from. Yes, the fees are high, yes, I might need to raise the hourly rate from $30 to $50 just to convince the guy to jump boat, but in the end chances are a bit better than the, at most, 3 candidates I get from other sources (like job ads).