๐Ÿˆ Community
ยป Forums ยป Clients ยป Please stop asking me to skype!!
Page options
62fd4cb7
Member

Please stop asking me to skype!!

Hi guys,

Do all of the applicants to your job posts ask to skype? 
I always post simple jobs, and lots of the applicants ask to skype without even saying hello!

Are they trying to change the terms of the contract, or do you think this is genuine and they want to discuss?
I have had misex experiences, some have been fine on skype, and others have asked for more money directly.

Would love your opinions!

52 REPLIES 52


@Joachim M wrote:

@Edward W wrote:

God forbid someone would like a better understanding of your project goals and what you do in a more intimate setting than typing responses out.


Edward,

 

If the job description is clear enough there should be no need to use Skype. Especially as most don't want to talk on Skype but just use the chat feature. If people want to use chat, they can also use email. I've always found chat to be extremely time consuming.

 

With regards to the job description, I posted four jobs last year, 2 were a translation from German into Spanish, one was about repairing some scripts in a Joomla! website and one was the creation of a logo. For the two German>Spanish translations I also added the documents and a word count. This leaves no room for clarifying questions, especially as the two translators I hired didn't have any questions, just did the job. With the scripts I added the error message I was sent from the company hosting the website and said that I need someone speaking German. I wanted the freelancer to provide his application is German to make sure he masters the language, I also posted the job description in German. So why were bunch of freelancers asking me in English to Skype, bragging about their knowledge of Joomla! and telling me in their application that they most certainly can do the job, if I just explain to them via Skype what is written in the error message (it was in German).  Time wasters! With the logo I had one company in Pakistan asking me via Elance for some more details, they then prepared a proposal clearly explaining how they would tackle the job. No need to Skype, so why were a bunch of others pestering me to Skype?

 

As a freelancer I've also had clients already posting in the RFP that will do an interview via Skype. In the end, it always was a chat session. All they did was asking questions I had already answered in my proposal or that were answered by reading my profile. We are talking about jobs for 30-50 dollar and chat sessions that lasted for 30 minutes and more, more than the job was worth. The last client asking for a Skype interview - it's some time ago now - I told I had no problem with it provided we actually talk and don't chat. I made it very clear that if he just wanted to do a chat I'd charge the time. Alternatively he might ask his questions by email, I'd not charge for that. 

 

Edward, I'm sorry but with the low prices paid here, I have to work as efficiently as possible, Skype chats are quite the opposite of efficiency.


 

 

You do not have to work for pennies.

 

If that's what you desire to do, then so be it.

 

My issue is with clients who assume they've explained things so well, that they don't need to give the freelancer anymore clarification. Then have the audacity to get upset or agitated at a request to get a better understanding of how to effectively solve the client's problem.

 

You mean to tell me it's such an inconvience to want to actually help your client and understand the root of the issue? Too often do I come across a client who's looking for a logo, but we end up discovering that a logo is more like putting a band-aid over their leaking pipes and we have to go deeper than that and get to the root of the issue.

 

I think that's the problem with Upwork. Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches.

 

So please forgive any and all freelancers who care enough to want to dig a little deeper than, "Need logo for new business. Details only after you get the job," to truly help some of the more ungrateful clientele on this site. I get far too many anxious and timid potential clients who have been burned several times on this site because designers don't do their jobs. They go with the lowest common dominator for a price and then can't understand why the quality of the design is so poor.

 

You CAN just use the chat to talk. But more meaningful and purposeful conversation happens when you speak to one another. The dependability on not having to physically speak to each other is what I feel cripples the perception of quality with Upwork. You cannot get to the heart of someone's problem typing 140 characters or less to one another in a chat system and expect phenomenal results.

 

But carry on with the excuses and believing this is the way client-freelancer relationships are supposed to be. You forge your own success and results. If how you want to mark success as taking on pennies and not truly understanding your clients needs, by all means. But I'm going to work with those who are willing to have patience to work with me so we can solve what's really wrong.

From start to finish - very well said, Edward!!

 

Your approach and heartfelt explanation summed up my attitude. I wonder if the fact we both charge $100+ per hour is a reflection of a shared client-centric attitude?  ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

The words in red are mine -

 

"Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer  writer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels  words  around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches."

Hi Wendy,

 

I hope you didn't mean to imply that freelancers with a lower hourly rate than yours or Edward's pay less attention to clients' needs. If so, that would be rather condescending?

 

------------

 

Hi Edward,

 

I agree with a lot in your post, but in Joachim's defence I'd like to add that it seems you two are discussing with different project scopes in mind.

 

From a certain workload upwards, I actually insist on Skype calls (same with personal meetings with local or phone calls with national clients). For me, there are many good reasons: Not only is such a conversation a good additional sales pitch (even if the client is already sold, to either extend the volume or to underline why what has been agreed so far is the necessary path to be on). I much agree that a lot of clients' presentations of what they think needs to be done are often wide open for interpretation or missing important elements that only the freelancer perceives as relevant as they are usually the expert participant in this dialogue. I don't even want to get started on interlingual dialogues as that's pretty much self-explanatory.

 

I think it's actually a freelancer's responsibility to detect discrepancies (and to be honest, I quite regularly question these abilities when I read posts by freelancers who complain about bad clients). Getting question marks out of the way also benefits the work process: I like to think that I know what I am doing, but reassurance on the what exactly, how, for whom and why can actually be quite vital.

 

I tend to stay away from clients who perceive the translator as just the translator. I pride myself in wanting to understand and get a good feel for a client's company, product and mission, so when a client gives me the impression that they don't find this necessary, I'm becoming more and more reluctant to actually take on the work.

I agree with Sandra that different project types require different communication types.

 

As a project manager, it is imperative that I speak with my potential client before taking on the job.  The majority of the time, I'm being called in after the "building is on fire", meaning that the client's project has gone off the rails and is in serious trouble.  Clients can be reluctant to disclose the full status, either because they don't know what questions to ask or because they're panicked that everything they've been working toward is at risk and they don't want to acknowledge that.

 

A 30-minute Skype call is hugely beneficial for everyone.  I can sometimes reassure them that all is not yet lost and I can provide a solid plan for moving forward.  


  

My issue is with clients who assume they've explained things so well, that they don't need to give the freelancer anymore clarification. Then have the audacity to get upset or agitated at a request to get a better understanding of how to effectively solve the client's problem.

 

You mean to tell me it's such an inconvience to want to actually help your client and understand the root of the issue? Too often do I come across a client who's looking for a logo, but we end up discovering that a logo is more like putting a band-aid over their leaking pipes and we have to go deeper than that and get to the root of the issue.

 

I think that's the problem with Upwork. Clients assume and believe they know exactly what's wrong but will not take the time to explore if that option truly solves their problem or not. The kind of designer I am with the values that I have, I cannot just push pixels around on command to satisfy a client for a month and then have them return because the problem has gotten worse. I like to make sure that if we're going to work on this project together that we solve the actual problem and not just run and put a band-aid on a gash with no stitches.

 

 

------


We were initially talking about small projects with clear instructions, and freelancers who ask to skype without even taking the time to read or mention the job in question. Or even say why they want to skype! 

The kind of freelancers I was refering too, are those just send messages saying 'Hello SIR, let's talk on SKYPE. Here is my ID".  Without even mentioning the job, or why they want to skype.

 

Wanting to Skype like that, on a small job (I am not talking about a logo design, or getting upset at a request for more information) is no reflection or anyones "values", apart from the desire to send the same message to as many clients and talk to them off of the platform.

Of course on a logo, branding, or whatever larger project you want to refer too, it is acceptable to want to disucss and ask questions. I don't think anyone dissagrees with that. 

But on any small projects, I see no problem with using the Upwork chat to discuss quickly and clearly. When I have needed help with a smaller project, I have always gone with those who don't ask (or add me automatically!!) for skype, and the projects have gone very smoothly. So clearly instructions were given well and there was no need to waste any time.

I am a client and a freelancer on here. As a freelancer I only take on projects that require a discussion, and an actual working relationship, but we have to recognize that this platform is also (mainly?) used for small projects on which the client just needs the freelancer to take direction on a small project.

Edward,

 

We are talking about different kinds of projects. Whilst I don't work for pennies the price level for translations is low on Upwork. I get twice that outside of Upwork and most of my business is off platform. 

 

Even with translations I get in touch with the client if what I'm supposed to translate doesn't make sense or is wrong. Most clients appreciate that, but Skype chats for that? Not necessary, especially considering that most of my clients live in a different time zone and business hours hardly overlap. I just had such a situation this week, client in Russia aiming at the German market and in his marketing leaflets talking about tax savings on taxes that don't exist anywhere in Europe and also showing that they haven't understood how VAT works. Yes I pointed this out to my client and they got in touch with their client in the US. Now they got the job of re-writing all the material and adapting it to the German and European market. Well, they handed the job down to me again. A Skype call (not chat) might even have made sense but not with my client in Russia but with their client in the US. BTW, the bottom feeders from Asia would have pointed this out to the client as they wouldn't have been aware of it. A situation also ocurring often with the small translations of Amazon listings for clients in China and elsewhere. 

evetodew
Member

In my case, which isn't translation, but design, I've decided to create a questionnaire. I know some designers on Upwork are already doing it, but can't it be applied to other job categories as well?

 

In this way, you take the time to think of the crucial questions before you met the client. So when you meet via Upwork (or not), instead of discussing first-time on Skype, you give the client the questionnaire. The questions are well-structured and carefully planned. When you read the answers, you will know what you're dealing with. No 'hum' or 'errrrr', or 'What do you mean?' etc. on Skype. Just straightforward questions.

 

In case something isn't clear when you receive the answers, you merely clarify on Skype for like 5-10mins.

 

You can be ready to start working after that. So far it's working like a charm for me. Sparing me so much time in asking the same questions over and over again. I'm also setting up a document (well-designed ๐Ÿ™‚ so it's pleasing for the eye) to explain my overall work process and what type of clients I work with (and other things).

 

So, instead of talking about how I approach the job every time, I just hand the client this document. He reads it and in 5 mins he has an idea about me. Again, sentences are short, presentation clear and no time-wasting skype calls. I feel like a schizophrenic explaining myself over and over and over again.

 

In any case, like I said, it may not work for every type of job, but I think it's possible for any freelancer to prepare a few docs and use them for clients on Upwork. I know that most clients don't read (or it's just in minor occasions) our profile overviews (where I've briefly explained myself), so I can't possibly count on that. I need to make sure they are prepared before we discuss a contract.

@ Evelina - Excellent suggestion.

 

I have used such a doc on numerous occasions and, depending on the circumstances, have found it invaluable.  Mamy of the designers / artists and web developers I know do the same; probably more so than writers.

 

 

Yes, great idea Evelina! That comes across as a very professional and time-saving approach ๐Ÿ™‚ 
Off to turn my question list in to a nice looking PDF!

I don't ask for a client's Skype - that's weird. But I do let them know that I'm available for a consulting phone call or Skype call if it's relative. More often than not, the clients who were close to hiring me are the ones who request phone calls. It's important to know who you're working with if it's a large project or an ongoing project. So I don't mind it. But I never say, give me your skype.

I freelance and hire on Upwork.  When I submit proposals for work I neither request Skype info nor do I offer my own.  Is it not a violation of TOS to to do so in the initial RFP?   I must say, however,  over the years I've had plenty of clients respond asking ME to hook up with them on Skype to further discuss their projects.   In some cases it's absolutely crucial, because the client has been unable to clearly expound their needs.  And I think we all agree, there's nothing more bothersome than a project that goes sideways due to poor communication.  I agree it's in poor taste and highly unprofessional to insist on Skype conversations in the initial RFP...not to mention a violation of TOS as I understand it.   On those rare occasions when I see a particular job that piques my interest, but the description is vague, I will ask specific questions and inform the prospective client that I am available on Skype should they feel more comfortable talking about their needs in person.  I DO NOT, however, post my Skype ID.  On the flip side, some of those clients who immediately respond by insisting on a Skype conference either want to take the job off platform, or whittle down my rate.   In both cases it's a sure bet they won't remain Skype contacts for very long.  

 

When I've hired for projects I have received the occasional Skype request from freelancers.  They're mostly non-western culture applicants and seem overly eager to get work...any work.  

 

These are challenging times.  In a matter of weeks, we're all going to face a huge rate hike.  Plus, recent changes removing transparency in job postings have already made vetting of clients even more difficult.  So, don't be too surprised when the less experienced and uninitiated freelancers push for Skype conversations as a way to gain some kind of competitive edge...at least in their minds.       

I really like this, I came across this post because I googled it, I however when asked for Sykpe now tell the client only in writing or I will charge. I have had many clients discuss things with me that were irrelevant, wasted several hours time I did not get paid for and if they were job relevant could have been solved in one email. I have been jibbed by clients enough to not deal with them anymore unless in writing, so I don't think Joachim was necessarily wrong here. I see his point 100% because I am the freelancer, not the client, in this scenario. 

lisaforbes
Member

I personally don't like when clients ask to Skype either. I bid on a job the other night; it was a VERY simple job and one I have done before and recently with feedback to prove it. I am on my way to bed at 11:30 pm and receive a request to Skype. Since it is well outside of my business hours, I decided I would respond in the morning.

 

When I checked at 5:00 am another freelancer had been hired so obviously this client expected to Skype immediately.

 

There are some jobs that I don't see why there is a need to Skype and certainly not at 11:00 at night.

Upcoming Events
Dec 13
Succeeding with Clients
Talent Toolbox English
Dec 21
Virtual Community Hour
Community Hour English