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Struggling with the switch from Elance

Active Member
Andrew H Member Since: Sep 22, 2015
1 of 14
I have had many successful years using Elance as a client. I use Elance like a regular employer so once I find a good freelancer I stick with them and send new jobs to them to quote on and unless the price seems unreasonable I give that work to them.  Our company has used some Elance freelancers for many jobs over 3-4 years.  Together with these regular freelancers we have been experimenting with moving our relationship over to Upwork.  So far it has not been easy. 
As a client my biggest issue is Upwork’s idea of a fixed price job which is very different to Elance and the real world!  With Elance I describe a project, the freelancer replies with a quote for the project and then I accept and off we go.  
My big issue with Upwork is the client has to provide the fixed price not the freelancer.  If I do not know how long the work will take I am making a complete guess.  So I might give it a budget of $500 and the freelancer thinks ‘great that should have been a $300 job so I will say yes and make a big profit’.   Or I could make the budget $100 and the freelancer is not happy.  
I believe the freelander giving the fixed price is a common way to run a client-freelancer relationship as we did with Elance and I am surprised it does not seem to exist in Upwork. I would be interested to hear views from other Upwork clients.
Our freelancers are telling me their biggest complaint is it takes much longer to get the money once we sign off the project - 6 days I believe.  They want to stick with Elance (not a long term solution) or try out another freelancing site.
Generally we find Upwork a clunky, difficult to use site in comparison with Elance.  We also find a lot of access issues,  very slow page loading, or messages that the site is experiencing problems.  
Ace Contributor
Michael M Member Since: Sep 16, 2015
2 of 14

I have been asked to give a quote before, the way I understand it is clients can create a contract regardless of the specifics of the job description, what the client did was tell me to give a quote per video edited(that was the job), and we would go from there.


I haven't experience Upwork as a client, the next time I need something done I will give it a shot, but for now it's a bit of a shot in the dark for me.

Active Member
Elizabeth T Member Since: Sep 22, 2015
3 of 14

Thank you for speaking to this from the client side -- the transition has been extremely rocky on the freelancer side as well.

Active Member
Christine L Member Since: Sep 16, 2015
4 of 14

I find this aspect of Upwork challenging as a freelancer, too. We're forced to provide a quote with our proposal, whereas on Elance we had the option to provide a quote later.


Most often, I contacted clients with a proposal and asked questions- sometimes by phone or Skype- before agreeing on a price. It's unreasonable to expect a client to determine a price. It's also unreasonable to require freelancers to quote a price without being able to ask questions first. 


Has anyone found a workable solution?

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 14

This is an important topic, but it's tricky.


On Upwork, we are definitely accustomed to requiring clients to state a specific budget for fixed-price contract projects. And, yes, that tends to be the amount that contractors build their proposals around, because that is what it looks like the client wants to spend on the project.


It's a very different way of thinking than we hear about from Elance, where clients can just describe a project and leave the amount portion blank, and get quotes from contractors.


I have read posts from Elance clients who believe Upwork contractors are price-gouging them or something, because they provide quotes centered on the budget specified by the client. Clearly that is an unfair way to think about it. Any project can be done with higher or lower levels of quality, or with more or fewer features, so projects can conceivably be customized to fit any budget.


There are some good ideas being presented by Elance clients and contractors, and maybe there will be modifications in the future.


But for *now*, the best you can do if you're a former Elance client is to try to replicate your experience as close as possible. One way to do that is to put in a budget at the upper bounds of what you would be willing to pay, but then state in the first line of your job description:


"I DO NOT KNOW how much this project should cost. I put $250 only because I have to fill in SOMETHING. Please read my project description and tell me how much you can do this for, even if if the amount you quote is something very different than $250. Please DON'T bid $250."

Active Member
Nahaku M Member Since: Sep 22, 2015
6 of 14
Thanks for your perspective and potential remedy Preston H. I'm a new "client" and I want to do the right thing for both myself and the freelancer. I will take your advice on communicating the price and work to come to a truer price point that will make both parties happy.
Active Member
Benjamin B Member Since: Nov 17, 2015
7 of 14

It would be great if we could ask questions prior to providing a quote. I wish they would get on this ASAP.

Community Guru
Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
8 of 14

@Andrew H wrote:
My big issue with Upwork is the client has to provide the fixed price not the freelancer.

Then you don't have an issues with Upwork, because they do not require this.  This topic has been asked and answered in multiple threads, and it always stems from clients who don't understand basic business terminology, and/or possibly have been confused by how poorly Elance has handled such things in the past.


The simple approach is as follows:


If you don't have a budget calculated, post it as an hourly job.


If you want to get an estimate from a freelancer, ask for one.  Be sure you actually give them enough information so that a reasonable estimate can be given.


If you both agree with the estimate, convert it to a fixed price job.



Active Member
Andrew L Member Since: Nov 15, 2015
9 of 14

I agree 100%.


"Generally we find Upwork a clunky, difficult to use site in comparison with Elance".


I can't even find a menu option for "Search for Freelancers!"   I want to find people who I have worked with on, but ... they are not coming up when I perform a search.   They transferred by profile but none of my history.   That seems odd to me. 


I am usually buying services, not providing them, so seraching for freelancers needs to be easy for me.  

Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
10 of 14

Hi Andrew,


Sorry to hear about your confusion. It looks like you have both freelancer and client profiles connected to your Upwork account. Make sure you click on the round icon in the upper-right corner and select the client-company from the drop-down menu. Then go to your "Jobs" tab and you should see a carousel with profiles of freelancers you have hired on Elance before. You can re-hire them here on Upwork.




~ Valeria