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Suggestion To Clients

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
11 of 34

Clients are the customers.

 

Freelancers are the professionals who get paid by the customers.

 

Imagine Home Depot...

 

A client (customer) goes into the store for the first time. She doesn't know where paint brushes are. A person who works there (analogous to a freelancer) is knowledgeable, and tells her.

 

The client finds the paint brush she was looking for and buys it. She is a happy customer. She will return to shop there.

 

If she doesn't know where paint brushes are, it doesn't make her a bad client or customer.

 

If she is going to the store to steal a paint brush, it means she is a bad person. But simply not knowing something about how to shop there doesn't make her a bad person or a bad client.

purplepony
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
12 of 34

Preston H stated:

 

Clients are the customers.

 

Freelancers are the professionals who get paid by the customers.

 

Imagine Home Depot...

 

A client (customer) goes into the store for the first time. She doesn't know where paint brushes are. A person who works there (analogous to a freelancer) is knowledgeable, and tells her.

 

The client finds the paint brush she was looking for and buys it. She is a happy customer. She will return to shop there.

 

If she doesn't know where paint brushes are, it doesn't make her a bad client or customer.

 

If she is going to the store to steal a paint brush, it means she is a bad person. But simply not knowing something about how to shop there doesn't make her a bad person or a bad client.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 Preston, of course I understand your analogy.  I don't believe that Clients that don't find their own answers are "bad."  However, I'd think they'd want to be responsible for finding their own answers.
 
Curiosity question-from numerous posts you've made it appears that you do very little/if anything for Clients without billing them for it.  How do you personally handle when they ask you questions about what they need to do via Upwork, how to do it, etc?  Thanks in advance.
purplepony
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
13 of 34

Isabelle Anne A wrote:

 

I don't like spending time combing through client help pages when my clients don't know how to do things, especially because I'm not familiar with the client side of Upwork.

 

But I do it anyway, because it's usually in my best interests (even though they could have easily looked up the same help guides themselves). 

 

In my opinion, the problem seems to be that the site is not very intuitive for new or even well-established clients and freelancers. That, or maybe we're just lazy :-/

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Isabelle, I do do it also but believe it should be the Clients responsibility; not ours as Freelancers.  There'll always be lazy people in the world...

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
14 of 34

re: "Curiosity question-from numerous posts you've made it appears that you do very little/if anything for Clients without billing them for it. How do you personally handle when they ask you questions about what they need to do via Upwork, how to do it, etc?"

 

That's a valid question.

You are correct about how I work, and how I advocate others work: Unless a project is really set in stone with regards to what the deliverables are, I prefer hourly contracts (not fixed-price). And when I work those hourly contracts, I log time whether I'm actually working on the project files, or answering questions via email, or talking to a client on the phone. All these things take up my time, and I bill equally for all of these things.

 

In actual practice, I don't recall spending any appreciable amount of time advising clients how to use Upwork. I HAVE spent my own time as a client advising new freelancers how to properly use the time-tracker software or how to submit their fixed-price contract work so they can get paid. So I'm not an ogre or anything. I give job opportunities to newbies and I make sure they get paid even if they're clueless.

 

If I had a client who had Upwork usage questions, I would answer those questions as part of regular email or chat communications with them, or rare phone/Skype conversations, and that time would be billed right along with them discussing intricate details of a project we were working on together. I don't think either of us (myself or the client) would even think about or notice a distinction between those topics and how the time should be logged or billed.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
15 of 34

I don't have these problems and I sell new people on the platform all the time. Weird. The worst I ever get is "what do I do next" and I just tell them that they have to hire me, I accept the offer and they have to escrow or add a CC on file.

 

I probably school people more with how I work more than how Upwork works.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

purplepony
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
16 of 34

Preston H's response to Pat M's "curiosity question..."

 

That's a valid question.

You are correct about how I work, and how I advocate others work: Unless a project is really set in stone with regards to what the deliverables are, I prefer hourly contracts (not fixed-price). And when I work those hourly contracts, I log time whether I'm actually working on the project files, or answering questions via email, or talking to a client on the phone. All these things take up my time, and I bill equally for all of these things.

 

In actual practice, I don't recall spending any appreciable amount of time advising clients how to use Upwork. I HAVE spent my own time as a client advising new freelancers how to properly use the time-tracker software or how to submit their fixed-price contract work so they can get paid. So I'm not an ogre or anything. I give job opportunities to newbies and I make sure they get paid even if they're clueless.

 

If I had a client who had Upwork usage questions, I would answer those questions as part of regular email or chat communications with them, or rare phone/Skype conversations, and that time would be billed right along with them discussing intricate details of a project we were working on together. I don't think either of us (myself or the client) would even think about or notice a distinction between those topics and how the time should be logged or billed.

 
 
 _____________________________________________________________________________________________
 
Preston, for numerous reasons I only work hourly contracts.  The questions often occur when I'm "off the clock;" for example the initial telephone interview (which I don't bill for) or shortly after I've clocked out...
 
As you well know, 10 minutes here; 20 there... all adds up.  Perhaps I should give them "an alternate choice close" in that I'd be pleased to assist them with answers, but I'll need to clock in first (on project working on) / they need to contract with me first...(on those I'm not) OR of course they're always welcome to review the wealth of information for Clients contained within the Upwork site.
pandoraharper
Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
17 of 34

This has turned into a really interesting thread, and I want to thank the OP, Pat, who shared her orginal take on this topic.

 

I think it's fair to say that to some of us, answering questions about Upwork might be considered beneath your pay grade, or contrary to the services you offer.

 

However, if you bill time to answer questions about Upwork, why not just consider this a "value added service". This way your not giving free work, and in the end, it's a win-win for everyone.

 

Clients are busy people, and while they might have read the basics about Upwork 4 years ago, they still might have any number of questions about how Upwork works.

 

Though this might sound greedy, trust me, it's not. But I pride myself in being able to "consult" with clients about any number of things that are outside my primary services. And I know my clients appreciate this.

 

As long term users of Upwork, I think a lot of us are in a unique position with 'expert' background on Upwork. Why not consider this a skill you can bill for.

purplepony
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
18 of 34

Your welcome, Pandora.

 

As I shared in my most recent reply to Preston:

 

The questions often occur when I'm "off the clock;" for example the initial telephone interview (which I don't bill for) or shortly after I've clocked out...
 
As you well know, 10 minutes here; 20 there... all adds up.  Perhaps I should give them "an alternate choice close" in that I'd be pleased to assist them with answers, but I'll need to clock in first (on project working on) / they need to contract with me first...(on those I'm not) OR of course they're always welcome to review the wealth of information for Clients contained within the Upwork site.
 
I LOVE your "value added service" idea!  Exceptional!!!  Thanks, Pandora.
 
 
 
purplepony
Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
19 of 34

Change "your" to "you're"-sorry. Smiley Happy

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
20 of 34

Pat does have a point. I am happy to help where I can - but not being a client, I can muddy the waters of knowledge.

 

Totally new clients - often with even less experience than the most inexperienced freelancer - could benefit from at least reading the ToS.

 

For example, clients should know (without freelancers telling them) that asking for free samples or being paid off site, or asking for academic work to be done on their behalf is a big no-no. They should also know the difference between $ and $$$; and they should also know how to word their RFPs.

 

There is a plethora of information offered by Upwork that  inexperienced (and not so inexperienced) clients should and could know, but which either through arrogance or laziness, they choose to ignore.

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