Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Why am I being charged for 10 minutes when my freelancer only had one minute of work?

Active Member
Gue Y Member Since: Dec 2, 2019
1 of 22

The freelancer spent ~1 minute creating a blank Google doc, and I got charged 10 minutes for it. Is this normal behavior here on Upwork when the pay is by the hour?! My freelancer has completed a little over a dozen projects and have over $20,000 earned; however, she doesn't know how the work diary functions (or maybe she does!). 8:10, 8:20, 8:30, 8:40, 8:50, 9:00, 9:10, 9:20, etc. From what I can understand, ANY work done between these time ranges are automatically put into their respected 10-minutes time slots. No matter how small the time spent working on the freelancer's side, the client is still being charged for the full 10-minutes? If I'm wrong, then my freelancer started at 6:30 and just waited until 6:39 to create a blank Google doc.

 

I am planning on spending one grand for the freelancer to work on my resume and LinkedIn profile, but I feel like the freelancer is slacking. Her rate is $80 per hour, and she also charges me for answering her questions while she stays idle. After I finished answering her questions, there was no response from her. 5 hours and 20 minutes later, she used the Upwork Desktop App to capture our old chat messages for one whole hour. We weren't even chatting at that point.

 

What sort of options do I have here? I am comtemplating terminating the contract and going on another freelancer platform to hire a resume/Linked profile writer.

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
2 of 22

Hi Gue,

 

I'm sorry about the issue that arose on your contract. Please communicate these concerns to your freelancer and try to come to a mutual agreement on the best way for them to bill you for tasks like these and possibly agree on the number of hours certain project stages should take. You can discuss adjusting the weekly limit as well and making an additional Fixed-Price contract/bonus payments (not covered by Payment Protection) to cover tasks like the one you mentioned and any communication, if that's part of the terms you discussed. You can also consider discussing closing the Hourly contract and creating a Fixed-Price one if you don't come to an agreement on proceeding with your Hourly contract, and agreeing on creating Milestones to cover certain stages of the project.

It's always best to share your expectations with the other party and communicate in detail any concern you have, in order to avoid confusion and a bad outcome on what might end up to be a misunderstanding as well as avoid getting billed for insufficient or unrelated tasks. Please reach out to us if you need further advice or assistance and we'll be more than happy to take a look and communicate with you directly. If you can't come to an agreement, you can also pause the contract and take additional steps as described in this Help article.

Active Member
Gue Y Member Since: Dec 2, 2019
3 of 22

Hey Vladimir,

 

Thank you for replying. I didn't expect so many replies so quickly. I also didn't expect I would learn so much about how Upwork tracks time. I can say for certain that I am not a fan of the hourly system, especially when hiring complete strangers whom work ethic is entirely unknown to me. Judging a freelancer by the amount of money earned can also be misleading as to whether the freelancer is a good fit for the project. 8 years of experience is probably not enough when it's not exclusive to just one skill. 8 years of x, y, and z could certainly be cumulative (e.g. 1 year of z, 2 years of y, and 5 years of x). This is not to say that the freelancer I picked on first glance has no experience, but my first impression of her is not in a good light after what has happened. I really think you guys ought to fix your hourly pay system, or this would be the trend going forward.

 

As for the options that you have suggested, fixed-price appeal to me more since I know how much I want to pay. Reading another poster's reply here also made me realize that fixed-price is the way to go. I know how much I am paying (probably a bit too much for what it's worth), but the special sauce is in the contract, right? I just need to be very specific on what I want. The only downsides to fixed-priced projects are scammers, and it seems the only way to prevent myself from being scammed is to set several milestones along the way.

 

Anyway, thanks again! I am not sure if I'd like to continue working with this particular freelancer, but I would keep your advice to heart.

Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
4 of 22

Gue Y wrote:

Hey Vladimir,

 

Thank you for replying. I didn't expect so many replies so quickly. I also didn't expect I would learn so much about how Upwork tracks time. I can say for certain that I am not a fan of the hourly system, especially when hiring complete strangers whom work ethic is entirely unknown to me. Judging a freelancer by the amount of money earned can also be misleading as to whether the freelancer is a good fit for the project. 8 years of experience is probably not enough when it's not exclusive to just one skill. 8 years of x, y, and z could certainly be cumulative (e.g. 1 year of z, 2 years of y, and 5 years of x). This is not to say that the freelancer I picked on first glance has no experience, but my first impression of her is not in a good light after what has happened. I really think you guys ought to fix your hourly pay system, or this would be the trend going forward.

 

As for the options that you have suggested, fixed-price appeal to me more since I know how much I want to pay. Reading another poster's reply here also made me realize that fixed-price is the way to go. I know how much I am paying (probably a bit too much for what it's worth), but the special sauce is in the contract, right? I just need to be very specific on what I want. "The only downsides to fixed-priced projects are scammers ..."


You've received great advice and feedback concerning hourly projects. I'd just like to state that there are many freelancers who choose to work only flat rate jobs, and we are mostly certainly not scamming our clients. There are good and bad freelancers on both sides of the equasion. Do your due diligence and choose your freelancers carefully; you'll get what you need without being scammed.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
5 of 22

Gue Y wrote:

Her rate is $80 per hour, and she also charges me for answering her questions while she stays idle.


Once a contract has started, charging for client communications is not something unusual when you're discussing the project with them. The 10-minute increment of the Upwork tracker, I agree, is not optimal. I hate it personally.

 

Concerning the time your freelancer takes to answer, you may discuss it with her, but before you do that, compare her timezone with yours!

 

Also you can terminate a contract at any time, obviously, if things aren't going the way you expected.

 

 

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Active Member
Gue Y Member Since: Dec 2, 2019
6 of 22

Hey Rene,

 

I agree with you that freelancers must be compensated for their time when they are discussing the project with their client. I just don't like it when they start charging for time that they haven't worked on or be a part of. I have a freelancer account of my own. If I don't work, I don't get paid. That is my mind set.

 

Earlier in the day, I had a phone interview with my freelancer. She wanted to ask me a few questions. The total time of this call is 8 minutes and 42 seconds. I already know what she was going to ask me, because she wrote those questions while clocked into Upwork's screen capture software. The questions were redundant. 9 minutes before the arranged phone interview, she typed a message on Upwork asking me if I would like to send examples of the job listings that I am interested in to her. Why ask me this 9 minutes before the phone interview?! You can guess what I did after the phone interview. I looked for three job postings and sent it to her, and she wants to charge me for my time. What she should have done is to ask this of me last night when she accepted the offer, so we can talk about it during the interview. Following the phone interview, she asked me the same questions again along with two additional questions but this time in Upwork chat. I answered all her questions, having to repeat and elaborate what I have said during the phone interview. After 15 minutes, she just left and and disappeared without saying any word. I continued to send my messages until I have finished answering all her questions. ~5 hours later, she uses Upwork's capture software to capture our previous chat "discussion." for 60 total minutes. Now, I am being charged for an additional 40+ minutes. I really don't know what to say here... it's just... unbelievable.

 

Edit: My freelancer and I are both on the same time zone.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
7 of 22

Okay, I guess you can either talk with her about this and express your dissatisfaction and see what happens, or close the contract thank her and hire someone else.

 

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Louisa J Member Since: Apr 12, 2017
8 of 22

An alternative option, and what I prefer with the larger projects when you already know how much you are willing to spend, $1000, is to say "I'll pay you $1000 to do this and this and this and it also includes any question time." This is the fixed-price option, it can be split into milestones too. 

 

 

 

Active Member
Gue Y Member Since: Dec 2, 2019
9 of 22

Thank you for this, Louisa! Your reply made me realize that fixed-price is the way to go with these types of projects. "I'll pay you $1000 to write me a resume and LinkedIn profile based on my old resume, work experience, skills, career goals, and dreams."  All split into several milestones along the way. More work on my end, but beats having to work with a freelancer who just wants to charge you extra by the minutes.

 

It's called hourly for a reason!

 

I really shouldn't had gone with hourly if I had known how it truly work. Thank you for enlightening me.

Active Member
Sunny L Member Since: Apr 28, 2016
10 of 22

Hello Gue,

 

First of all, the time slot is not fixed of 10 minuters, the Upwork tracker captures screenshot in any 5-10 minutes.

 

Second and most important for you is to check the "Activity level" for each time slot, literally each mouse click and keyboard clicks are tracked and this tells if the Freelancer has worked in that time slot or just kept the tracker running while doing little to no activity.

 

Here you can see the "Activity Level" bar in green after each slot's time:

 

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks,

Sunny

TOP SOLUTION AUTHORS
TOP KUDOED MEMBERS