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The Goldilocks Rate

Community Guru
Robert James R Member Since: Apr 17, 2015
1 of 5

I've been reviewing my profile and noticed a certain trend on my job rates. I realized I mostly get hired at my lowest price range which is sligtly more than half of how I would price myself. I call this the Goldilocks rate. I found out I get the job if I apply with the Goldilocks rate regardless of job skill required (entry, intermediate, expert).


Example: your preferred rate (on your profile) is maybe $20 but your success rate is maybe 1 out of 10. But your rate of maybe $8 (or less) gets you around 8 out 10 job bids.


Does anyone here have the same experience? Veterans, newbies, is your current rate's success much, much lower than what you usually get hired for?


How often would you go for the preferred rate vs the Goldilocks rate? Would you risk not getting hired but bid the price you WANT or just have a decent job even if the rate was lower than half your preferred price?


P.S. This is just for curiosity's sake. My profile makes me summarize how clients here are borderline cheap despite the level of expertise you have for the job.

Community Guru
Suzanne N Member Since: Aug 15, 2012
2 of 5



I started at a lower rate when I first started on oDesk/Upwork, but I really did not as I told one of the clients I would work for the rate as the job was easy, but if my job changed I would ask for my regular rate, which I got eventually when I was given more responsibility with the company I work with.


I have never taken less then my expected rate and have turned down jobs that have offered me less. Perhaps it is I know my skill level and my rate is actually lower then a lot of people with the skill set I have, but I also factored into everything cost of living, taxes, and my other expenses and live quite comfortable on my rate.


I do not lack invites or when I apply for a job being interviewed, although sometimes it is slow on here as of lately. I have two clients I have been with long term and tend to prefer long term jobs over short term. So not sure if I answered your question, but do not feel anyone should setting for a lower rate if you have skills in what you are applying for. You should set a rate and stick to it. 

Community Guru
Santiago G Member Since: Mar 10, 2015
3 of 5

@ Robert


I don't know about anyone elses rate but mine was there as a guess!! Smiley LOL  I didn't know and currently still don't care that awful much about it since I'm usually going after fixed price jobs only. I did start with an hourly job and simply added the time manually for the whole thing. It was fine by me. At that time, I left it at $3/hour due to lack of a better idea. Then I saw various topics/posts saying "increase your rate" (for whatever reasons) to other freelancers looking for help. So I tried it. Not much of anything changed in doing so. That's ok. I can leave it there and it hasn't seemingly hurt anything as of yet.


But when going after the fixed price jobs as a writer, I wouldn't want anything less than $1 / 100 words. Unless it was something so incredibly easy that I'd try it just for fun OR lack of better ideas..... bored anyway.... etc etc. Things like that. Otherwise, I'm seeing it as not worth it. I been getting $1/100 words and I'm usually pretty quick to write articles. So why would I go after something lower (unless there's some serious fun in it of course) ? I still reveived bonuses too so that makes things rather nice. Someone could take a job with a "Goldilocks" rate as you described and get a decent bonus or 6 along with it.


As for your questions. It depends on the person replying. But you'll more than likely see a wide range of replies. But I'm sure freelancers might go for lower paying jobs just the same depending on their own situation and how much the job captures their interest. Some might try it out of lack of better jobs currently available. Others wouldn't even dream to give a lower paying job half a second of thought.


You're finding work in using that "Goldilock" rate. That's great. But the question quickly becomes, does anyone want to keep working knowing that they are losing money with the lower rate? "Losing" in comparison to what they have been getting for the same or very similar work. From your example...... it would take 2 and 1/2 jobs to match 1 job from your example rate. Anyone have time for those two - three jobs to try to match the one in pay? Yet another aspect of it.


How many times have we all seen posts indicating that a lower rate also shows a lack of confidence in your work / abilites? Yet anothe aspect of it.


^ See?!! You're going to get all kinds of stories about it !! Some are ok with their rates and possibly want higher. Others, they'll take anything they can get their hands on just to get started. The list goes on and on!!

Community Guru
Aleksandra K Member Since: Mar 31, 2015
4 of 5

I personally think that it all depends on how often you are able to find a job with your most preferred rate. You can either bid lower than your rate and possibility get little more jobs or just stick to what you have and (maybe) work on fewer jobs but earn pretty much the same money.


I usually have a “minimum” rate and I never accept jobs which are lower than that, regardless how bored I am at the moment. I adjust my bids according to the requirements and the time I would need to finish the task. I don’t think we should be focused only on jobs which offer the preferred rate, as that limits the choice of work.  


Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 5
re: "but I also factored into everything cost of living, taxes, and my other expenses"

That's interesting. I definitely don't consider any of those things when setting my rate.

And the "Goldilocks" rare? No way.

I basically just set my rate higher and higher in order to avoid getting too many invites and job offers. Even when I apply for jobs myself, I apply with a high rate which is intended to NOT get me the job unless a client is really serious about wanting me to work for them.

When I look at the rates of other contractors who are competing with me for the same jobs, I get kind of annoyed when I see there are people who are more expensive than I am. And, yes, there are quite a few people with higher rates than me.

(Obviously this is NOT an approach that should be used by somebody who is a newbie or doesn't currently have work.)