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Serious: Isn't this website just facilitating underpaid outsourcing for poor design

Active Member
Ian M Member Since: Jun 22, 2016
1 of 11

I mean the serious part.  Am I wrong, because i've looked at some of the portfolios and rates people work for, and competetiveness on this site is split between people who already have very high ratings, and the website pushes onto clients OR that guy who works for $3.33 an hour using Windows movie maker, or the equivalent (GoAnimate).  There's virtually no (VIRTUALLY no) sliding gradient of work in there.

Active Member
Neil TS F Member Since: Apr 7, 2011
2 of 11

Ian, it seems to me that your assumptions may be correct, and that is why they may have eliminated the abillity to see the applicant list, so that it wasn't so starkly obvious that the trend was becoming more and more so headed in that direciton. It is even more grossly apparent on freelancer where I spent a month attempting to find work on there and nearly every job was either someone in a faraway land as you have described working for 3.33hr or there were one or two from north america. There is the rare occasion on upWork that someone is not seeking to exploit the masses in far-flung locales for sub-par work and you to have wade through the mucky-muck to find it. 

Active Member
Khalid A Member Since: Jun 21, 2016
3 of 11

Unfortunately, so far it seems like it.


UpWork has just rolled out their new fee structure with a promise to bring in better clients. I'm not sure how exactly does that work, but that would be the only good thing coming out of this new fee structure.


The other main issue seems to be that many clients here are looking for the lowest rates rather than the best quality. So the higher-quality service providers would need to either get in competition with the low-balling majority and lower their rates, or just put in more effort to try and educate clients on quality and hope for 1 out of 50 jobs every blue moon.


There should be a minimum rate set per category. So, for example, animated videos shouldn't go below a specific rate per minute, say $500. This would push clients to understand that this isn't a simple job, and consequently the client would aim for hiring providers with better quality.

Community Leader
Joshua T Member Since: Apr 18, 2016
4 of 11

In a word -- yup. You might be better than that guy who works for $3.33 an hour, but to the VAST majority of clients on here, the boost in quality that they get for paying $30/hr vs $3/hr is, well... it's not worth it to them.


Just look at the job feed for animation. Full of two minute explainer videos with budgets of $200 (and far less). What a wasteland.



Active Member
Rizki H Member Since: Mar 21, 2017
5 of 11



It is also why I am not interested in freelancing sites before. But for me this site is a better place than much other freelancing sites out there (yes especially freelancer!!) when every job post filled with 50+ applicant with insanely low rates ( I mean how can anyone live anywhere in the world when he did a design project at 5$ full rate, not even hourly???). And at a price as cheap as that I dont think you can get even just a modest result.


So as also how I approach here is I aim just for sane clients, let them go went they say my price is to high (while I stillopen to negotiate, but not in insane rate). There's also no passion for me if I do cheap work, it is very much better when I do it free for charity.





Active Member
James S Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
6 of 11

It's a simple case of supply and demand, and cost-effectiveness.


For a freelancer - you can't alter the supply of jobs coming in, but you CAN alter the demand for your work.




By having a better profile, better portfolio, and better proposal writing skills.


99% of people are absolutely awful at this.


Then they complain that they can't get jobs, or their proposals aren't responded to.


For a client - it's not cost effective for them to pay $80/hr when a $5/hr freelancer will do...


... unless you can show them why it is.


People want something that will work, they don't necessarily care about money - a small proportion will ONLY care about budget, and that's fine, they won't be swayed - but the majority will pay more for a job well done.


This job well done isn't what you think it is - a good animation etc.


Their idea of a job well done is what this animation etc. will actually DO for them.


If you can show that a cheap freelancer that produces bad work WON'T provide the results that your work will - you'll get the job.


If you can't... well... it speaks for itself then doesn't it.


Justify your rates - the sliding scale you're talking about is people who can't sell themselves, and people who can; there is no middle ground.


Food for thought.

Ace Contributor
Davide O Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
7 of 11

Hi Ian!

I had the exact same thoughts today. Just skimmed through my "suggested job proposals", and there were a lot of people asking for 200-300-400 t-shirt designs, willing to pay approximately 4$ per design. I don't know if it's just people not realizing how valuable are some kind of jobs/projects, but they clearly have no idea on the amount of work "400 designs" imply...and that they're probably getting some low-quality designs in return, at that price. (Altough those people tend to ask for a pretty high quality standard, and added revisions, which is even more mind boggling).


However the clients are not the only ones at fault I feel. As many already said, there's plenty (like...PLENTY) of people that undersell their services for 3.33$/h or willing to work on one of those "big projects" like the ones I quoted before...for 5-10-20$, and that's insane.


I'm all for discussing rates and project-pricing with my clients, but if the calculated hourly rate goes under a certain point, I can't accept that job, and won't even waste my "proposals" because the person who asked for that huge workload, for such a low price, is probably gonna find a freelancer fitting his "price range" (questionmark?)


The solution to that issue would probably be setting a minimum price for some type of projects, making sure the client has to choose the time-frame/deadline for the project itself and how much he's gonna pay per-design (if he's asking for more than 1), etc. So that it's not completely exploitable: Asking for 1000 designs, and paying 1600$ because that's the minimum for such projects would completely defeat the limitation purpose, it's still gonna be 1.6$ per design.

Active Member
Leonardo L Member Since: Apr 17, 2017
8 of 11
I haven't had any problem getting paid normal rates for an animator. This site is full of people that are willing to pay higher rates to get a much more high quality result, you can see that many of those people who have low rates don't have a very high job success score.
Active Member
Lindsay C Member Since: May 13, 2017
9 of 11

I personally think that the problem is not really with clients, it's the freelancers who are sending proposals and willing to work for beans in the first place.

Freelancers should be the ones to set the standard and surely it will help educate the clients to understand that payment of standard children's book to be completely illustrated and layout completed as well for $100 is completely and utterly unacceptable, an insult.

But people are still willing to apply. So if freelancers are willing to work for nothing why would clients rethink their prices?


Just my 2 cents worth.

Active Member
Daniel S Member Since: Aug 19, 2020
10 of 11

Hi, sorry I know this is 3 years later but it's still very relevant. 


I understand what you're saying about supply and demand but, really, shouldn't it be about the website itself enforcing a minimum standard? You can't blame freelancers because some people are desperate and will do anything for $5. You can't blame clients because, as you say, if people are accepting work for super low pay then why would they stop offering it/want to pay more?


So, ultimately, the platform itself is to blame. Right? It's completely within Upwork's rights and abilities to set standards and to forbid clients to underpay. Obviously they haven't done it because they're only interested in making money. But Upwork is regarded as the best freelancer website so why not make it that much better? 


Upwork! Please! Fix your system!