cjourney
Member

$3/hour for Customer Service EXPERT? Am I wasting my time w/ Upwork?

Hello,

 

I just joined the Upwork platform two weeks ago hoping to make a higher income by setting my own rates. I have more than 10 years of Customer Service and Sales experience. Plus, I'm college educated. I should be able to charge at least $20/hr. Yet, I've felt compelled to drop my rate twice because I've come across so many job postings where the client's Avg Hourly Rate Paid is four bucks, for example. 

 

Yesterday, I turned down an ongoing, full-time project because the most I was offered was $9/hr. After Upwork's 20% fee, my rate would be $7.20, which is less than the U.S. federal minimum wage! 

 

What American can comfortably live out of $7.20 per hour?!

 

Not only did I cut my rate but in order to find higher paying projects, I also narrowed my search to only "Expert" level jobs. Yet, that isn't working either! I just came across a job posting where the client is seeking a Customer Service Expert but wants to pay no more than $3/hour! 

 

$3 an hour for an expert.  Seriously?!  What planet are these clients on?  

 

I've read comments in the Community that a majority of Upwork clients are extremely cheap when it comes to filling their Customer Service openings. They want top-notch freelancers, who speak (and write) in fluent English, to basically work for free!

 

Currently, my rate is set at $16/hr. I can't afford to go any lower. Is there a way to overcome this obstacle or am I simply wasting my time with Upwork?

 

Thank you,

Cicely

 

 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
sam-sly
Member

I am also fairly new (almost three months) and in a different field than you. But here is what I noticed...

 

1. Do not pay attention to the beginner/intermediate/advanced. This platform is full of clients who think very low rates are "expert pay". I have received better fees from some who say they chose "the lowest rates" than some who want "experts'. This is subjective to the point it is not very useful. 

 

2. Many clients come here looking to outsource to less expensive freelancers who may be from other countries. You just have to learn to ignore them. Decline their invitations if they invite you to interview and don't apply for their opportunities. One clue is the very low average hourly rate and perhaps another clue is if you look at who they actually hire. You may occasionally win one of them over, but they are shopping based on price. 

 

3. In your field, you also need to be wary of scammers. They are not as common in my field, but super common in data entry, customer service, and virtual assistants. Usually, they offer something that seems too good to be true and they want a Google hangout interview. They will try to get you to accept payment offsite and usually never pay or somehow trick the freelancer into paying them.  

 

Beyond that, since I am not in your field I don't know the legitimate clients or what they pay. They probably exist, but may be hard to find. Don't change your rate based on the clients who are looking for cheaper international outsourcing. You will just end up earning very little. Your $16 an hour is still too much if they are expecting to pay $3 per hour.  Just ignore those clients. And maybe raise your rate back to what would be reasonable in your field with your expertise. You are better off with one decent client than ten of these $3 per hour clients.

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15 REPLIES 15
sam-sly
Member

I am also fairly new (almost three months) and in a different field than you. But here is what I noticed...

 

1. Do not pay attention to the beginner/intermediate/advanced. This platform is full of clients who think very low rates are "expert pay". I have received better fees from some who say they chose "the lowest rates" than some who want "experts'. This is subjective to the point it is not very useful. 

 

2. Many clients come here looking to outsource to less expensive freelancers who may be from other countries. You just have to learn to ignore them. Decline their invitations if they invite you to interview and don't apply for their opportunities. One clue is the very low average hourly rate and perhaps another clue is if you look at who they actually hire. You may occasionally win one of them over, but they are shopping based on price. 

 

3. In your field, you also need to be wary of scammers. They are not as common in my field, but super common in data entry, customer service, and virtual assistants. Usually, they offer something that seems too good to be true and they want a Google hangout interview. They will try to get you to accept payment offsite and usually never pay or somehow trick the freelancer into paying them.  

 

Beyond that, since I am not in your field I don't know the legitimate clients or what they pay. They probably exist, but may be hard to find. Don't change your rate based on the clients who are looking for cheaper international outsourcing. You will just end up earning very little. Your $16 an hour is still too much if they are expecting to pay $3 per hour.  Just ignore those clients. And maybe raise your rate back to what would be reasonable in your field with your expertise. You are better off with one decent client than ten of these $3 per hour clients.

katrinabeaver
Member

It is a global economy.  Want to stand our? Make the first two lines of your propsal catchy.   Tell the client how you can solve their problem

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"
mthornton-cpc
Member

The other folks have given you great advice, Cicely, but I will add that lowering your rate will only attract clients who want to pay rock-bottom prices. Targeting clients who seek talent typically takes more time, but it better for your bottom line in the end. Good luck!

Thank you all very much for your advice!  I appreciate your quick replies.  Woman Happy

 

I will be sure to incorporate your suggestions.

 

I'll continue to make sure that every proposal I send is customized, and I won't cave in to fear by reducing my rate. I know my value, so I'll just be patient and wait for the better-paying, higher quality job postings to come along and ignore all others.

 

Enjoy the rest of your day.

 

Cicely

suznee
Member

I am going to chime in here as I do customer support. The ones wanting to pay the lower wages are generally hiring someone from countries that can live on a lower wage.

 

There are jobs out there that pay higher. I do customer service/tech support as well as I have myself available for a few other odd jobs. I have no problem picking up work on Upwork or off of Upwork at what ever rate I am working for at the time.

 

Just be confident in your skills and write a dynamic cover letter and let them know you are the one that they should hire. You will find work. Lowering your rate won't help. I worked when I first started for less but of course one of the jobs I took was very easy and the other one I turned out to be long term and I have been with them for four years now.

 

If you get a few jobs under your belt you can also look at the Customer Service Pro program, but you will need to have a job success score and some feedback. Although some of those jobs are great some are not as well as the jobs posted. Just be picky and you will land a Customer Service job.

Hi Suzanne,

You are absolutely correct. Those 3  and 4 dollar an hr jobs are geared toward folks living outside the USA. Where I get even with those employers is with my perfect English that they MUST have. I wish them good luck finding someone from another country who speaks perfect English. Also having years of experience in telemarketing speaking to Americans. You know the old saying, you get what you pay for. I continue to apply, but do not submit to their price quotes. I don t bother with entry level because there they have the right to offer a lower pay scale. I stay with Intermediate and Expert at 4.00 an hour yeh, right!  My track record is with guru.com and I also throw that into my cover letters.  The way I see it for every 1000 offers you might get 1 from someone who learned the hard way, you get what you pay for as we say.

I suspect that your profile photo also has something to do with your hiring rate.

 

Also, it's extremely short-sighted of you to think that people from other countries can't have perfect English.

I would do a $5/hr job if I am lucky enough to get it. I do understand that you can't afford to earn this little while living in the US but I would be ecstatic if I got such a job. I wish you well
heist
Member

I feel your pain.

 

I'd actually like to see Upwork offer a better filter for search results ie a minimum hourly rate or per word (for writers) filter so I don't waste time viewing these jobs.

I am having the same problem. Years of experience and these employers only pay 3 or 4 an dollars. I still apply with full impact and references with a twist at the end. I tell them if they are only paying 4.00 an hour they should wait for applicates from third world countries who speak perfect Englsih.  LOL and I still keep my quotes compensurate with my abilities. Where I am having some luck are those who only pay a commission or a base pay like 3.00 an hour plus commissions. Any of those could be a bread winner. Best of luck and don`t give in to those pikers!

 Daniel...do consider using your own picture for your profile...not doing so is a TOS violation.

carol_hughes
Member

I think these kind of 'offers' should be banned from UpWork, it appears to be on the increase and is an absolute insult.

Today am attaching a current vacancy, it is typical of many. As someone like yourself, who spent years working and studying to get to this point, these posts have significantly reduced the time I spend on UpWork.

So, UpWork decision makers....maybe it is time to review the situation before the 'experts' forget to look here at all for work.

Worth a mention....this posted job in the real world it is supposed to relate to, is worth around 25USD per hour....not a fiver, which once translated to euro for my location is 4 euro and 15 cents. 

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**


wrote:

I think these kind of 'offers' should be banned from UpWork, it appears to be on the increase and is an absolute insult.

Today am attaching a current vacancy, it is typical of many. 

 

So, UpWork decision makers....maybe it is time to review the situation before the 'experts' forget to look here at all for work. 


Carol, this is a gloal platform. "Global" means "worldwide". In one of the countries with the most freelancers $ 5 an hour is more than a doctor earns, in another it is twentyfive times the minimum wage.


If you don't like the rate offered, offer a different one or move on to the next job post.

 


this posted job in the real world it is supposed to relate to, is worth around 25USD per hour.... 

Where is your "real world"? 

 

In New York City that wouldn't be enough.

In many countries it's about appropriate

In many others it is way more than local clients could afford.

 


Carol H wrote:

I think these kind of 'offers' should be banned from UpWork

 

Why do you feel that freelancers, who have chosen to be independent business owners/operators, should be deprived of the right to make their own decisions about which jobs are worthwhile? 


Carol H wrote:

I think these kind of 'offers' should be banned from UpWork, it appears to be on the increase and is an absolute insult.

Today am attaching a current vacancy, it is typical of many. As someone like yourself, who spent years working and studying to get to this point, these posts have significantly reduced the time I spend on UpWork.

So, UpWork decision makers....maybe it is time to review the situation before the 'experts' forget to look here at all for work.

Worth a mention....this posted job in the real world it is supposed to relate to, is worth around 25USD per hour....not a fiver, which once translated to euro for my location is 4 euro and 15 cents. 

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**


Perhaps it would seem less insulting if you perceived the job posts for what they are: An invitation for interested freelancers to submit a proposal. If you are not interested, then the job is of no impact to you and you aren't the target of its invitation. The prospects who list gigs on Upwork aren't speaking directly to any single freelancer. They are merely setting out their parameters to alert others to the potential for work.

Should I be offended by billboards on the side of the road advertising products I don't want to buy at a price I don't want to pay? I'm not going to choose another highway simply because some of the road signs don't appeal to me.