I'm absolutely livid (again) with the UpWork systems.
I have a client who has gone inactive for several months now and is not responding to my messages. I asked support if they could help me close off the contract in a way that I would not be punished (JS). The support agent told me that 1,2 or even 3 of these 'bad' contracts won't 'ruin' my JS. So he told me to just close it and take the hit.
Here's the thing...
I worked for 1 hour and charged eh client for 1/2 hour because I liked helping him. He was very happy and kept the contract open for future consultations. He became inactive afer that. He was happy. I was happy. Good contract.
After asking 3 times if closing the contract myself would slightly affect my JS, he gave deflective answers and never a a straight reply. So I asked in a blunt way that could not be dodged. "If I had 10 client who went inactive, would that affect my JS" - THe Answer? Yes. Yes, it would.
So, even if you have a great relationship with a client and do a great job for them, if THEY go inactive. THe system punishes the freelancer!
Support offered no help to attempt to contact the client or close it without hurting my JS.
Someone PLEASE tell me how this is fair??
Absolutely fed up. I've been finding work off this platform now for several months and have already been closing off any remaining contracts. It's such a gong show that no one who takes their job or life seriously could possibly use this platform beyond entry level work, and with the lowering quality of clients it is only a matter of time before a responsible freelancer will become 'punished' for their client's behaviour.
**edited for Community Guidelines**
I had one contract that went inactive and it affected my JSS. It wasn't that it was inactive that was the problem, because the moment it goes inactive, the client reactivated it. It was that I didn't work on it for many months. Then when the client finally got organized, I worked another hour and magically now my JSS is great.
At the same time I complain about it because I think it's a poor metric to be using as if it was a good one. I can see why having stale contracts is a bad thing. The low JS score doesn't really seem to make it difficult to win clients.
I think maybe you're upset about the wrong things. You're upset because your JSS will maybe decrease. You aren't complaining that it has affected you in any tangible ways, like being unable to find work because of it.
I remember when it was pretty regular to hear people at Elance calling Upwork freelancers "bottom feeders". Oh the irony... This isn't McDonalds and you don't work at Upwork. When people ask where I work, I tell them I'm an independent contract. I just so happen to find work on Upwork.
Why complain when you already have work on other platforms? I used to use Craigslist and newspapers before oDesk, and I was gone as soon as I found something better. I didn't tell people that I worked at Craigslist or the newspaper because that wouldn't make any sense. Stuff changes all the time and you have to be able to adapt.
You're abandoning Upwork and you expect your JSS to look great? No, the contracts sit and your JSS drops. Build a portfolio somewhere else.
I agree with you to some degree only because I don't think JSS is a fair assessment and it puts the freelancer in employee mentality. At the same time you're complaining about your JSS and you're not planning on using the site? If I remember correctly, you've said you were leaving multiple times. If you're not working here then why so livid? Upwork doesn't owe you anything, and you don't owe Upwork either. That's the beauty of freelancing.
Well, regarding this, "You're abandoning Upwork and you expect your JSS to look great? No, the contracts sit and your JSS drops..."
I totally would and do expect that my JSS looks good if I did a great work during that time on oDesk/Upwork. The quality of work I did on Upwork hasn't been changed just because I don't work there anymore. It would be ok with me if it was not displayed at all, but I don't want to see it gradually decreasing with no fault of my own.
Actually, I am in that stage right now where I am looking into some other opportunities. From what I heard, if you are inactive for 2 years, it will stop being displayed eventually (which is okay, kind of ) but I am not sure will it decrease gradually till that point or what...I wouldn't like to see it decreasing from 100 to 32 just because I am not active anymore.
And then, even if he was still active on the platform, just that assumption that his inactive contracts are somehow the sign of bad work is wrong. Clients pay for the work and forget about it, unless they have an ongoing need for that type of work. For them it is like a finished story the moment they pay and don't complain. Most of people are very angry if they'd been taken for a ride-and they will either file dispute or leave negative comments. They won't just disappear because they were unhappy and go off somewhere to silently lick their wounds.
I don't know where that idea comes from really, but probably from someone who has no knowledge of human psychology.
People don't have problem to complain when they are unhappy with the product/service. They are very loud actually! Unfortunately, when they are happy, most of them won't bother to say it. They would assume that paying and not complaining was enough. (I don't have problem with inactive contracts btw, but I just say this as a matter of principle.)
Happy New Year to all, btw
Inactivity isn't a problem. I don't believe your JSS will drop due to inactivity. It drops when you have open contracts that are inactive. So close all the contracts and your JSS won't change. The formula is based on the number of contracts in a 6 month or 2 year period. After 2 years you won't have a JSS.
You are totally right about people focusing on the bad. You can't make everyone happy. When you are working on lots of contracts, the JSS is watered down by aggregation. Each contract carries less weight when you have many, and more weight when you have few. Having 2 projects and one going idle for a long time even though nothing actually "negative" happened could be a devastating blow to JSS. Normally, you would weight based on a curve rather than a straight line to make it balanced.
I get why inactive contracts is bad. You have to imagine that we are expected to drum up business with the clients. So we need to have systems in place to keep them active. It's not really negative, but some freelancers depend on new contracts because they don't make the most of the ones that they have. This is why you hear so many complaints about not having enough connects. If you pick up one client a month, and find ways to keep them sending you business, then after a year you have 12 long-term clients and an awesome JSS.
Unfortunately, some clients suck and you need to avoid them like the plague. Even with a fair attrition rate you can retain lots of clients and build a steady stream of business.
Upwork is great compared to many other options. Freelancers are free to complain but at the end of the day you create your own path in life. It's not Upwork's fault because you have no obligation to use the platform. Upwork does have a responsibility to clients and freelancers to maintain the best possible marketplace. The changes are improving lots of things and screwing up others. It's not as easy to get work and if you're blowing through connects it's because you weren't really promoting yourself right. JSS, horrible freelancers, and horrible clients are my only complaints with Upwork at the moment. Everything else is great and I'm grateful for the platform, even if it's upsetting at times. I pivot and adapt to the conditions.
Tony is adapting by switching platforms which is a huge energy expense, especially if he doesn't have the authority of his Upwork profile to help his image on another platform. I think that is the catalyst of Tony's complaints. The cost of switching platforms is high at first but it will get easier.
Happy New Year Natasa!
Thanks Daniel! Hope we all have the best one yet!
I still think that inactivity on contracts shouldn't be the reason for decrease. There are many types of work that are one-time, short-term etc. (I mean, you won't hire someone to write your CV 10 times, for example! You won't need the start-up business plan twice if it was done properly the first time...) Blowing through connects may be the consequence of the work one does-a lot of small, two-three day projects which, I agree, don't see to be profitable as the business model anymore.
But I 'll leave some other people to discuss this.
Best to all!
I tend to agree with Natasa. I don't think our JS score should be affected by inactive contracts - if the inactivity is because of the client. I understand that long-term gigs pull more weight than several short-term gigs, but like many other freelancers out there, much of my business comes from one-off gigs.
Although I offer three writing services, the bulk of my business comes from PR writing gigs. Unless I'm working with a marketing firm, I don't usually get long-term projects. After all, it's pretty rare when that a single business needs to make a public announcement every week.
Sure, those one-off gigs could turn into repeat clients, but not long-term projects. There is a difference lol.
Back on point, the JS being affected by inactive contracts is, in fact, stupid if you ask me. I have a client who was very responsive during the interview phase, but once she hired me for her "rush job," her responsiveness went in the toilet. I was lucky to get a response from her every 2 days at first. Then, after not hearing from her for like two weeks, I decided to submit the copy through the "request approval/payment" option. I still haven't heard back from her, the 2-week period after submission has since passed and Upwork had to approve it since she apparently hasn't returned, and the contract is still pending/open. Is that my fault? No. Should my JS be affected? No. Will it? Yes, more than likely. It hasn't yet, but I'm still waiting for the ball to drop. I figure it will drop once the 90-day policy expires, and the job is auto-closed. I just hope it's not too hard of a drop, and hope that the contracts that I have going on currently (and in the future) will be enough to counter some of the blow.