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ancadesigns
Community Member

Client asked for free work, demanding that it is part of the job application

A potential client invited me to apply for his project, then asked for free test work, completely assuming that free work is part of the application. I tried to clarify that this is against Upwork policy, and that test jobs should be paid. He rejected my Proposal to his job with the reason: "Ignored instructions in Job Posting" (which I didn't, there were absolutely no instructions requiring a free test), then responded that 40 other freelancers accepted working for him for free (which is a lie, since I can see how many applied), and I'm the only one not doing so! Now I'm sure he is using this 'technique' to get free work. Additionally, his account was made 2 years ago, but he had no projects accomplished. I don't usually report every person asking me for a free test, but this one is really mean and almost surely doing this everytime he needs work done (for free). In the end, he threatened that he'll report me for "harrasing" and that I am wasting his time and that I should just jog on ๐Ÿ˜„

My main question is: If you are an experienced freelancer with constant paid projects and a strong portfolio, should you accept free tests? And if not, then should you even try to help these potential clients and clarify that this is not ok?

13 REPLIES 13
petra_r
Community Member


Anca D wrote:

 Additionally, his account was made 2 years ago, but he had no projects accomplished. I don't usually report every person asking me for a free test, but this one is really mean and almost surely doing this everytime he needs work done (for free). In the end, he threatened that he'll report me for "harrasing" and that I am wasting his time and that I should just jog on ๐Ÿ˜„

My main question is: If you are an experienced freelancer with constant paid projects and a strong portfolio, should you accept free tests? And if not, then should you even try to help these potential clients and clarify that this is not ok?


Simply flag as inappropriate, select reason "asking for free work" and include a screenshot of the request.

Then move on. Why are you even wasting your time arguing with that **bleep**?

Why are you even wasting your time arguing with that **bleep**?

 

That's what I've asked myself really. But then when I saw his answers, I just couldn't help writing back! I felt it's my responsibility to the freelancer's community here on upWork to clarify things for potential employees, and let them know that IT IS NOT OK to use freelancers like this. I flagged him and also reported him, but unfortunately, his last words were a threat and not a "thank-you for your help". Not that I expected it, but it would have really proven professionalism from his side.


Anca D wrote:

Why are you even wasting your time arguing with that bleep?

 

That's what I've asked myself really. But then when I saw his answers, I just couldn't help writing back! I felt it's my responsibility to the freelancer's community here on upWork to clarify things for potential employees.


Yeah, but that isn't a potential client ๐Ÿ˜‰

 


Anca D wrote:

...let them know that IT IS NOT OK to use freelancers like this


He knows.

He just doesn't care.

 

 


Anca D wrote:

I flagged him and also reported him, but unfortunately, his last words were a threat and not a "thank-you for your help". 

 

That's not unfortunate. It will help Upwork see what's really going on.


 

wlyonsatl
Community Member

Never wrestle with a pig.

 

It upsets the pig and all you get is dirty.

That's a bit harsh, don't you think? Wrestling with a pig would mean that I'd respond to him in the same way he responds to me. This was not the case. I politely gave him facts and pointed to his mistake, suggesting he should re-evaluate his behavior towards freelancers. I couldn't know he'll just continue being mean and attacking, that had just proven that he's unprofessional and unable to work with people. I didn't get dirty in any way, but instead, he got himself reported so he'll have an even harder time getting free work in the future.

Hmmm.

 

Yes, you might want to continue to exchange pleasantries with him and hope to convince him of the error of his ways. By all means, do what you think best in all your dealings with clients of all kinds.

 

I wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt or give him another thought. But maybe that's just me.


Anca D wrote:

That's a bit harsh, don't you think? Wrestling with a pig would mean that I'd respond to him in the same way he responds to me.


It's a saying, Anca. It is not mean literally.

It means it is a bad idea to directly engage with people who are bad.

 

 

Sorry, language barier ๐Ÿ™‚ Didn't hear this saying before.

 

Yes, true. I stopped engaging after 3 answers anyway, I guess that was as much as I could do.

re: "I felt it's my responsibility to the freelancer's community here on upWork to clarify things for potential employees"

 

If you want to be responsible, the main things to do are:

- Do NOT work for free.

- Use the "Flag as inappropriate" button to report bad "clients"

 

I'm not sure if "clarifying" things for potential "employees" (clients) is something you need to worry about at all. Certainly don't spend time and energy doing so. You may well be dealing with a scammer client who knows they are breaking the rules. In which case, any efforts to "clarify" things are just a waste of time.

 

If I am dealing with a potential client who I think is genuine and just not aware of the rules, I don't mind helping them learn. But I don't waste time with people I know are scammers.

feed_my_eyes
Community Member


Anca D wrote:

I don't usually report every person asking me for a free test


Why not ALWAYS flag these projects as inappropriate? It only takes a second, and you'll be doing more to protect the Upwork community than arguing with just one "mean" client.

I just recently decided to submit a brief and realistic bid on a job, while also pointing out that I could not do the quite modest test the prospect had asked for as part of the application. Based on signs of serious intent and good faith throughout the RFP, I interpreted the new clientโ€™s request as an innocent mistake. The request was immediately waived in the response, and we went on to have a substantive discussion about the job. In thanking the prospect for not insisting on the test, I did make the point that requests for free work were strictly dealt with by Upwork. (I have the impression that Upwork, in the case of first violations, just states the policy and asks clients to remove the free test request.)

ladyelexia
Community Member

If you have a large body of work and long profile, simply inform the client that you are happy to offer a pre-existing sample of your work in the same niche as their project, even better if your sample is published with credit to you somewhere online. They will either accept that, or they will pay for a trail job, or they will just move on. 

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