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ivissuals
Member

Client referral

Greetings, I have a question regarding referrals outside of Upwork. I heard about the "bring your client to upwork" option (no fee for work done), which looks great, although I can't find it, or it's unavailable to me ? ALso I met some clients on Upwork, and they were really pleased with my work and want to reffer me to their friends and coleagues. Do I HAVE to ask them to register on Upwork ? I do not want to break any rules since I really like the platform and I'm very glad it exists! Thanks in advance.

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vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Irfan,

 

Apologies for the late follow-up. A client can't circumvent the Upwork platform by asking a colleague to hire you instead of hiring you himself.  In addition, when a client signs up on behalf of a company then the client binds the company to the non-circumvention terms. It sounds like here, the client engaged you and then referred you to another client at the same company. If the colleague would like to do hire you directly instead of through Upwork, the company can pay the Opt Out Fee.  Otherwise, the colleague can create a new Upwork account.

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vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Irfan,

 

We do have an ongoing campaign that you mentioned but it's only available for Top Rated freelancers.

 

Regarding your second question, freelancers are free to market their businesses and find clients on other websites but note that they can't work with a client they first met on Upwork on other websites, directly or through a different client, unless two years have passed or the client pays the Opt-Out Fee. 

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okay so basically for clearance purposes : A client hired me on Upwork to design his apartment, I finished the job and he was satified. Payment was made only through Upwork and the job is done. After lets say 2 months the client contacts me becouse hes work coleague needs hes apartment designed, so that is a totally different person and a totally different job, only conection is that if I didn't meet the first client (on Upwork), I wouldn't meet hes coleague aswell. So basically I do not have to tell him (new client, ex- clients co-worker) to register on Upwork ?

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Irfan,

 

Apologies for the late follow-up. A client can't circumvent the Upwork platform by asking a colleague to hire you instead of hiring you himself.  In addition, when a client signs up on behalf of a company then the client binds the company to the non-circumvention terms. It sounds like here, the client engaged you and then referred you to another client at the same company. If the colleague would like to do hire you directly instead of through Upwork, the company can pay the Opt Out Fee.  Otherwise, the colleague can create a new Upwork account.

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Thank you for the response, I fully understand.

Hi Vladamir, I have a clarification question with this as I'd love to be certain to be following the rules to a "T" as well. It sounds like if it's a client within a company who refers another client within a company, that new client needs to hire me on Upwork since it's in the same company (makes sense). But what if I were to work with a client and then they refer me to a friend (not part of the same company at all) who wants to hire me separately. The work is only for the friend, not the original client, and is just a referral from the original client. Is that friend required to hire me on Upwork? I totally get the opt-out fee or hire on Upwork if it's a company hiring and it's an new person in the company hiring. But what about just a friend referral? Please let me know when you're able. Thanks!!

The ToS only stipulates a direct find between client and freelancer via Upwork. There is no indication that second degree connection binds you to UW. That's really not practical anyway. So a friend of an UW client, that is not part of the client's company, should be considered as separate and not required to work through UW. 

Hi Camille,

 

Since originally the client connected with you via Upwork, it would be circumvention for their friend to hire you outside of Upwork since the Terms of Service prohibit payment off platform for any work "arising out of your relationship with" the client. You can ask their friend to hire you on Upwork. Since you are Top Rated, you can also take advantage of our promo that allows freelancer to bring new clients and work with them at 0% Service Fee.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thank you so much for the clarification Valeria! Much appreciated!!

That is not what was said here and on other threads. Can you explain what the difference is? https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Is-this-circumvention/m-p/524639

accidental reply

What Kim asked - +100.  Doesn't make sense.  Either it's one or the other.

I think the only person who could answer whether the TOS as written prevents satisfied clients from referring you to others off-platform would be an attorney. And, if you put two attorneys in a room, each would probably give you a different answer. 


Tonya P wrote:

I think the only person who could answer whether the TOS as written prevents satisfied clients from referring you to others off-platform would be an attorney. And, if you put two attorneys in a room, each would probably give you a different answer. 


Agree, but there are quite a few factors favoring the freelancer here. The first is that as a matter of law, vague terms are construed against the party that drafted the contract and in favor of the one who just signed. Similarly, unclear terms are generally construed in favor of the "underdog" in the relationship--the one with less negotiating power. And, of course, there's the public policy issue regarding the potentially insane level of overreach...a freelancer could work with one client on Upwork who recommended him to two others who each recommended him in turn, and soon his entire roster would be filled with clients who had never heard of Upwork (or, perhaps, the original client) but were obligated to work through Upwork for two years. 

 

Of course, it's not worthwhile for most freelancers to challenge, since attorney fees would be much more than the relevant Upwork fees (which is what big companies count on).

I was more pointing out that it would be useful if the moderators were singing from the same songsheet than anything.  (Even better if they got CS agents to join in the chorus.) And I get the spirit of the condition, which presumably is what is actually adhered to.

 

Like Scott said, in the real world it's hardly practical. It places you in the wrong even if you don't know that's where you've been referred from. It can only work if freelancers report that they've been offered work by a client's friend, colleague or Great Aunt Agnes (who might not even own a computer). And it introduces the interesting anomaly that a client you've been working with for over two years is no longer obliged to pay via Upwork, but if they have a friend who wants to work with you, they are.  

 

The dubious legality of the condition probably doesn't matter too much in real life, either.  It's extremely unlikely to be challenged, particularly as Upwork has a whole collection of other conditions to invoke if they felt like excluding an individual.

 

But some consistency would be nice all the same.

 

Sorry about this, Kim and others. 

 

I'd like to confirm that my reply on this thread provides correct and most current information. We've edited Goran's reply accordingly and merged the threads to make sure anybody who'll be searching for this information in the future come across this thread.

 

We'll make sure to do proper training and get everybody in the team on the same page.

 

Thanks!

~ Valeria
Upwork

I guess there hasn't been enough fuss about this one yet for them to run it by their legal team.

 

Vagueness of the terminology aside (and vague terminology is always construed against both the drafter of the contract and the party with more bargaining power) the public policy implications of taking a freelancer's entire future referral chain hostage in perpetuity are staggering.

 

 

"... the public policy implications of taking a freelancer's entire future referral chain hostage in perpetuity are staggering" .  Yes. That.

Dear Vladimir, 

As an end-user of UpWork freelance services (who trains start up incubators and small business operators), I'd like to be able to refer other business owners to UpWork and be rewarded for doing so (in my case, I'd be just as happy for these rewards to be a donation to my Kiva charity team). Does UpWork offer something like this for existing clients to refer new clients to the platform?

Thanks,

AJ

g_vasilevski
Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Hi Andy,

 

Unfortunately, we don`t have any client to client referral programs at the moment, thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

Oh, dear. I see that Goran has popped in and pointedly ignored the comments above, preferring to answer another question that is more recent. I can only assume he was offended at being quoted as contradicting what Valeria said. It wasn't intended as a personal slight, Goran. 

A client I've had for a year on Upwork has recommended me to a friend not on Upwork. 

If I do work for that friend and we don't bring it onto Upwork, is that outside of the reach of the circumvention agreement? 

It doesn't seem like it would be, but I just want to make sure. 

 

Hi Catherine,


You`re right, there's no violations of our TOS in this case. Thank you.

 

*Edited:*

 

  


Valeria K. wrote:

Since originally the client connected with you via Upwork, it would be circumvention for their friend to hire you outside of Upwork since the Terms of Service prohibit payment off platform for any work "arising out of your relationship with" the client. You can ask their friend to hire you on Upwork. Since you are Top Rated, you can also take advantage of our promo that allows freelancer to bring new clients and work with them at 0% Service Fee.

 


 

~ Goran
Upwork
bandhuprahlad
Member

Hi 

i want to work on upwork any lead for me, 

thanks