» Forums » Freelancers » Re: Client requesting samples before hiring
Page options
Community Member

Client requesting samples before hiring

Hi Everyone, 


I need some help please. 

I am fairly new to Upwork. I recently sent a proposal for a logo design. The client contacted me and wants to see possible designs and ideas before hiring. I have sent my full portfolio in order for them to see what my previous designs looked like, but they want me to send ideas and mock graphics specifically for their business


I did ask the client to set up a contract for an hourly rate to do the test job. (Thanks Petra) But they advised they never hire without seeing sketches first? 

How does one handle this? Are we allowed to send the free samples? And if I do send the ideas & graphics, and they do not hire me, how am I to know they are not using my ideas or giving my designs to another designer?


Thanks everyone. All advice and tips to handle this situation or possible future situations like this will be highly appreciated. 





Thank you kindly. 


I appreciate the advice. 


Wishing you a lovely day. 🙂 

View solution in original post

Community Member

It is a violation of Upwork ToS for a client to ask for free work.


A client may look at a freelancer's portfolio.


A client who tries to get you to do free work so that they "see your sketches" or whatever is just trying to trick you.


If a client needs to see custom samples, then she needs to hire you using an hourly contract to pay you for your time to create those samples.


If you send a prospective client ANYTHING (ideas, graphics, custom samples, etc.) then that client may indeed use what you send her and there is nothing you can do about it.


It IS POSSIBLE that this client is simply ignorant of Upwork's rules.


My advice is to never report such a client immediately. Give the client the opportunity to do the right thing and hire you using an hourly contract. If the client does NOT hire you, then use the "Flag as inappropriate" link button in the top right corner of the job posting screen, or under the "Three Dots" icon, to report the client.


The client may hire you. Or get reported.

Thank you so much. 




Community Member

Venessa V wrote:

How does one handle this? Are we allowed to send the free samples? And if I do send the ideas & graphics, and they do not hire me, how am I to know they are not using my ideas or giving my designs to another designer?


You're free to send samples and work for free for anyone you like on this platform and elsewhere. It's your time, it's your choice. If done often, however, it won't be much of a business, though.


When you have done free work and shared the results, you have no way of knowing what happens next. Does the guy run away with what you just made? Will the guy sell it forward with profit without paying you a dime? If there is such uncertainty, why risk it?


I don't know anything about the logo design business, but as a software guy, I don't do any kind of test work or send samples. My portfolio and profile should be convincing enough for those who have intentions of actually buying my services.


As a consultant, however, the free work part is a bit vague. Many times I don't mind sitting in a video call with a potential client for half an hour. My primary interest is just to understand what the problem I should solve exactly is to be able to promise a realistic delivery. I may even give a couple of free high-level tips to show good faith and interest in the client and the job in question, and to demonstrate the competence required. But I don't give out any actual solutions without a contract.

Thank you kindly. 


I appreciate the advice. 


Wishing you a lovely day. 🙂 

Community Member

Hi Vanessa,


Appreciate you're in difficult position here. It's annoying how this wouldn't be expected in most other industries.


Yes the initial work they've requested is unpaid, but the work could be used for your portfolio, case-studies and future job applications. So the work can be repurposed if you and the client are happy with that. The more examples of your process and completed work that you have in your portfolio, the less chance you'll have of clients asking to create initial work for zero or low pay. Naturally there'll be clients who are completely unreasonable and make ridiculous demands before pricing is discussed. You'll want to run a mile from them!


Thx James

Thanks so much for your reply.

I did end up doing the samples and the client stopped replying to me after
all samples were sent.

Was not a great experience.

Wishing you a lovely day.

Same thing happend to me,

The client asked for assessment and when I send him my work in interview, he never replyed me again and till now he has not hired anyone in his job.

Hi Ekta,


I already sent your report to our team for investigation.


Please note that any request for free work is not allowed on Upwork, and it is a Terms of Service violation. It's important to note that you should never start working without an active contract, which would show on your My Jobs page.


Please check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs and use the flag option found on each job post or message anytime you’d like to report a violation.


Thank you.

~ Aleksandar

I so agree with you James.  I got two proposals and the clients want me to do the job before making a contract. I ask them to do so and they cancel.  


I believe some ground rules should be mandatory for these clients.

re: "I believe some ground rules should be mandatory for these clients."


It is already a violation of Upwork TOS for clients to ask freelancers to work for free.


The problem is not with Upwork's rules. The rule that is in place is a good rule.


The problem is that many freelancers work for free.


I blame those freelancers.

That is so true Preston.  I believe the steps from getting a proposal and sending messages/interviews should link to making a contract

Community Member

Yes, this also happened with me.

I was asked to send some ideas and graphical isllustration with respect to logo of their business.

But when I send my ideas and some samples of their business then they don't even reply or hire me.

This happened many times with me.

1 for Graphic Designing

1 for Translations Services

re: "This happened many times with me."


Why did you work for free many times?

You don't do that any more, I hope.

Community Member

Everytime I thought that maybe this time will not happen that again but happened.

But from now on I will not be doing this anymore

Community Member

I'll keep it simple -


1. Ask to be paid for the sample work.  Ensure the client understands it is a sample and not subject to revisions like a hired job would be.

2. If the client has an issue with paying for a sample, tell them to kick rocks.  You're about to get scammed.

Community Member

I am new to Upwork and had a great first experience a couple days ago.


That being said, I applied for a voice recording job and was asked for 25 samples done in 3 different ways. They also sent me an email to deliver the samples and I said it will be done when we setup a contract/milestone or something.

I sent samples to other job posts before but it was just a quick word so they could see if my voice would fit what was required. 


They said the 25 are just a sample and I will be paid if the sample gets approved. They have good reviews (4.7) but some are not so good about people not being paid. 


I think is probably best for me to not even follow up with this proposal, considering all I have been reading here. 

Latest Articles
Top Upvoted Members