Are clients having a ball at the expense of contractors?
We are all aware about the cost of services dropping drastically over the last few months. Clients and contractors are both impacted. Contractors have dropped rates to stay in contention. With this client is facilitated to meet the current money crunch. In fact with fewer clients and a deluge of contractors available, the client is clearly in the driver's seat, owing to the demand and supply phenomenon. That's okay, but what's not okay, is what this post is about.
I have pointed out earlier on this forum that there need to be safeguards with regard to the balance between the opportunities / advantages offered to clients and contractors by Upwork. I feel the contractors are getting a raw deal. Upwork needs to step in to monitor client malpractices or capable contractors will soon move away to other means of earning.
I feel many clients default in the following manner: (my expertise is photo editing)
- Asking for samples. I believe this is not allowed by Upwork, but if one does not do a sample, the chances of getting the job are remote. Samples should require the contractor to be hired. If Upwork comes down on both contractors and clients with regard to free samples, then one can refuse doing a sample knowing all other bidding contractors would also refuse.
- Some kind of minimum price line needs to be fixed like we had on Elance. Even for the smallest of jobs, there is interaction involved that takes time. I have done $5 jobs that involved more interaction than a $100 job.
- Clients posting jobs and seeking bids without a complete description about the scope and volume of work should be strictly penalized. That is a popular method of playing the system.
- Clients hiring and extending the scope of the initial brief while the job is ongoing / delivered. If not done, that leads to a dispute and a black mark on the contractor's profile in the % job success area. In situations like this, I have refused additional work and not billed the client at all without a dispute, because the contractors word against the client's leads nowhere. One does not want to get into formal litigation because the cost of litigation is more than the money one would be fighting for. That still impacts my success rate as an unfinished job. Should it be this way?
- Harvesting contractor intellectual property and experience - even without hiring:
Post a difficult job.
Get solutions from many bidders.
Hire some with the lowest rate with instructions based on the inputs from experienced bidders.
Or don't hire at all. Just use the knowledge.
This activity needs to be penalized with Up work doing random checks.
I have had numerous experiences on Upwork which call for the need for a better framework within which clients operate. I will not mention them, as I am sure most contractors have faced similar situations.
I would appreciate contractors to append their thoughts to this thread, to draw the attention of Upwork.
Thank you for your post. It has raised a lot of issues, and Ive seen some to improve the job posting, proposal, bidding, hiring and verification process.
To name a few:
1. QUALIFICATIONS posted with the job. Sometimes it is so overdone posted for 1 or 2 hires is equivalent to a team a contractor usually have. So a Contractor will technially bid for a Virtual Assitant but is a PROJECT Manager in that particular hire.
2. An Application has a capacity to phize information that otherwise is a normal discussion, even in words, to convince or take the client's imagination to a process , as an example, in using the word, "like, for instance if your website need another feature, we can implement an interfacce patch that I have used.. blah blah. " These are express professional words at play, a reply of acceptance need a POSTAL Fee or a Reply Fee. Sometimes, an applicant, bound by ethics, will have to counter-propose and therefore, takes productive time that needs to be compensated or shared , like internet costs, subscriptions that are regular .
3. Some Job Postings are truly arrogant in its creation with a warning to please submit the requirements. At one time, I tried to drop what I had to do the whole day, to submit samples . My samples are excerpts of yet to be published webpage so I send it with a Privacy clause. Tone of mutual respect is important. and care has to be used by the HR to trim down the usual impatience of the Enterpreneur/Businessman/Client, which comes out as arrogance.
4. UNRESPONSIVE Clients need to be sensitive to labor as an intellectual capital. Application responses require the same attention and time an Applicant/Contractor gives a Job Post. There is such a thing as a GROUPIE, the political lobby groups that get budgets to research and get information, or sometimes business hire these groups to affecct a certain trend. HR and Recruitment must be aware of the tell tale signs. They tend to post jobs and consider it as work done. So they dont follow thru.
There are many Exploitative means that are now employed and the efficiency of a Site is created by reputation thru standards, work tools and applications in a website and results. I hope clients, though theyare a Bread and Butter source, can see themselves as attracting a humble but not a doormat or a "yes" person for their projects. Thus, while at work, both client and freelancer grow together free in spirit .
As for the bid and cost Tip, I posted on it, but was lost.
Anil, nice meeting you.
As the Engineering Dept said, its a work in progress!
Thank you for taking the time to append your thoughts my post. Your points 1 through 4 are all valid and I agree with what you have pointed out.
Whenever I see a problem, I try to get to the root cause, as against trouble shooting on the surface. This brings solutions that last.
We are in a time where individuals with common sense are labeled as "not cool". How untrue, the abc of life has never changed, not matter what we are told is.
Through various posts on this forum, I have tried to bring up what I see needs to be looked at on the surface, keeping with the popular practice, of problem solving at the surface. Upwork seem to be unable to relate to even that. Sorting out the root cause of what we see on Upwork, does not look likely.
Upwork seems to be driven by numbers with scant regard to quality of service to the customers and clients. Even though clients are in the "drivers seat" I doubt very much that they are marrying up with the best fit contractor for their jobs. If Upwork structured their service with thought, this would not be so. Would it be wrong to say that, Upwork has failed both contractors and clients.
I can think of two dintinct possibilities with regard to what we see on Upwork today.
1. Fattening the corporate image of the company drastically by increasing the number of contractors, clients and job posts, with a view to selling the company at some time in the future.
2. Management without direction and good sense.
(Probably a mix of both)
Upwork has a responsibility towards its large number of users and it has failed.
I wonder when businesses will understand that every human effort, whether for purposes of business or personal, is collaborative, and that all concerned must win. If only we all could see how intrinsically connected we all are with each other, we would not have to see what we see today.
Integrity, compassion and decency are prime directives.
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