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Dealing with a Client Who Turned Out To Be a Farmer

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Active Member
Bradshaw S Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
1 of 16

So i'm relatively new to Upwork, but have gotten 5 star feedback on all 7 jobs I've had. Being new I mistakenly took a bad client who turned out to be a farmer. I should have checked before, but I see now his feedback is all terrible from freelancers and over his last 10 jobs, even when he says they did a good job he'll give them 2-3 stars...

 

I should've just declined as soon as he tried negotiating on price but now I'm stuck. He requested 300 words for a radio ad which I delivered and then he said how it was way too long and it needs to be within 30 seconds... I do offer one free revision so I gave him a shorter 30 second version, which he said he did not like and he's hiring someone else for it. I'm not going to give him a refund because he'll leave bad feedback anyways and based on his feedback it looks like he's really hurting a lot of freelancers.

 

So my question is this- is being a bad client, leaving poor feedback for freelancers, and acting as a farmer allowed on Upwork. My job success score will be destroyed by this since I've only done 7 jobs and I most likely will not be able to get jobs after this, but if there's a way for Upwork to stop clients like this from harming and scamming others after me I think it should be reportable.

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
2 of 16
Bradshaw, sometimes they exclude feedback from clients with a history of giving low feedback in calculating JSS so let’s hope that happens for you.
__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
BEST ANSWER
3 of 16

You'll be fine. It sucks short term but will not stop you getting jobs. Because you have only few jobs it won't take many to get back to over 90% even if that client leaves poor feedback.

 

"Farmers" are universally despised but it is not forbidden, and you need to learn to check a client's history very carefully before you accept a contract...

 

Active Member
Bradshaw S Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
4 of 16

Thanks for the info, it's my fault for not checking. Hopefully it'll be okay just not sure if my jss will go to something like 70% with a one star review out of 8 total reviews. Really interesting how upwork allows farmers it seems like something that's very harmful to the clients, freelancers and platform as a whole

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 16

Bradshaw S wrote:

Thanks for the info, it's my fault for not checking. Hopefully it'll be okay just not sure if my jss will go to something like 70% with a one star review out of 8 total reviews


It won't. And whatever happens, deal with it as and when it does.

Stay away from the cheap jobs, those are mostly where the farmers live, and the mean so-and-sos.

 

 

 

 

 

Active Member
Bradshaw S Member Since: Feb 10, 2019
6 of 16

Yep I'm making it a habit now to look through feedback on every posting before applying. Funny that the job wasn't that cheap, $50 for 300 words, I originally proposed $80 but hey I can crank that out in about 30 minutes. But definitely not worth the headache, miscommunication, feedback blackmail etc..

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
7 of 16

Bradshaw S wrote:

Really interesting how upwork allows farmers it seems like something that's very harmful to the clients, freelancers and platform as a whole


I agree with that assessment. And it can actually be in the farmers' interest to keep JSS down, so that their go-to freelancers have a hard time getting jobs from anyone else.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
8 of 16

I feel like a ding-dong right now but what is a farmer? Are we talking about people who farm work out to others?

 

If so, I feel like there are some pretty obvious drawbacks, for the same reason I think there are drawbacks when freelancers work for agencies: you simply don't know who you're getting. (And in the OP's case, he wasn't even advised this was what was happening, as opposed to agencies which present themselves outright as agencies...so I can't believe the whole thing isn't against ToS, but I guess that's another matter.)

 

I have never worked for a farmer, at least that I know of. I have worked for agencies IF their FB reflects that there are only two agents; mayyyyyyyyyyyyybe three, if each agent has a fair amount of feedback. The principle I'm thinking of is the same as for farming: you are applying based at least partially on the client's reputation. But you COULD be getting just some rando the agency just hired. Or...anyone at all. Who knows? And an unvetted client, just like an unvetted freelancer, could just as easily make the project sheer H-E-double hockey sticks. 

 

JMHO. Again, I'm sure some people must have amazing experiences both ways, but particularly with accepting a job and then farming the work out to just some rando willing to work for pennies, I can't believe clients aren't screaming about that. Perhaps they are; I don't go on the Clients board as much as I'm here.

 

And, yeah. If I'm wrong about the definition and have just wasted a whole lot of words...I really AM a ding-dong. Smiley Tongue

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 16

A "farmer" is someone who profits from the labour of others. Generally someone who wins work at a much higher rate than they pay those who do the work.

 

........but the whole "farmer" thing is a minefield.

 

There are those who outsource jobs they win on Upwork to cheap freelancers. This is only allowed for fixed rate contracts with the client's knowledge and consent.

 

Then there are those who farm out work they won elsewhere - impossible for Upwork to police.

 

Then there are companies who outsource parts of what they offer to their clients as a package - again impossible for Upwork to police.

 

Generally by staying out of the bargain basement one can reliably avoid all of those.

 

Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
10 of 16

Petra R wrote:

Ah but the whole "farmer" thing is a minefield.

 

There are those who outsource jobs they win on Upwork to cheap freelancers. This is only allowed for fixed rate contracts with the client's knowledge and consent.

 

Then there are those who farm out work they won elsewhere - impossible for Upwork to police.

 

Then there are companies who outsource parts of what they offer to their clients as a package - again impossible for Upwork to police.

 

Generally by staying out of the bargain basement one can reliably avoid all of those.

 


^ Underlined and bolded: so since the OP wasn't advised in advance (I think - it's hard to tell exactly when he discovered he was working with "a farmer"), shouldn't this be reportable? Just curious.

 

OP, when and how did you figure this information out? And are you sure this is what's happening? 

 

As to Petra's last sentence: Agree...100%. 

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