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Dissatisfied with Upwork at Present

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
21 of 35

Christine A wrote:

Petra R wrote:


Is that fair?


What does fairness have to do with anything? I

You saw me mentioning "playing devil's advocate" at the very top, right?


Christine A wrote:

If you were to move to a country in which the cost of living was lower, would you be okay with clients assuming that they can start paying you $3/hour, because you don't "need" any more than that? 

I have done exactly that. (Moved from the UK to the South of Italy) and no, I haven't lowered my rates. 


Bottom line: Upwork won't stop showing clients the location of freelancers (or clients) - which saves both parties lots of time.

Ace Contributor
Saeeda Sarwat N Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
22 of 35

There you go! Now we are talkling.

In a simpler way, all I am saying is that all Upworkers need to be treated equally by the clients irrespective of their origin.

This is a platform where people come to give services based on their skills and not origin. Therefore, (in reply to your perspective) a client should not be calculating how much is the living costs etc. of a worker, instead they should only be focused on the value they get for the money spent. 

Having said, Clients in general are already using UpWork to pay lower than their local rates, which is somewhat alright as it should be a win-win situation for both the client and worker. For example, a project manager living and working in US may be paid $70 - $90/hourly for an office job based on his expertise. A client hiring from an online platform like UpWork etc. may hire a project manager for $20-$35 hourly, there he has already got the benefit of more value for money(plus there is no office rent, bills, bonuses, insurances etc.). But then when the same client(not ALL) comes to UpWork and finds someone from Third world countries they want the lowest range like something between $8 -$13 for the same PM. I have witnessed the same thing in case of web designers, developers and writers. (Therefore when the hourly rates drop like this based on origin, then it seems unfair, because it doesn't stay a fair game for the workers.)

In the past decade or more, Upwork has become a success because of the fact that workers were being hired based on their skills and not on their living conditions, expenses etc. back home.

This is the type of prejudice that goes on in normal office jobs; for example if a guy seems rich from clothes, car keys and mobile then he would be offered a lot more than a person who seemed average/low maintenance from all aspects and ends up getting hired at a lower rate, even if he was way more skilled.

Many people who faced or knew about such type of issues in our region found solace in online platforms as their expertise and expereince was all that was being noticed. 
The good thing being that people found online job platforms far from these type of materialism and judgementalism games. Online platforms are much purer and better in terms of hiring the rightfully skilled worker for your project, and that it is.

"it also has to do with cultural differences,"
I am not sure how cultural differences can impact a job but may be in some specific case it might, so agreeing on this, for that UpWork already has an option for the clients to select specific regions for hiring. I have no issues with that, as when a client specifically specifies then they must be having their own internal reasons. But I have an issue with those clients who do not make an effort to specify the region they are interested in and leave it open to worldwide and later when everyone ends up applying, spending connects, investing time to write proposals; then I have analyzed closely, they end up hiring from their own country etc. (and when this happens often then seems like they don't even notice/view profiles from other regions.)

"with the way people communicate and their ways of doing business.  And timezones, too."

Check main post solution #3 - if a client reads the job proposal and UpWork profile intently then they will know in a few seonds about the level of communication. Ways of doing business can be seen from previous clients' feedback. And for timezones, as I said, a client can just add that to the proposal and no UpWorker would ever apply or waste connects on something that he/she isn't up for.

Ace Contributor
Saeeda Sarwat N Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
23 of 35

Thank you for taking out the time to read through.

First of all everyone needs to understand that my post is not just about you(some individual and his business ethics), me and neither about ALL of the clients on UpWork.

It is notable that I used the word "Most clients" therefore of course I do not mean to say that ALL clients are discriminating. But yes my post's point #3 is about those specific clients who do those things. All I want is the following: (as already mentioned in the main post's solution #3 as well)

-In case a client ends up paying a lower hourly rate to a person ready to work in any of the US timezones (PST, MST, CST, EST), with native accent, highly educated and has expertise/enough experience required for a specific job then it becomes discrimation when the same client either hires;
 1) a US citizen for double or triple the hourly rate at the same time they have hired someone from an Asian country for a very low rate,

2) Or the client just moves forward with hiring someone from US and doesnt even consider the applicant from other parts of the world even though as I mentioned above there are great possibilities and there are (I am sure) of having extremely intelligent and experienced professionals on Upwork from other countries.

"If I were to hire a project manager offshore; the first requirement would be, they are available during my U.S. CST business hours.  Always.  Upon request.  Not my problem if that is 3am in the morning as a simple example. None I have interviewed agreed to this.  Would you?"

-Here again, you are taking my post personally and only analyzing it based on what you do, did and experienced. 


-If you ask me, yes I have worked a continuous 5 years full time Job as the Project Manager/virtual Assistant for a US based company. And unbelievably I was available for work during 2 timezones and even 3 timezones when some website development projects were nearing deadlines. So, I have worked with a client in US, managed teams in India as well as developers in Australia on the same job contract. 

All these years I never noticed the issues with UpWork job application system etc. as I wasn't in to applying for long term full-time jobs. But these days as I have started working my way into sending proposals and am keenly looking for a job, I have found all the issues mentioned in my main post quite disturbing and hurdles in finding an appropriate job on UpWork.

Therefore, please be corrected that there was no such thing as "shooting off cannon shots indicating an entire group " as once again, I said MOST and was sharing my recent experience with clients.

Do review my 3-Solution: Paragraph again from the main post as if a majority of clients really aren't discrimating based on origin then no one would have a problem moving forward with the changes I have suggested as following my tips will only benefit the clients to get better and much more efficient UpWorkers for their Jobs.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
24 of 35

Saeeda Sarwat N wrote:

-In case a client ends up paying a lower hourly rate to a person ready to work in any of the US timezones (PST, MST, CST, EST), with native accent, highly educated and has expertise/enough experience required for a specific job then it becomes discrimation when the same client either hires;
 1) a US citizen for double or triple the hourly rate at the same time they have hired someone from an Asian country for a very low rate,


One thing you are obviously not considering here is that hiring is based on BIDDING. In other words, the freelancer tells the client how much he/she will be charging. If a client receives bids from two different freelancers who look promising and hires them both at the hourly rate they requested, it can hardly be considered "discriminatory" that one of them quoted a lower rate.


But, there is something else in play here, too. You may not like it, but it's a fact. I have hired hundreds of freelancers across the past roughly 15 years, in the U.S., India, Pakistan, Serbia and the Phillippines. While many of the non-U.S. freelancers have done a good job, every single one of them has taken approximately 3 times as long to complete the work as U.S. freelancers doing the same work. 


I do not say this as a criticism. It may in part be due to a language barrier that means they have to take more care with instructions and other aspects of the work. Similarly, there may be cultural norms that make it quicker and easier for US freelancers to recognize what is needed. But, whatever the reason, it ALWAYS takes a lot longer.


If I'm paying a fixed price, I'm happy to pay the same rate no matter where in the world someone is located if that's what they bid. In fact, sometimes I pay more than the bid because I don't like to see freelancers sell themselves short. But, it would make no sense for a client to pay two people the same hourly rate to complete the same job when one person averages 4 hours to complete the task and the other averages 12 hours to do the same work. Not only would it be very bad business to pay $240 for a job that could be completed at high quality by a U.S. freelancer for $80, but it would reward the slower freelancer over the one who gave quick turnaround in addition to quality work. 

Ace Contributor
Saeeda Sarwat N Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
25 of 35

Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I couldn't agree more. Yes, no one should ever have to pay 3 times than the required.

But having said, as much as I respect your years of experience I would like to tell something about me. In all these years I have never used even an extra minute while working on the UpWork if it wasn't required. And in addition to that I also used to design different processes and strategies to get things done faster as that is how I like it. Processes to be automated, functional, efficient and delivering quality within a budget.

That's just me or maybe there are many more too but unfortunately you never came across such understanding level of tasks and honesty from workers.

Community Guru
Sanja D Member Since: Dec 18, 2013
26 of 35

there's no prefect site for online work. with that said - I consider myself lucky - I have flexible hours, I can work in my pajamas (there's no dress code here, lol), I don't spend hours stuck in traffic to get to / from is good ;-) one thing upwork could fix there a way to prevent clients from drastically changing budgets half an hour after the job is posted? In the past few months I applied to several jobs that mysteriously went from $1000 to $150, from $300 to $50, from $500 to $100. I mean I know clients sometimes have no clue how much the project will cost, but - I spent 6 connects applying to $1000 job which after half an hour turned out to be $150 (full branding work). If it was originally posted at $150, I wouldn't have applied to it. Maybe to give the client an option to lower the budget for $25% max? I don't know if that's feasible. It's both about connects and time spent writing the proposal...

Ace Contributor
Saeeda Sarwat N Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
27 of 35

Sanja D wrote:

one thing upwork could fix there a way to prevent clients from drastically changing budgets half an hour after the job is posted?

1- Ideally clients should discuss the rate changes before making rate changes to the contract. But in case it happens within a timeframe that you havent actually working for them on any task or havent charged any $ yet then you can surely just inform the client and end the contract. Contracts ended without earning any money do not show up in the profile and neither are both parties able to give feedback/reviews.

-But in case you have received some payment while working then you have to ensure to refund all the earned amount to the client, if you wish to end the contract and not receive any negative feedback from them.

-And the best should be to inform the customer support about what you have been through several times. Clients should abide by the rates which they hired you at.

-Yes, there seems to be confusion about fixed price proposals for client and workers. Sometimes client is giving a budget of $1000 for an entire project which may take a month or 6 months. It is for us to discuss all these aspects upfront before accepting the contract. Plus the $1000 moving to $150 might not be the reduced rate, but might have been the first milestone for your task. As fixed price jobs have milestones and the total amount is paid as we submit our work in parts and get review/approval to receive the first payment and then move to the next milestone payment.

Try hourly jobs, they are much better in many ways.


Community Guru
Alexander N Member Since: Dec 28, 2008
28 of 35

Seriously, this is not racism. Yes some people are racist, but this isn't the main issue, main issue is that it is really so, so much easier and more productive to work with someone from your own country and culture. Even American working with a German with perfect English will already feel a lot worse than working with his fellow American - because of time zones difference, and cultural difference (German culture of thoroughness and diligence, which takes a lot of time, effort and meetings to get anything done, as opposed to American "just do it" culture of "moving fast and breaking things"). Let alone with a Russian like me, let alone a Pakistani. It has nothing to do with racism.


Was it not the case, no one from first world countries would work on Upwork because no one would pay their fair rates.

Community Guru
Catherine M Member Since: Jan 20, 2017
29 of 35

Yeah, I am pretty sure "racism" doesn't have much to do with it or I definitely wouldn't be hired as much as I have on Upwork. Also, take into consideration that some people may want to support people from their own countries. Unemployment and underemployment are not just limited to certain areas of the world. There are some people that opt for veterans only and that doesn't bother me one bit. If a person doesn't want to hire you for whatever reason, why would you want to work with them? If a person doesn't want to pay your asking price, move on to the next potential client. Focus on continuing to present your best on Upwork and things will be fine. 

Ace Contributor
Saeeda Sarwat N Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
30 of 35

Thanks, feeling much focused and better. Awesome community.