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jorgensons
Community Member

Expert Level Budgets Decreasing

Has anyone else noticed a sharp decline in the budgets for expert-level jobs in recent weeks? I'm a Top-Rated freelancer with 98% JSS and have completed numerous resume writing projects in the $200-300+ range within the last year. It was pretty easy for me to get work at those rates up until a few weeks ago. Around the same time that I began having a harder time winning jobs, I noticed that the "expert" budgets on flat-fee resume projects had dropped significantly -- I'm seeing $30, $50, and $100 when I used to see $150, $250, and more. Yes, there are still some jobs with these higher pay rates, but not nearly as many as before.

I can't help but wonder if this is the result of Upwork now offering clients suggestions about the hourly pay rate for expert/intermediate/entry level work. The "expert" pay level begins at $30/hour (!), and a lot of clients think their resume will only take an hour or two to write. (This is incorrect.) Therefore, doing the math, they probably think that $30 or even $100 is totally reasonable for an expert to do the job. (It's not.) 

I don't know if my experience is unique or if others have noticed a similar trend. I'm curious to hear what everyone else has observed in recent weeks. I'm starting to get really nervous about this new system. I've spent more time writing proposals and engaging with prospective clients in the last month than I have during any other time in the last year or so, and yet I'm winning fewer jobs -- often at a lower price than I'm comfortable with because the rent is still due and I still have to eat... 

19 REPLIES 19
tlsanders
Community Member

Actually, on the client side, the opposite has happened. I USED to see dollar ranges, and a little description for each category like, "I want to hire the most affordable freelancers" or "I am willing to pay more for expertise." Now, I'm still asked to click entry level, intermediate or expert, but there is no elaboration at all--no dollar values, and no description.

 

From the freelancer side, I've always seen a high percentage of "expert" jobs (I'd say 80-90%) with ridiculously low budgets--often $5-10.

That's really interesting, Tiffany. I wonder why freelancers are now seeing dollar ranges (for instance, $30-40) along with the entry level/intermediate/expert designation. I also wonder where those numbers come from if the clients don't input them -- the range varies from one expert/intermdiate/entry-level job to the next.

tlbp
Community Member

Maybe those job posters get the price range from the website-based resume writing services that offer "expert" writers for very little. Or it could be that the jobs are being posted by fresh grads. A summertime dip in the number of established professionals looking to transition?

nikosios
Community Member

You are right, indeed, this is happening. I see the budgets dropping for the same type of jobs. Not only that, but seems clients are getting more entitled and sneaky.

 

E.g. I will see the same job (title, description) being posted by the same client, once with hourly rate and once with a fixed rate. Of course, they'll choose from two freelance sets and not cancel the un-awarded project. Who cares? Or they post their job e.g for 100$ and the next day, they post it for 50$ after they have probably seen, how low the offers they got were.

 

Another thing, is they'll add ridiculous phrases like "Easy and quick work" "An expert will need one hour for this job" "It'll take you this amount, if you know what you're doing" "10$ max, don't bid otherwise". I try not to bid to people who think like this. It's axiomatic, they won't like your deliverable and ask unlimited revisions. The worst thing is, Upwork allows that.

 

I miss the good old days.

wlyonsatl
Community Member

This may just be a normal fluctuation in the type of clients who are joining Upwork from week to week, which may reflect Upwork doing advertising in different places that bring in different kinds of clients.

 

I hope it's not a permanent change.

 

In my little corner of Upwork I have not noticed the trend you describe. In fact, I have raised my standard rate recently and still get plenty of invitations to submit proposals - maybe a few fewer than I got at lower pricing, but the general quality of them is a bit better than I previously saw - more professional, more responsive to questions, etc.

joduxbury
Community Member

Signe, I have been experiencing the same thing for the last 3 weeks. I'm TR and earn a really good amount of Upwork every year - but the last 3 weeks it's been crickets and tumbleweeds. I've noticed a significant drop in the amount of briefs that I'd typically bid for, and crazy low 'expert' level budgets. 

I wonder if the high quality, high paying clients are being put off by the 3 new client plans? Only getting e.g. 3 invitations on the Basic plan, or having to fork out $500 to get unlimited invitations and all the reporting features may well be causing clients who hire irregularly but for high value projects to go elsewhere. I'm very concerned. 

I'm a graphic designer and our connects system doesn't change until Tuesday, but this month I have been getting more invitations than ever. I'm worried that with the new client fees and having to buy connects it could all go south on me soon so I've been overworking myself to death.

 

The only reason I could think of is that I recently hit 500+ (hourly) hours and suddenly I'm getting invites from people who were using that as a benchmark. It's a really weird milestone though since so many of us do SO much fixed rate work and get zero credit for the hours those jobs take.

 

I HAVE gotten some of those invites lately that are "expert level" but $5 budget which is a "placeholder." Do us all a favor and even if it's a placeholder, make it a somewhat realistic one.

This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of freelancing. Stating that an expert freelancer is paid $x to $y is meaningless. An expert remote appointment-setter working with cold calls might make $25/hr. I'm a business management consultant whose specialty is in identifying the real underlying issue and then developing its remediation. $25/hr doesn't begin to approach entry-level in my field. $75/hr is a discounted rate for an entry-level consultant in my field. I operate a solo consultancy and focus on small businesses. When I was last billed out by another company, it was $500/hr. That was 15 years ago.


Bill H wrote:

This represents a fundamental misunderstanding of freelancing. Stating that an expert freelancer is paid $x to $y is meaningless. An expert remote appointment-setter working with cold calls might make $25/hr. I'm a business management consultant whose specialty is in identifying the real underlying issue and then developing its remediation. $25/hr doesn't begin to approach entry-level in my field. $75/hr is a discounted rate for an entry-level consultant in my field. I operate a solo consultancy and focus on small businesses. When I was last billed out by another company, it was $500/hr. That was 15 years ago.


I was under the impression that they did have different ranges for different types of work. And while I agree that it's both different for US vs overseas rates and one man's "expert rate" is another's "beggar rate," I do think it's helpful for Upwork to give *some* guidance. Or at least we argued that there should at least be a basement rate for clients to even claim they are looking for experts.

r_satta
Community Member

I have not noticed this trend because from my point of view it was always like that.

Beggar rate Expert rate + 5/10$ + client who tells in the offer how long the job should take = warning signs everywhere

I agree 1000 X +some with Jo D's postulation:

 

"I wonder if the high quality, high paying clients are being put off by the 3 new client plans? Only getting e.g. 3 invitations on the Basic plan, or having to fork out $500 to get unlimited invitations and all the reporting features may well be causing clients who hire irregularly but for high value projects to go elsewhere."

 

One only has to read the comments left by buyers (see Client & Announcement forums) to know people are furious.  Justifiably so.


Wendy C wrote:

I agree 1000 X +some with Jo D's postulation:

 

"I wonder if the high quality, high paying clients are being put off by the 3 new client plans? Only getting e.g. 3 invitations on the Basic plan, or having to fork out $500 to get unlimited invitations and all the reporting features may well be causing clients who hire irregularly but for high value projects to go elsewhere."

 

One only has to read the comments left by buyers (see Client & Announcement forums) to know people are furious.  Justifiably so.


To me this is the biggest change that Upwork made and I am not sure about it at all.  To my mind piss off as many freelancers as you like, you lose 25% of them you still have too many.  Don't anger the clients.  

 

This is probably a way minority opinion but I would pay money for direct invites I accept without a doubt.  I would much rather be charged for that than taking away the clients reports.

Mark, I agree with you.  The 3 invite (or 5/6 as was mentioned but not confirmed by a few mods) is driving clients to other platforms.  Losing the tools that enabled clients to run long-term lucrative jobs is equally disastrous.

 

Yes, I know the 'tools'  are still available but not in an easy to access and  download form > so, again, U is working against buyers. 

 

One has only to review client comments to realize this > and only a minuscule number of clients have gone to the effort of trying to explain this to U.  The others?  They just walk across the street to other platforms.

 

 


Mark F wrote:

This is probably a way minority opinion but I would pay money for direct invites I accept without a doubt.  I would much rather be charged for that than taking away the clients reports.


Do you mean as a Freelancer or a client? Can you clarify? The majority of my jobs are from invites and they are often the best fit - I am in favor of more of these for clients. 

I am saying that rather than charge clients more money for their accounts so that they can get more invites and the reporting they want/need, I would rather pay more as a freelancer.  I have received almost no direct invites myself but if they instituted something like a charge to accept invites from clients I would definitely pay that.

 

I believe I understand why they have limited client invites but I still think 3 is not enough.  To be clear, I don't expect to get any of them.


Mark F wrote:

I am saying that rather than charge clients more money for their accounts so that they can get more invites and the reporting they want/need, I would rather pay more as a freelancer.  I have received almost no direct invites myself but if they instituted something like a charge to accept invites from clients I would definitely pay that.

 

I believe I understand why they have limited client invites but I still think 3 is not enough.  To be clear, I don't expect to get any of them.


Thanks for clarifying. I would rather pay to apply than to accept an invite. I agree 3 is not enough, however seeing jobs with 40 invites, I can't even imagine what that looks like on the client dashboard! 

 

Either way, no system is ideal and it certainly costs clients a lot more money to attract talent in the brick and mortar world than it does on Upwork.  As others have speculated, it would seem Upwork is wanting to bring in larger, less price senstive clients in parallel with their efforts to provide a strong freelancer pool.  

 

 


Miriam H wrote:

 

Either way, no system is ideal and it certainly costs clients a lot more money to attract talent in the brick and mortar world than it does on Upwork. 

 

That's not the relevant comparison though--the relevant comparison is the many other free options available online.

 

As others have speculated, it would seem Upwork is wanting to bring in larger, less price senstive clients in parallel with their efforts to provide a strong freelancer pool.  

 

I agree that they're looking for larger clients with ongoing needs, but I don't think they'll be "less price sensitive." Many reports suggest that a lot of Enterprise clients pay pretty poorly, and I suspect that will be fine with Upwork in exchange for volume. I suspect that the rates paid to freelancers here will level out to span something roughly like the $10-40/hour range, lopping off both ends.

 


 

f0aa1e32
Community Member

Hello Signe,

 

I just saw your post from June and wanted to chime in. I've also seen a decline in high-paying jobs over the last month or two. In April and May, I had tons of work coming in. Now, my applications are met with no response or a declined proposal that says my rate is too high. Somewhat discouraging as a freelancer who has worked hard on Upwork to build a top-rated profile!

 

Are you seeing any improvements as of late? I sure hope so!

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer

I always seem to get the rate I want on things so I haven't seen too much of a difference, but yes, I have noticed less decent jobs being posted. I am definitely using less connects, but I do have multiple clients I always work for. I still do see less when I do look, mostly though it is less fixed rates and more hourly ones are available. I can't give too much thought on it because the clients I have are ongoing and the extra work I get is usually through invitations. 

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