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Extremely uninformative job listings: Why require proposals to include price & deadline info?

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
1 of 12

Today I encountered a listing the text of which simply read "editing and proofreading a thesis, looking for someone who is capable to edit and help with sentence structure." This is pretty typical of academic editor job listings. The client didn't include information about length or topic of the thesis, or their timeline for getting the work done. And yet to submit a proposal, I have to enter a fixed-price bid, number & description of proposed milestones, & proposed date for getting the work done.

 

Do the people who designed the Upwork site have a suggestion for how I come up with price & deadline information for editing a mystery document of unknown length? Since Upwork doesn't require job listings to be even minimally detailed, why not include an option to leave off proposed price & completion date until the freelancer has more information? (Elance had just such an option to submit a proposal without a dollar amount). 

 

Yes, I could simply avoid bidding on project listings that don't give enough info, but some of these listings could be great projects by good clients who simply aren't very experienced with creating job listings. Without submitting a proposal, there's no way to tell. And it's unfair to expect freelancers with limited connects to go through the guesswork of whether it's worth bidding on an extremely uninformative job listing. Why not just require job listings to include basic project details? Or let freelancers ask basic job questions ("how many words is the document?") without spending connects to do so?

martina_plaschka
Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
2 of 12

Emily H wrote:

Today I encountered a listing the text of which simply read "editing and proofreading a thesis, looking for someone who is capable to edit and help with sentence structure." This is pretty typical of academic editor job listings. The client didn't include information about length or topic of the thesis, or their timeline for getting the work done. And yet to submit a proposal, I have to enter a fixed-price bid, number & description of proposed milestones, & proposed date for getting the work done.

 

Do the people who designed the Upwork site have a suggestion for how I come up with price & deadline information for editing a mystery document of unknown length? Since Upwork doesn't require job listings to be even minimally detailed, why not include an option to leave off proposed price & completion date until the freelancer has more information? (Elance had just such an option to submit a proposal without a dollar amount). 

 

Yes, I could simply avoid bidding on project listings that don't give enough info, but some of these listings could be great projects by good clients who simply aren't very experienced with creating job listings. Without submitting a proposal, there's no way to tell. And it's unfair to expect freelancers with limited connects to go through the guesswork of whether it's worth bidding on an extremely uninformative job listing. Why not just require job listings to include basic project details? Or let freelancers ask basic job questions ("how many words is the document?") without spending connects to do so?


The most important part of being a freelancer (except providing excellent work always, but that's a given) is client selection and accepting the limitations of upwork. What would happen if upwork allowed freelancers to contact clients outside of a proposal? They would be flooded by questions. What makes you think that a client who does not spend time on a well written and informative job posting will be the client that thoroughly answers all your questions? Not gonna happen. It would just frustrate clients and they would move somewhere else before bitterly complaining how awful upwork is.

You have to understand that your proposal is just a means to start a conversation. You are not committing yourself to any terms if you are unable to do so. Nothing is binding until you accept an offer. Nothing. If you don't want to spend connects to start a conversation, that's fine too. You don't have to. 

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
3 of 12

One of the "most important parts" of being a freelancer is accepting the limitations of Upwork? Why not say instead that one of the most important parts of running a freelancing website is creating an interface that fits freelancers' needs, so that we can spend more of our time actually doing the work?

 

"What would happen if upwork allowed freelancers to contact clients outside of a proposal? They would be flooded by questions." Ridiculous. Right now they're often flooded with proposals (sometimes 50+), some of which need not have been submitted if the freelancers knew basic project details. ("Oh, they won't actually have the draft ready for two months? never mind, not interested.") Ebay has an option to ask sellers questions about items they're selling, & sellers can publicly choose to publicly answer a question or ignore it. As a seller, I've found it useful in reminding me to provide info I've forgotten, & it certainly doesn't result in some intolerable barrage of questions!

 

"What makes you think that a client who does not spend time on a well written and informative job posting will be the client that thoroughly answers all your questions?" I work frequently with graduate students and young academics who are new to working with editors. Most have no hiring experience, so they may be uninformed about how to post a good job listing. That doesn't mean they're not good clients or don't know how to answer a simple question! (I believe I addressed this in my original post.) I'm good at my job & working with clients who are new to the editing process isn't a problem for me. If you have any questions about my business or what working with clients is like in my field, feel free to ask instead of assuming!

michael_skaggs
Community Guru
Michael S Member Since: Aug 29, 2017
4 of 12

Emily H wrote:

"What would happen if upwork allowed freelancers to contact clients outside of a proposal? They would be flooded by questions." Ridiculous. Right now they're often flooded with proposals (sometimes 50+), some of which need not have been submitted if the freelancers knew basic project details.


At one time, IIRC (this was before my time) they did allow such things, and that's exactly what happened. Clients were flooded with "questions" that were really just people skirting the proposal system and harassing clients for a job. Allowing for contacting clients prior to interviews has been brought up before, and, to put it shortly, it won't happen.

 


Ebay has an option to ask sellers questions about items they're selling, & sellers can publicly choose to publicly answer a question or ignore it. As a seller, I've found it useful in reminding me to provide info I've forgotten, & it certainly doesn't result in some intolerable barrage of questions!

It doesn't result in a barrage of questions because it's for people to decide whether or not to spend their money on what you're offering. They can simply ignore your listing and move on if it's not what they're looking for. That's the exact opposite of what you're suggesting for Upwork, which would be akin to allowing you to question bidders as to why they're not interested in your product. If there's not enough information in a listing, allowing pre-interview contact will solve nothing. Established freelancers will simply move on to a post by someone who knows what they want, and people lookign to skirt the connects system will harass the client to hire them via that method.

 

While a public question/answer option is a decent suggestion, and I could see it being beneficial in some cases, it's still far too easy to abuse, and I don't see UW spendign the time (or money) to implement it for that reason alone.

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
5 of 12

I agree that letting freelancers contact clients could easily be abused to get around the proposal system. But there may be ways to get around this. If you don't let people who've already submitted proposals ask questions, you won't have freelancers pestering the client with "why didn't you pick my proposal?" Or what if they let freelancers pick from a limited menu of questions, such as "how long is the document"/"what qualifications do you want the freelancer to have"/"when do you need this done by?"  

 

None of these might be workable, since they're just hypothetical dreamed up by a non-expert in website interfaces, but surely there's something effective that could be tried. Right now clients are potentially besieged with low-quality proposals by people who aren't qualified or haven't read the listing carefully; perhaps there's a solution that could save time for everyone.

 

In any case, I think giving the option to submit a proposal without a bid could be a good compromise, if it's going to continue to be the case that most listings don't give enough info to allow for a realistic bid.

 

[Edited this post because I didn't read your post carefully enough the first time]

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
6 of 12

Consider the case of a dissertation author who's a first-time Upwork user. They've never been a freelancer or hired an editor before, so they have no clue what details potential editors need to evaluate their project; thus they leave key details out.

 

Martina's proposed solution to this problem is for freelancers simply not to respond to the job listing. The author will receive no feedback on what's wrong with their listing, either from Upwork or from potential freelancers (since there's no mechanism for them to do so). They probably won't be back. They miss out on working with freelancers who could provide exactly what they need. Upwork & freelancers lose out on revenue.

 

My proposed solution is for Upwork to tweak the interface to make it more suited to the realities of freelancing. (The Upwork interface has already been changed multiple times; I doubt many people will claim with a straight face that it's so flawless it can never be changed again.)

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 12

Emily H wrote:

Consider the case of a dissertation author who's a first-time Upwork user. They've never been a freelancer or hired an editor before, so they have no clue what details potential editors need to evaluate their project; thus they leave key details out.

 

Martina's proposed solution to this problem is for freelancers simply not to respond to the job listing. The author will receive no feedback on what's wrong with their listing, either from Upwork or from potential freelancers (since there's no mechanism for them to do so). They probably won't be back. They miss out on working with freelancers who could provide exactly what they need. Upwork & freelancers lose out on revenue.

 

My proposed solution is for Upwork to tweak the interface to make it more suited to the realities of freelancing. (The Upwork interface has already been changed multiple times; I doubt many people will claim with a straight face that it's so flawless it can never be changed again.)


___________________________

 

Emily,

 

Inadequate offers are really irritating, and in view of the changes in the way we use our connects, I agree that there should be some way of forcing a client into giving more details about their jobs. (I suspect many of them, of the sort you mention, are students disguising the fact they want course work done for them.) 

 

However, at the moment,  all one can do is to flag the job if you click on the "Flag as inappropriate" button and from the dropdown menu choose "There is no clear, defined deliverable" - which is not very satisfactory, because a client could ignore Upwork's suggestions or take their job to another site, instead of improving on their offer. 

 

I move on when I see jobs like this. 

emilybhines
Active Member
Emily H Member Since: Apr 27, 2016
8 of 12

Haha, yes--many of the "need editor for unspecified 'academic writing' project" are clearly looking to violate the honor code. I do see others that seem to genuinely want proofreading but don't quite grasp that editors aren't mind-readers.

 

If one could flag proposals in such a way that clients get asked to define the deliverable & timeline instead of just getting their posting taken down, that would be a big help!

jr-translation
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
9 of 12

If there is not enough information you can

A: flag the job because "There's no clear, defined deliverable "

B: ignore the job

C: write a proposal that includes all rates and let the client know that the final rate depends on the work involved and you need to see the file first. Trust me most freelancers are too lazy to spend time on a proposal just to give the clients this information and as a client I am too lazy to ask the freelancers for the missing information. After all the freelancers are trying to sell themselvs and some do a really poor job at it. This is where you can shine.

martina_plaschka
Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
10 of 12

Emily H wrote:

Consider the case of a dissertation author who's a first-time Upwork user. They've never been a freelancer or hired an editor before, so they have no clue what details potential editors need to evaluate their project; thus they leave key details out.

 

Martina's proposed solution to this problem is for freelancers simply not to respond to the job listing. The author will receive no feedback on what's wrong with their listing, either from Upwork or from potential freelancers (since there's no mechanism for them to do so). They probably won't be back. They miss out on working with freelancers who could provide exactly what they need. Upwork & freelancers lose out on revenue.

 

 


Academic fraud is not allowed on upwork and should be reported. 

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