I really wish Upwork would do something to prevent clients from deliberately misleading freelancers into thinking there is the possibility of ongoing work when that isn't the case. I can't tell you how many times I've applied for jobs with clients that by all apperances were very reputable where the job description says that there will be ongoing or long-term work if the trial job works out and then the client turning around (after they have accepted my work and said that it was excellent) and saying that actually they don't have any more work for me right now but will definitely let me know when they do as they were happy with what I produced. And then I never hear from them again.
I think that a lot of clients claim that there is the possibility of long-term work simply to lure in high-quality freelancers. It's not fair and I resent the time I've wasted with some of these jobs.
Any ideas of how this could be dealt with?
I never take a job based on the "promise" of more work. It is not Upwork's responsibility to monitor that. As a freelancer, this is your business and you have to treat it as such. I would suggest taking the job because it interests you and not on some potentially empty promises from the client. This is not an uncommon scenario. Wishing you much success.
There's no way Upwork can stop this. You're in "Minority Report" territory here.
The standard advice is to ignore all claims of future work, and it's standard for a reason. Evaluate the task presented before you on its own merits.
I do take into account my assessment of possible future work when I bid on a task, but I always assume that it will just be what I am hired for. There are "start-up costs" associated with onboarding a new client, so you have to choose whether you want to make the investment or not. Over time you'll get better at telling if clients are legit or not. Also be sure to check their past track record -- do they have long projects or ongoing gigs with other freelancers?
Bear in mind that plans change and clients come here for the flexibility. Legitimate clients not only sometimes but frequently actually think they have more work and then it doesn't happen. Also, sometimes they will replace you with someone else and not come back to tell you, to avoid an argument or hurt feelings.
Bottom line: if it's a new client and the job is of this form -- "this is a crappy trial job that pays peanuts but if you do well there will be lots more at a higher rate" -- skip it. If the job looks legitimate and the client says there will be future work, take it if the initial task is worthwhile and assume there will be no further work. If there is, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Welcome to the Online Freelancing World, Samantha! This has been the case for me in the past 15 years or so. For me personally, the ones who turned out to be longterm clients were the only ones who never mentioned future collaboration opportunities when I met them. This is, of course, a personal experience, but I tend to ignore the statement of clients when they say that they'll provide on-going work after the initial work is completed up to the standards. I just charge what I would charge them regardless whether this will lead to on-going collaboration or not, so hopefully, you take this into account going forward.
Nothing to blame Upwork for here. You do work at your own responsibility, and people often tend to not keep their promises, in general :")
I have an idea. Do you know how at the bottom of the job post, there is the "Project type" section where the client either says "ongoing" or "one-time project"? Well, couldn't Upwork say that if the client officially chooses "ongoing", they have the obligation to provide, for example, at least three milestones? Or something along those lines? If there is just the possibility of ongoing work but they're not sure yet, they could just mention that in the main body of the description but keep "one-time project" in the project type section. Any thoughts??
@Samantha L wrote:
I have an idea. (...)
You had a very bad idea. For a reason you want Upwork to help you make your own business decisions. Lesser Upwork's involvement, the better, I tell you.
Samantha, were you paid for the work you did for these clients? If the answer is yes, then everything is fine. A client has a job, you do the job and you get paid. Period. If the client needs more work done, good for you, otherwise: next customer please.
Also here's a tip: clients who claim they have ongoing work in their posts are just pulling a trick to get lower rates. That's it. Ignore those claims. If you want to apply, do it, but consider that it will be a one-shot.
@Samantha L wrote:
I have an idea. Do you know how at the bottom of the job post, there is the "Project type" section where the client either says "ongoing" or "one-time project"? Well, couldn't Upwork say that if the client officially chooses "ongoing", they have the obligation to provide, for example, at least three milestones?
Or what? (If the client does not do that?) He gets fined? Sent to bed without TV?
It's just not possible to control and just cause all sorts of issues for the clients.
As clients are who bring the money irritating clients is bad for everyone (including us freelancers...)
As was said before, you learn to figure out who is genuine and who is not. Almost all my income comes from long term clients, but I still think "yeah yeah" when a client says "lots of work" and "long term."
I don't discount for "it'll be long term" so it makes no difference to me if a potential long term thing turns out to be short term.
With all due respect, some of the responses here are patronizing, aggressive, and just downright immature. Are we in high school? I did not say that the client could not say that there could be the possibility of ongoing work. They could say this in the main description. I am talking about the area at the bottom called "Project Type". If they CHOOSE to say "ongoing" there, then perhaps there could be a small penalty if there isn't at least a few miletsones. I don't know what the penalty would be. Maybe they'd lose points, in a similar way to our Job Success Score? It's just a suggestion, to make communication between clients and freelancers clearer and reduce frustration. If the client isn't trying to mislead, then there won't be a problem.
Samantha, we're not in high school, but what you're proposing here doesn't make sense (at least to the majority of us) for obvious reasons. If you step into the client's shoe for a second, you realize that scope(s) sometimes change, and you just can't oblige clients to keep working on a project with a changed scope. The client is committed to the milestones that have been defined and funded (Edited to add: or the hours worked), that's how it works on Upwork and that's how one should expect the platform to work.
If I were a client, I can't afford to keep paying you only because "I promised" you more work, and then something changed in the scope of the project, or my business, or even my life.
You can't impose penalties on clients. If you do, they leave, and they tell other clients not to come here, and everyone loses.
I had a client that I did a small amount of work for, and she said she had more work but then it never materialized. Six months later I dropped her a note to ask about it and we fired up again and I've done far more work for her since than I did in the first place.
Clients are busy and they are looking to places like this for flexibility and simplicity. Imposing rules and asking them to try to predict the future will just result in fewer good projects being posted here.
The only way to manage this is via the advice that I and the other kids have already given you.