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Re: Feedback Question: Would you like to ask a client questions before sending a proposal?

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 28

I want to hear your opinion and feedback. As a freelancer, would you like the ability to ask a question about a client's job, prior to submitting a proposal?  Would you find this beneficial? Do you have any concerns?

 

Side note: In the past, freelancers had mentioned they're concerned that clients may be spammed in DMs if freelancers were able to message them before a contract had started. When addressing this question, we're thinking outside the box of direct messaging and perhaps including this in the product in such a way that would deter any spamming behavior. Likely, this would be a public type of Q&A, with questions about the job post and answers being public. 

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
2 of 28


I was on Elance, which had this feature. We couldn't message clients directly, but there was a message board where freelancers could ask for clarifications. It was mostly filled with people begging to be hired (or complaining that the budget was too low), and even when somebody did ask a relevant question, the client usually ignored it and didn't respond (I would estimate that clients only responded about 10% of the time). Ever since then, it's been my belief that most clients who post vague job descriptions aren't serious about hiring in the first place, so it doesn't matter how many questions they're asked.

 

If freelancers have any method at all to ask for work without having to spend any connects, then the client is going to get spammed - I don't see how you'd avoid this.

Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
3 of 28

If some clever bod can work out a way to do it without clients being swamped in spam, then sure. 

I can't see it though. 

Active Member
Claudia D Member Since: Apr 30, 2020
4 of 28

Yes, definitely! Some job postings are very vague and it would really help to have more information before using connects. As a translator, I wish I could ask clients what their content is about and whether it's meant for the Portuguese or the Brazilian market, among other things.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
5 of 28

I would not pose questions to a client publicly. Asking smart, pertinent questions -- even basic ones needed to understand the fundamental job scope -- is part of how I showcase my expertise and superior fitness for the project. I'm not interested in other FLs being privy to that exchange.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 28

People per Hour had this feature. Freelancers used it to ask for the client to "review their profile" to see if they could work together. It was just a rules-break-o-rama. 

Community Guru
Maria T Member Since: Nov 12, 2015
7 of 28

Tonya P wrote:

People per Hour had this feature. Freelancers used it to ask for the client to "review their profile" to see if they could work together. It was just a rules-break-o-rama. 


PPH has it, and sometimes it has come in handy for me.
At first, freelancers used it to get attention or ask to be hired. People were looking for a way around the rules for questions.
They changed the way of carrying it out, the question is revised. If it is not relevant or has already been asked, it is not supported and it will not appear.
Since they started doing it, most jobs have no questions, even though a lot of people have submitted proposals.

Would it work here? I do not know.

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
8 of 28

I'm not in favor of it. As Phyllis said, the questions I ask are questions I've developed through nearly 20 years of working in this field, and I'm not interested in giving that proprietary knowledge away. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
9 of 28

When I ask a question, that's part of my own screening process, as well as, as others have said, part of how I market my expertise. I want those pointed questions (and sometimes, demands) to have the weight of a proposal behind them. Conversely, if a posting or invitation is serious enough to respond to, I already have a channel for questions. And if not—why bother?

Upwork has already done too much to lower the bar for freelancers and skew its recommendations toward the least qualified. Many Upwork policies and practices already ensure that clients are bombarded with unsuitable matches. And you want to increase the level of noise?

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
10 of 28

Douglas Michael M wrote:

When I ask a question, that's part of my own screening process, as well as, as others have said, part of how I market my expertise. I want those pointed questions (and sometimes, demands) to have the weight of a proposal behind them. Conversely, if a posting or invitation is serious enough to respond to, I already have a channel for questions. And if not—why bother?

Upwork has already done too much to lower the bar for freelancers and skew its recommendations toward the least qualified. Many Upwork policies and practices already ensure that clients are bombarded with unsuitable matches. And you want to increase the level of noise?


This! This cannot be overstated. It seems to me that just about every new "improvement" is really an attempt to idiot-proof the platform for poorly qualified and ill-equipped freelancers or else try to address the low hire rate that is driven in large part by the proliferation of poorly qualified and ill-equipped freelancers. I've advocated before for a mechanism that meaningfully vets freelancers and excludes those that are not ready (and certainly those who never will be). Evidently UW is loathe to turn anybody away, so how about a two-lane admission chute? Vet new FLs and enable those who are truly qualified and ready to start earning money to do so. Those who are not, divert into a Freelancer Boot Camp program where they can use self-study to get better prepared to pass the meaningful readiness test as well as seek advice on profile development, positioning/marketing their skills, etc. UW gets to count them on the platform (since having umpteen zillion members is clearly a be-all, end-all goal) but without turning them loose into the talent pool until/unless they are ready. 

 

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