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Here's an idea - Lower fees for Top Rated Freelancers and clients!! Come on!

amanda_bassett
Active Member

Upwork couldn't thrive without the top rated freelancers and clients, but why am I working so hard to have 20 dollars taken out of everything I earn?! Where is that money going?! To support the site for the people who make it iffy? PLEASE consider a significant discount in service fees for top rated freelancers - then maybe more people will be motivated to improve work ethic and clean up the site! Because this is starting to raise my blood pressure. Every time I think I can count on a certain amount of money, the number is significantly lower when I withdraw it. If it was going to taxes, I wouldn't mind, but it's not! It isn't fair!

 

I say give the hardest workers something for their efforts and sticking with this site for so long.

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I agree. It's not a business mindset to look at it as "what client's charge." You are the freelancer doing the work and it's what you charge. The budget is what the client has listed as what they are looking to pay, but this doesn't really mean much in many cases. Kissing butt is the last thing you want to do because you look desperate and willing to work for pennies. This is not a successful business practice. It's one thing to give bulk discounts, but client's don't respect someone who kisses butt. I have many long term clients that pay my rate consistently and there have been times when I've had to raise my rates. It's just part of business and serious clients understand that. Kissing butt equals getting taken advantage of. Always try to provide good customer service, but if a client doesn't respect your standard rates and policies, then this typically spills over into other areas of the working relationship.

 

You set your standard rate on what you feel is fair to you, so it's important to stick to it. Sometimes you just have to say no. I have minimum that I work for and I don't waste time or money (connects) on projects that don't meet that minimum or if the client's budget is not there. I go as far as to dig through their history to see if they pay remotely close to my rates and the feedback other freelancer's have left for them. 

 

Honestly, there needs to be more information to help freelancers in the bidding process. We just now have features showing us if they are previous clients. How many projects do we bid on over and over because the budget is there and everything looks good, but they either haven't awarded preivous jobs or for whatever reason they haven't selected your bid. That's where we are really wasting money and time, as far as connects go. It's not hard to show freelancers if they've bid on a particular client in the past. That's a feature that Elance had and I used it all the time. If I had bid on a client more than twice, I wouldn't waste anymore bids on them. We should be entitled to that information considering it's $2 a bid. 

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48 REPLIES 48
colettelewis
Community Guru

Why don't you up your fees to $16 an hour, that will bring you back to about the 10% rate you were being charged before? If you increase your rate to $20 an hour, you won't even feel the pinch.

 

Up your fixed-rate fees by 10 - 15%. It is not enormous.

 

daisypeasblossom
Ace Contributor

Point of fact, the fees are on a sliding scale.. The more you earn, the less you pay. The iey is to have repeat customers so that you build up to the point where you are paying less. It does make sense -- repeat customers is less work for Upwork, and it is job security for writers.

The problem is that the clients are not motivated with nothing to build long relationship with some freelancer.
Always I work with great quality and I give the best of me to make happy a client, but many times it is not enough the client to hire me again.

Nikola, it depends on the client, for sure. I've had clients who are one-offs, they only need one project done and then they're gone. It's just the nature of their work. However, I have several long-term clients. It is mostly influenced by the clients' needs. If they need an ongoing freelancer you have a chance at building that relationship with them. If they don't need ongoing work then you don't have that opportunity. I have had clients for whom I've completed one-off jobs, but then a few months later they come back to me with an additional project. That's happened a couple of times, which is nice. 

Like many things, it takes time. Read the posted work requests carefully. Some say that they are looking for long-time workers, others just need something done quickly. 

 

Sometimes, those who start out intending to be long term discover that they've not thought their projects through. My current clients include a weekly blog agency; two small industries -- who are intermittent, but for whom I've worked quite a while; and a small press publisher. I also have one longer project that will probably be a one-time.

 

I understand your pain -- I remember the days when I took whatever I could get. Keep doing your very best, that's the way to get repeat work.


@Ona J B wrote:

Like many things, it takes time. Read the posted work requests carefully. Some say that they are looking for long-time workers, others just need something done quickly. 


 Almost all of my long-term clients, on Upwork and off, have started as one-offs.

mthornton-cpc
Community Guru

@Amanda B wrote:

Upwork couldn't thrive without the top rated freelancers and clients, but why am I working so hard to have 20 dollars taken out of everything I earn?! Where is that money going?! To support the site for the people who make it iffy? PLEASE consider a significant discount in service fees for top rated freelancers - then maybe more people will be motivated to improve work ethic and clean up the site! Because this is starting to raise my blood pressure. Every time I think I can count on a certain amount of money, the number is significantly lower when I withdraw it. If it was going to taxes, I wouldn't mind, but it's not! It isn't fair!

 

I say give the hardest workers something for their efforts and sticking with this site for so long.


If you're calculating what you expect to earn without factoring in the 20% rate for clients with lower than $500 lifetime spend you're always going to be disappointed. As others have pointed out, this is a prime reason to raise your rates a bit to compensate. I raised mine and haven't experienced a loss of clientele because of it. The new sliding scale was the push many of us needed to raise our rates. It's often something that freelancers mean to do, but don't actually get around to doing frequently enough. 🙂 

 

As for the site being "iffy", I've found it to be far more stable from a technical standpoint lately. Much less downtime, bugs that I've seen have been less significant and cleared up more quickly. Just my 2 cents, but I'm happier with the platform now than I was 8 months ago. 

Let's not forget to call the fees what they are, they are compounded. Therefeore, 20% is not really 20%. If you put in a $100 in the "what I earn box", it will charge the client $125 which is %25. This is confusing to the client and mkes freelenacers rates look inflated. UpWork needs to do a better job of being more transparent to both parties, I'm tired of explaing this to my customers. 

 

It is transparent. Sometimes, however, you have to instruct new clients. Point them to the help desk, and keep talking until they get it right. Be polite, but firm.

 

 

I respecfuly disagree, if I have to spend that much time and effort, it is not transparent. I am not an Upwork employeee, thats thier job to be transparent. 

 


@Valerie M wrote:

Let's not forget to call the fees what they are, they are compounded. Therefeore, 20% is not really 20%. If you put in a $100 in the "what I earn box", it will charge the client $125 which is %25. This is confusing to the client and mkes freelenacers rates look inflated. UpWork needs to do a better job of being more transparent to both parties, I'm tired of explaing this to my customers. 

 


No, that's no true.

 

It's 20% of what the client is charged.

Not 20% of what you earn.

 

20% of $125 is $25. Hence, you get $100. 

Yes, but to earn my rate, I therefore have to charge the client 25%. You can try to justify the additional 5%, but at the end of the day to earn my rate I have to charge 25%.  All of that 25% Upwork gets, so it's not like someone else is pocketing the additional 5%. 

 


@Valerie M wrote:

Yes, but to earn my rate, I therefore have to charge the client 25%. You can try to justify the additional 5%, but at the end of the day to earn my rate I have to charge 25%.  All of that 25% Upwork gets, so it's not like someone else is pocketing the additional 5%. 

 


Well, seeing that you have apparently handled/been awarded more than 70(!) jobs since June 2016, I am not sure the sliding fee structure has had much of an impact on your business...

 

How do you do that? All by yourself? It would seem that the one contract for more then $13k alone would have kept you busy the last 2 months.

 

That's truly amazing (or rather almost impossible for one single provider...).

 

 

oooh Ela, you have stepped into a lot of cow dung on the ol' farm.

 

The thing the OP is missing is that I bet a majority of TR people are working on $500+ customers so it's not a big deal to them. Right now, I have 1 client under $500 and it's a small gig for $40. If he ever closes the old contract, I'll charge him $45. It's not rocket science.

I have a business and was instructed by UpWork to set up as an invidual because of my business model. New clients have always been about 40-60% of my business. Since switching from Elance to UpWork, new clients have been making up more around 5%. The sliding fee is one of many factors contributing to this decline. If you review my 10 years of history, you would see that around 50% of those jobs were new clients on a monthly basis on Elance. 

 

Since switching to UpWork, I recently quit bidding for the most part because I was spending way more money trying to get work than receiving. That's  not to mention the number of hours that are spent on bidding and the numerous tirekickers. The new fee structure has just added another issue when it comes to finding new clients. As far as the $13k contract, that has been a long term client that I landed almost a year ago when we switched to UpWork. Like most clients, she comes and goes and does not consistently order, yet the contract remains open. She might keep us busy for 2 weeks, but I still need work after she's done with that order. The real issue here for me is finding new clients and the ROI on the money spent looking for new clients. The market is saturated and now that we're paying 25% on top of a saturated market, I've just decreased my bidding by 90%. Fortunately, I have many "direct" clients or I'd be out of business, because as a company we've suffered a significant loss of work since Elance shutdown. Stats don't lie and our new clients are down 50% since switching to UpWork. To make matters worse, we've lost some clients because of the sliding fee change. The reality is that in the writing industry, there aren't as many over $500 jobs as you would think. Many clients only need 10 articles here and there and it will take them months to get over the $500 mark, at least based on my rates. 

 

I've been doing this a long time, so you can take my feedback and job history as you wish, but I have to wonder as someone who came over from Elance and was ranked as the number 1 writer for nearly all of the 10 years I was there, is having this much trouble, I can't help but wonder what it is like for everyone else. 

 

A good example is that I used to get 10-15 invites a day on Elance and I'm lucky to get that per month on UpWork. Most of the ones I do get aren't even relevant to what I do. From my perspective, history and experience doesn't seem to mean much here. Although, I'm sure it's hard to stand out when a client is going through 50 bids on a project.

Farming not working that much those days it seems 🙂

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Valerie,

 

"As far as the $13k contract, that has been a long term client that I landed almost a year ago when we switched to UpWork. Like most clients, she comes and goes and does not consistently order, yet the contract remains open."

 

I cited that contract as it clearly started in June 2016, not a year ago. Unless Upwork got the dates wrong. Which, of course, is always possible.

 

You say since "we" switched. Now, since Upwork explicitly told you to set up your company as a single freelancer profile, I would like to get a moderator to confirm that this is how it can be done without repercussions.

 

If that is the way to go, I shall employ all my family members, friends and others and offer their diverse services via my own profile from here on out. 

 

I'm getting a little upset myself Ela.

 

Valerie, you used to have an agency here. I remember seeing your profile cuz let's face it every writer knew you on Elance. Are you saying that Upwork told you to kill the agency and go solo? We all know you farm out, so this seems to go against Upwork's ToS.

Yes, last August when Elancers were migrated to UpWork, I had a video conference with two UpWork representatives to which I explained my business model and they advised me to set up as an individual and not an agency. The main reason being that the staff I developed were not members of Elance or oDesk nor do they want to be. You can't be an agency if your team members aren't members as well, from my understanding, because it would require them to have a profile - which they don't want. I was suprised myself, as I was planning on an agency profile.

 

In my opinion, "farming" is sending work to overseas freelancers and misleading the client and that is not the case with my company and never has been. My staff was developed outside of any freelancing site in the early stages and we all have our own purpose and function within the business to make it successful. I write, edit and work just as the writers and editors in my company do. I created the business and therefore am the face of it and manage it. My writers want nothing to do with the business side, they just want to write. There's nothing wrong with that and I always strive to be transparent. There are clients out there that want to hire a company that can handle large amounts of work and manage it for them while also provide quality. These clients don't want to hire 20 writers and manage them as well. I fill this void with very consistent quality. If that means you feel that I "farm" work, then so be it.  My clients are aware of my business model and the level of customer service they receive keeps them coming back. That's what matters to me. 

 

As for the $13k contract, I apologize, this is the long term client from last year, but we did close the initial contract when she took a hiatus in the spring and opened a new one in June. 

 

However, I feel it's not pertinant how my business is set up and what contracts I have, as that is not the discussion of this thread. The discussion is about the fees and it doesn't matter how many contracts you have or how your business works, the fees are ridiculously high. And I feel all the points that I've made regarding the transparency of UpWork are legit, as well as the struggle to find new clients. It doesn't matter how many jobs you've had in the past, what matters is getting new clients and surviving now. It doesn't matter if you're an individual or a company, it comes down to getting an ROI on your investment - which on UpWork is your time and connects and so far the ROI is not so great for me. After a year on UpWork now, my new clients are at a 90% decrease when compared to Elance. There are multiple factors that affect this and the fee is one of them. The reality is that the $13k client is about done for awhile and with little hope of actually creating new clients on UpWork, I have to rethink how to spend my marketing dollars. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this position based on other threads I've read. 


@Valerie M wrote:

Yes, last August when Elancers were migrated to UpWork, I had a video conference with two UpWork representatives to which I explained my business model and they advised me to set up as an individual and not an agency. The main reason being that the staff I developed were not members of Elance or oDesk nor do they want to be. You can't be an agency if your team members aren't members as well, from my understanding, because it would require them to have a profile - which they don't want. I was suprised myself, as I was planning on an agency profile.


 Valerie,

 

Please believe me, this is not personal in any way - I just go with the information you provide and am trying to use it to clarify things with Upwork.

 

I know people, too, who would like to make money through the platform without becoming an 'Upworker'. My profile could be their (legal)  gateway.

 

Right?

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