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

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

Ela and Jennifer, 

 

I have posted this information before and I am going to copy it here because it applies:

 

Things you can do:

 

- You can subcontract as long as you don't mislead your clients about what you are doing.  So, you could definitely charge more per hour and say that that includes editing, if you then pay an editor yourself. 

 

- You could charge a fixed price and use some of the money to engage an editor.

 

- You can start an agency and be able to give you clients the full service they are asking for.

 

- The client could give you hiring manager permissions if they want you to recruit editors for them to hire (this is more of a long-term solution)

 

Thing you can't do:

 

- You can't charge your own hourly rate by billing hours for the work of someone else on your account as that would mislead the client as to who was doing the work.

 

You can also check article 8.2 of the User Agreement for more information.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Thanks Valeria,

 

But what if the subcontracted service isn't a "side-service" such as editing, but, indeed, the core service the client is after?

 

Let's say, my mother is a native Greek speaker, and I apply and get awarded a job for a German-Greek translation. Is that OK? I tell the client that my mum will conduct the translation (and there is no way I can guarantee the quality as I don't speak Greek.)

 

The same may apply if a farmer gets a translator or writer to translate/write about a topic they know nothing about.

 

Is that OK?


@Valerie M wrote:

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.


SHHH girl.jpg 


@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. 

 


It's not compounded, you're just doing it backward. Upwork takes 20% (or 10%, or 5%) of the total fee charged to the client. $25 is 25% of the 100 you're ultimately getting, but it is 20% of the $125 that the client is being charged.

 

It's not at all confusing to the client because the client sees nothing except the total price and has no reason to think about the fees Upwork charges you. 

If you concentrate on what the client pays, it is 20%. However, if you focus on what UpWork takes for commission, it's 25%. Bottom line, I have to account for a 25% commission on all my rates. You can view it from different angles but 25% is what comes out of the project and is what Upwork receives. If my rate is $100 I have to charge $125 to make that $100, a 25% commission. It’s that simple to me.

Clients charge what they think is fair for fixed-price jobs. There is a budget. People who are looking for work have to work within that budget and kiss major butt before clients want to work long-term with them. And clients have their own fees to worry about now, on top of paying for our fees. And most clients will go where the least trouble is, even if it has been a long-term working relationship. If you could get work done for $150 somewhere, versus $180, what would you choose? You'd like to think it would be the higher quality worker, but this is an outsourcing website. People generally want to save money. And Upwork wants to MAKE money. Which is hard for both freelancers (especially new ones) and clients who have to pay more.

 

I'd like the fee to be about 5% for top rated freelancers, but that's where Upwork makes the most money so it won't happen. Just thought I'd suggest it. Because I think it's unfair to gut people who are just starting out and trying to make a living, just like it's unfair to take such a big chunk out of the wage of people who are trying to do everything right and have been cheated hundreds of dollars on oDesk before better policies for payment were put into place.

 

There are good changes and bad with the platform. The site works better. I haven't hunted for jobs in a while because I have long-term clients, but I guess there are fewer scams? There is somewhat more job security. But only if you're already kind of elite. As an "elite" I just wanted to say that I feel like the fees are extravagant. And would appreciate an incentive for people to work through the BS 20% fees. The new kids are working for pennies if I'm frustrated to lose $20 here or there. If they knew working for pennies would turn out to be worth it for those who are new to the site to become top rated so they can have a bit of a break and see more of their earnings, you might end up with more people with more long-term earnings.

 

Personally I have good clients who calculate the fees for the most part, but not everyone does. There are people who feel ripped off or who may never be able to break into the 10% fees bracket because it's too frustrating to see their money siphoned away. Man Frustrated


@Amanda B wrote:

Clients charge what they think is fair for fixed-price jobs. There is a budget. People who are looking for work have to work within that budget and kiss major butt before clients want to work long-term with them.


No.
No No No No.
The idea that freelancers "have to" bid within (at or under) the budget to get hired is a huge fallacy, as is the idea that it it is somehow stupendously difficult to get longer term clients.

 

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. 

Unless that aspect of the platform has changed, it was physically impossible to bid anything beyond what the client was offering. And they only looked at bids to decide interviews. And if you want more than they want to give, they move on to the next lowest bidder to interview. Soooo......maybe it's different now but that's been the case as far as I know.

But what do I know, I've only been living off this site for the past 3 years. I'm clearly the picture of ignorance. Smiley Frustrated All of my frustrations are unfounded.

There are still those clients, which is why I think they need to provide us information on how many times we've bid on a project/client. I started on Elance in 2006. UpWork is a mix of Elance and oDesk, so it's been particularly challenging to weed out the bad apples. I will bid over budget on a project, but only if my standard rate comes out to not too much more than what their posted budget is. I would bid $180 on a $150 budget. A serious client will likely have the extra $30 to spend. I'm not going to bid if I'm several hundred dollars over though. Many clients simply don't know what the work is worth, so don't hesitate to be a little high. 


@Amanda B wrote:

Unless that aspect of the platform has changed, it was physically impossible to bid anything beyond what the client was offering. And they only looked at bids to decide interviews. And if you want more than they want to give, they move on to the next lowest bidder to interview. Soooo......maybe it's different now but that's been the case as far as I know.

But what do I know, I've only been living off this site for the past 3 years. I'm clearly the picture of ignorance. Smiley Frustrated All of my frustrations are unfounded.


 I have been working here for 5 years. (In fact I got my first payment 5 years ago today) I have ALWAYS bid more than budget. It has ALWAYS been possible. I have been hired bidding several times the stated budget.

 

The idea that all clients go with the lowest bid is complete nonsense unless you have positioned yourself very awkwardly in such a place of your market where you look "too cheap" for the high value / high quality clients, and too expensive for the bottom feeders who go by price only.

 

 

Same here. I have never (ok, granted I've only been here a year) bid on budget. I'm always over. ALWAYYYYS.

 

I don't know why on earth freelancers don't have the stones to bid over budget. If you have the skills, they will go for you. People would much rather have a qualified, reliable, experienced person than joe schmoe the lowballer.

I just know it wouldn't physically let me bid over what the client had listed as the budget for a while. Like I said, I have good clients as of now but when I first started, bidding over just wasn't an option until long term work had been discussed. I have no problem charging more for good work and this makes me consider raising rates even more, so thanks to those contributing for the conversation.

 

As many writers here, I'm obviously better with words than numbers and it hurts to see so much money being taken out in fees. And I have friends and family members who are new to the site who will be seeing even less of their money, and I think having a decrease in fees for top rated workers would motivate them to keep trying to do well and become top-tier workers on the site. I don't want to recommend people to come here and have them earning next to nothing with no hope of it getting better. It sucks and reflects poorly on me.

 

Just my 2 cents (20%?) Robot Frustrated


@Amanda B wrote:

I just know it wouldn't physically let me bid over what the client had listed as the budget for a while.


 Amanda, sorry, that simply is not true.

 

At no point in the past 5 years for certain, and before as far as I know, has there been any restriction to bidding above the client's stated budget.

 

And for what it is worth, I think you are hurting yourself with your low hourly rate and would win more work at a significantly higher one.

 

 


@Amanda B wrote:

Unless that aspect of the platform has changed, it was physically impossible to bid anything beyond what the client was offering. And they only looked at bids to decide interviews. And if you want more than they want to give, they move on to the next lowest bidder to interview. Soooo......maybe it's different now but that's been the case as far as I know.

But what do I know, I've only been living off this site for the past 3 years. I'm clearly the picture of ignorance. Smiley Frustrated All of my frustrations are unfounded.


You do, in fact, seem to be ignorant on thish point. I've only been on the site for about six months, so I don't know what restrictions used to apply, but I frequently bid more than the stated budget...there is no limitation at all on the number you type into that box at present. 


@Amanda B wrote:

And most clients will go where the least trouble is, even if it has been a long-term working relationship. If you could get work done for $150 somewhere, versus $180, what would you choose?


 "Least trouble" does not mean "least money"--in fact, often just the opposite.

 

I would choose the person I believed could do the best job, which is what most of my clients do. Many clients don't know what will go into completing a project or what a reasonable price would be. I have bid more than double the stated budget and I've bid less than 1/3 of stated budget, depending on the investment the job will actually require.

 

Interestingly, I have been awarded more of the jobs where I bid above the budget than below.


@Amanda B wrote:

 

Clients [have] a budget. People who are looking for work have to work within that budget and kiss major butt before clients want to work long-term with them.

As you wish.

And clients have their own fees to worry about now, on top of paying for our fees....

 

Personally I have good clients who calculate the fees for the most part, but not everyone does....

 

Why on earth would you concern yourself with clients' business expenses, or expect them to concern themselves with yours?


 

Best,

Michael

anima9
Community Guru

@Amanda B wrote:

Upwork couldn't thrive without the top rated freelancers and clients,


Upwork doesn't really need TR people. This whole TR thing is actually bad for their business. Upwork thrives from volume of work and not amount paid. Let's say every 1 TR peep got paid twice as much as 10 newbs per day. From that, you can say the TR person is an asset (and he/she is) but not as much as 10 newbs with potential to be future TRs.

 

Also, if the TR guy's business goes sour, UW would lose more than a handful of money. If one or two newbs got banned for committing TOS violations, UW still has eight newbs left to cover their a$$es until the two gets replaced.

 

tl;dr TR f'lancers are more liability than asset.

hang on hang on hang on.....I read through all the posts and something struck me... So...a person is a writer while at the same time being a farmer ....? Did I get that right? So...if you are a farmer, how are you a writer? Or are you both....this is puzzling, on the one hand...yet not so much on the other. So btw...it is not 25%..its 20%. Use a calculator.

You might want to read through the thread again, I feel like your comments have already been addressed.  


@Robert James R wrote:

@Amanda B wrote:

Upwork couldn't thrive without the top rated freelancers and clients,


Upwork doesn't really need TR people. This whole TR thing is actually bad for their business. Upwork thrives from volume of work and not amount paid. Let's say every 1 TR peep got paid twice as much as 10 newbs per day. From that, you can say the TR person is an asset (and he/she is) but not as much as 10 newbs with potential to be future TRs.

 

Also, if the TR guy's business goes sour, UW would lose more than a handful of money. If one or two newbs got banned for committing TOS violations, UW still has eight newbs left to cover their a$$es until the two gets replaced.

 

tl;dr TR f'lancers are more liability than asset.


Where do you get the idea that Upwork "thrives" on volume versus amount paid? 

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