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How to change the way client's review proposals? Give opportunity to more freelancers

Edit: I figured out I was wrong and this couldn't work 🙂

Sorry if someone was offended 



Well, I don't know if this is the right part of the community to post this concern, but I have a kind of suggestion for Upwork, I guess the community will lift this post and bring it to the people in charge 🙂

Anyway. We all know that client's usually don't answer proposals. Tens and tens of proposals sent, no answer, essays and essays were written, no answers, desperate freelancers losing hope and not seeing their future on Upwork after months of trying etc

After 4 years on Upwork, $100k+ earned, Top Rated Plus badge, over 100 completed projects, this happens to me all the time, I can only imagine how someone who is just starting feels... Can be pretty depressing and discouraging.


However, I've been thinking about that a lot and I think I have a solution.

Make a new rule for clients. Push clients to open and answer a certain percentage of proposals.

The answer can be automated, or manual, but the client will need to open the proposals.

A lot of clients are here just to pick up ideas or free work, or whatever. 


This can be hard if some job postings get 500 proposals, but the percentage of answers must be sliding and scalable


For example:

500 proposals - 10% (50 proposals need to be opened and answered)

100 proposals - 50% (50 proposals need to be opened and answered)

50 proposals - 60% (30 proposals need to be opened and answered)

≤25 proposals - 100% (all of the proposals need to be opened and answered)



This might sound tricky and confusing for clients, but we need to give them an opportunity to make different choices when creating the job. If they don't want to answer proposals, they can simply create an 'Invite only' job and invite the freelancers they think will fit. If someone decides to create a job posting for all freelancers to apply they need to take it more seriously and have in mind that by not answering they might be hurting a lot of people without even knowing.



I know I maybe confused you, but I'd really appreciate your comments on this topic since I think it can significantly improve freelancers' position here, and also attract clients who are more serious about their projects. Let's discuss this topic


Community Member

How does this attract clients? 

How would you enforce it?

What happens if the client doesn't open the allotted number of proposals? Will he get suspended, not able to post other jobs?

IMO, it should not be more difficult for clients to use upwork. 

A huge percentage of clients treat freelancers like trash, that's the main reason I'd force this approach. They just don't appreciate that you took your time to write and send that proposal, and spent time building the skills etc. Millions of proposals just go to trash and never receive any answer.


Since you have significant experience in Upwork, I'm pretty sure that you found some long-term clients along the way who keep coming back for your services and treat you very nicely, and you don't have opportunity to submit proposals very often.


On the other hand, freelancers treat clients like Gods, is that a sustainable model?

If the client doesn't open the allotted number of proposals he'll be able to select the 'I found the right candidate' option, and all of the others will get an automated message that their proposal is declined.

Clients already have the option to decline proposals. Yes, you are right, I don't send proposals very often, but I still dislike the rare case (since clients don't often use it) when a client declines one. I prefer sweet silence and only to hear back from a client who wants to talk about the job. 

In any case, any established rule needs to have consequences if it is violated. So what consequences do you propose? Without consequences, it is not a rule, and it is meaningless. 

It's pretty obvious that you don't know how the algorithm of the Upwork platform works, since you're already an established 'upworker' like me, or some other people here, but I had kind of insight because I was a very active member of the Facebook group that gathered freelancers from my whole country, we had over 50k people in that group. Basically, if the freelancer sends a lot of proposals without receiving any answer (that happens to A TON of new freelancers), the algorithm recognizes them as a bad offer, low-quality work, or something else, and people very, very often get suspended and never get a second chance to get back to Upwork, even though their work is much higher quality than someone who just got lucky sometimes in the past.


I'd try approaching clients 'softly' - without any hard consequences, but with an explanation that freelancers put a lot of time & effort into trying to pave their path and create a successful freelance career


I hope you understand my concern, if the platform tries to introduce some rules like that it will inevitably increase the quality of people here, both freelancers and clients. New freelancers with quality will get recognized eventually, old freelancers with quality will stay recognized, and people who dont have quality will get declined, declined, declined, and in the end, after certain number of tries, be removed from the platform, or warned to review their offer.

Again, upwork does NOT suspend people for not winning jobs. They suspend people who violate the ToS, but that has nothing to do with not winning jobs. 

I understand your point, but you don't understand what the client needs. A client posts a job on upwork, gets proposals, hires someone, or doesn't find what he is looking for, doesn't hire someone. The freelancer's needs are not on his radar, nor should they be. The client has a task, and is looking for the best person for the task. Does he want to be reminded to be nice to people and respond to their proposal? Absolutely not. 

The decline button is already there. Most clients don't use it. Why? Because it's additional work. The client does not have the time to engage with people he does not want to hire. The other reason might be that a response creates a chat room, thereby giving freelancers the option to contact the client at any time they want. Does the client want to be hounded for jobs he doesn't have? No, it will only lead to the freelancer being blocked by this client. Actually now that I think of it, that might be the main reason why clients don't use it. 

Another thing is - clients report getting tons of horrible copy/paste proposals from freelancers who don't seem to know what they are doing. Telling these clients that the freelancers put a lot of work into their proposals will not lead to a kind reaction from the client. 

Alright, I don't want to go into deeper conversations about this-


Anyway, I just think that the platform needs to be cleaned, both from bad clients, as well as bad freelancers

That way you will have less freelancers who use copy/paste proposals, but you'll also get less clients that treat freelancers like trash and cheap workforce

Community Member

Hi Nikola,


I feel your pain, but I don't think the idea is feasible.  


Yes, clients generally have the upper hand here.  Like it or not, it is a sustainable model, since Upwork/odesk/eLance  has been in business for many years.   It's not easy to get a foothold as a freelancer, but once you do, it becomes easier to get work.  I would rather not impose too many conditions that discourage clients from posting jobs to which I can respond.  My problem now is not finding work, but juggling the work I have.  I got to this point by being patient, getting past the frustration of not getting responses to carefully crafted proposals, and building a body of work that encourages clients to send me invitations.   There are some lines of business here that seem inherently unprofitable for freelancers.   But if you are not in one of those it's possible to establish yourself. 



Yes, we can look it that way. But we don't see thousands of people getting suspended from the platform for not receiving any responses on their proposals because the algorithm recognizes them as potentially low-quality offers. I know this because I was an active user in Facebook groups that promoted upwork in my country. 


I mean, I also juggle the work as you said, but I think this topic needs deeper understanding and discussion, other than just simple 'dont make it harder for clients'. 


Community Member

I see what you mean and from a newer user perspective, being able to get more response (even if rejected) on my Upwork proposals sounds like a dream. But I can also understand what the other responses here are saying when they say this idea might not also be the most feasible. It all comes down to business in the end, and for now the current system would seem to be of the better ideas from Upwork's side as a company. 

Freelancers are not Upwork's customers.


Clients are the customers.

Community Member

Thanks for your reply Preston.

Community Member

I send my proposal and then forget about it. In 12 years or so, I have only gotten a handful of declines, and only one with a reason for declining.  I just don't see a reason to change the way clients handle proposals. They gonna do what they gonna do.

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