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arsalan-m
Community Member

Idea: Start charging clients upfront for posting a job. Refund/adjust it when they actually hire.

Considering the recent updates on Upwork and the increasing number of connects for freelancers to avoid spam or junk proposals, it is important to also address the issue of fake job posts.

 

Suggestion: Upwork should implement a system where clients are charged a minimum amount upfront, in addition to the percentage they are already charged, Let's say $1 - $5 before they can post a job. This upfront payment will serve as a verification of their intent to hire and ensure that job posts are not made without a commitment from the client. The charged amount can be adjusted later, deducting it from the percentage clients pay to the platform when they successfully hire a freelancer. Do not refund if they dont hire anyone.

 

By charging a minimum amount upfront and adjusting it within the percentage clients pay to the platform upon hiring, Upwork can discourage fake job posts and encourage serious buyers to utilize the platform. This upfront payment will provide an additional layer of security and help filter out clients who are not genuinely interested in hiring. It will also enable freelancers to use their connects on serious buyers, improving the overall efficiency of the platform.

 

Implementing this suggestion would demonstrate Upwork's commitment to maintaining a high-quality marketplace and enhance the experience for freelancers, while still providing flexibility for clients to adjust the charged amount within the percentage they pay to the platform when they successfully hire a freelancer.

30 REPLIES 30
edesignmk
Community Member

I think there are each day more and more professional project postings, with real briefs but the client is fake or a scammer.
(For example: "Project brief 1 is posted" with a new client from the USA, then a couple of hours later the same project brief is posted from a client from a different country. 

Attached example of a client, 130 project posts, and a %0 hire rate.

client.png2023-03-23 15_11_11-Upwork.png

I have already opened a topic about my suggestion: 

When a client signs up, 20 connects will be automatically added to his account. 
- Allow clients to post 2 Free projects, ex. 10 connects to post a project).


1. Client posts a project (free) using 10 connects. 
2. If he awards a project, the 10 connects will return to his account. 

I do understand that some clients need to post 4-5 projects for different niches, but maybe once he was awarded more than 5 projects, remove the option to post with connects from his account. So he can be a trustworthy client with a badge. 

Allowing clients to post jobs for free is contributing to the issue of spam and fake job postings on the platform. This is what is actually happening at the moment, as there is no cost associated with posting a job, leading to a higher number of non-serious and low-quality job posts. Refunding free connects may encourage clients to engage in "window shopping" behavior, further exacerbating the problem.

 

In my opinion, implementing upfront charges would be more effective. These charges could be either adjusted in the final project cost or refunded when the client hires a freelancer and makes a deposit in escrow. This approach would discourage non-serious clients from posting jobs, as they would be aware that their charges would be wasted if they don't follow through with hiring someone.

Well, each platform and Upwork wants the job creation process to be as painless as possible. Anything that creates more obstacles for the client will probably not be best for the platform and I think will drive the clients away.

That shouldn't be seen as an obstacle but rather as a necessary step to filter out low-quality clients, spam, and scammers. Upwork has already taken a significant measure by doubling the number of connects required to apply for a job, which aims to address the issue. It's important to consider implementing similar measures on the client side as well.

 

This will ultimately create a more reliable and trustworthy platform for both freelancers and buyers alike, fostering an environment that attracts higher-quality clients and ensures competent resources can connect with them. By testing out such initiatives on the client side, Upwork can gauge their effectiveness and determine if they align with the platform's goals.

 

If successful, these measures would validate the recent updates and demonstrate their worth in enhancing the overall quality of the marketplace. It's essential to prioritize the interests of both freelancers and clients, ensuring a fair and productive ecosystem where talented professionals can thrive and reputable clients can find the expertise they need.

Of course that will drive the clients away from Upwork, no one wants to be charged upfront.  For example, sometimes clients may not award a project for legitimate reasons, deciding to postpone the project due to budget constraints or not finding a suitable freelancer. 

Not hiring does not benefit the platform in any way since it means clients are not providing business opportunities to the platform. While budget constraints can be a legitimate concern, clients who are genuinely serious about a job can explore options such as negotiation or adjusting their budget to attract suitable freelancers.

 

If clients plan to postpone a project, they could keep the job posting active or utilize a feature to temporarily pause it (if available on the platform, if not they can add this). It's important to address these issues and find solutions to ensure a better experience on both sides.

 

The recent update implemented by the platform could have an impact on numerous freelancers, but it's crucial to acknowledge the need for measures to tackle fake job posts, spams, and scams. This helps maintain the integrity of the platform and safeguard the interests of freelancers and clients alike.

But regardless of what you say, adding a step IS making it one MORE step to post a job, something that is only going to deter clients in a space where we need to attract more clients.

 

A far more effective "IDEA" or way to solve the problem AND reduce the amount of client scams would be to have a HUGE cull on freelancers!

As harsh as it sounds, there is way to many freelancers on this platform, and many should not be doing it at all (under qualified/chancing thier luck for quick $$$ but dont actually invest any time or effort into how things work/how to keep clients happy ect.)

 

Remove all those freelancers...

-This place will be a more attractive place to clients (less rubbish proposals to sift through)

-Reduce the number of scam clients (scammers are looking for easy prey-the freelancers that have not invested time or energy into using the platform correctly)

 

How is making a deposit an obstacle to a serious hirer, that will get that deposit back when they hire someone? It IS an obstacle for a scammer though, who KNOWS they are not going to hire anybody.

b4078469
Community Member

Good idea, also freelancers could be awarded connects for reporting fake jobs. Set a bar to top rated or something to avoid connect farming and limit it to like 1 per report, 10 per week.

tlsanders
Community Member

Why would any client choose to pay anything and to provide their credit card information here not knowing whether they would ever want to hire someone here when there are dozens to hundreds of ways they can connect with freelancers for free? 

Why not? 

 

They are still providing all of their information during the sign-up process. Haven't you seen "new clients" with a "verified payment method"? Didn't they provide their credit card details to get verified?

 

Freelancers prefer working with verified clients, and the platform encourages clients to verify their payment method to attract serious offers. If clients can go through the verification process, it shows they are capable of making payments, and any amount they pay can be adjusted or refunded accordingly.

 

If being free is the only viable option, then it raises the question of why freelancers should bear the burden. Let me propose sending proposals for free as well, or perhaps decreasing the number of connects allocated to freelancers to match the system from a few years back. If clients cannot pay, why should freelancers be required to pay?

 

Clients still have the option to approach freelancers for free if they prefer dozen to hundred ways. Only serious buyers would proceed with posting jobs on the platform, filtering out spammers or window shoppers.

Your idea has been discussed at least once a week ever since I can remember. Clients and freelancers are not treated alike for the simple reason that there's a massive oversupply of freelancers but not enough clients. I think that some clients have already left since Upwork started charging them for each job that they award. Any further fees on clients would be a terrible idea. If you're worried about wasting your connects or about getting scammed, you have the option of filtering out jobs from clients who don't have a significant hiring history.

Who bears the responsibility for the oversupply? Now that they are implementing measures to address it, let's level the playing field.

 

Clients may have left, but Upwork still charges them, right? I'm not proposing any additional charges, but a nominal upfront payment equivalent to the amount they would be charged upon project completion, as mentioned earlier.

 

I'm not concerned about being scammed, but rather about wasting connects. Regardless of the effort put into filtering out jobs and submitting proposals promptly, some clients show no interest in reviewing offers and simply abandon the project. With the recent increase in required connects, this can become costly, even when dealing with verified clients.

When you have the option to get a service for free or get a virtually identical service for a fee, do you choose to spend money unnecessarily? Do you believe everyone would? 

 

Occasionally I see a brand new client with a verified payment method, but not very often. Because most don't want to take that step until they know they'll be hiring someone. It's nice of you to drop by in my 34th year of freelancing and tell me what freelancers prefer, but I personally LOVE to connect with a brand new, unverified client. I'm glad so many freelancers are paranoid about them, because it's less competition for great clients--ones who tend to stay with me for years and pay tens of thousands of dollars. 

I see new clients with verified payment are most likely scammers 😄

Good for you.  Congratulations on your 34th year!

 

Wish you good luck ahead.

You are part of an oversupply, demanding anything has little to no  chance of being heard.

For the same reason freelancers have to pay to apply for jobs - if the client has to pay a couple dollars to post a job knowing that in return they are getting a high quality pool of candidates that will save them time in the hiring process, why wouldn't they be inclined to pay. Furthermore, it just goes to show that upwork doesn't have the freelancer's best interest in mind. All they care about is volume of clients, not quality of jobs.

Who says that by paying to post a job the client will receive only a pool of high quality candidates?
The problem with so many scam jobs is that these "clients" have a big pool full of freelancers without any skills, experience and information (they don't know how this works), where they can fish, and they get to fish a lot.
The solution could start by setting a bar (not higher, because now it doesn't exist) to be able to start sending proposals.
Here enters anyone who uploads a photo and writes a couple of sentences.

celgins
Community Member

I think the intended effect will be minimal and the opposite effect is more likely.

 

If clients are required to pay to post a job—even if their payments are returned upon hiring a freelancer—many quality clients will refuse to use the platform. Most enterprise clients can handle this, but it might not be a sustainable expense for individuasl or small business clients. Upwork is a convenience for clients and freelancers, and both have choices outside of Upwork. The difference is, Upwork can afford to lose millions of freelancers; it cannot afford to lose quality clients.

 

There are quality individuals and small and medium-sized businesses with specific needs, and Upwork doesn’t want to raise barriers in front of them. What you're suggesting--as Christine stated--has been discussed for years, and Upwork has never implemented it. I believe that is because it's a barrier that might impede too many good clients, but not discouraging enough bad clients.

 

Also, I think people fail to recognize the origins of some of these "clients." Scammers that post fake jobs aren't necessarily one- or two-man teams sitting in a basement, plotting to scam unsuspecting freelancers. Instead, a lot of the fakeness we see on Upwork is being sponsored by larger organizations with criminal intent. I’m talking about teams of 10 - 50 persons whose primary goal is to separate you from your money. These groups have no problems funding their fake job posts because they use stolen credit cards—both traditional cards and temporary virtual cards. The only way to stop this type of scammer from feasting:

 

1) Stop feeding them. As long as there is a smörgåsbord available, the scammers will eat. Remove the sustenance, and they will eventually leave and search for food elsewhere. Right now, there are too many unqualified, low-skilled amateur chefs (unskilled freelancers) serving up high-fat, sugar-laced, sodium-filled meals for free, and the scammers are overindulging. Master chefs/culinary experts (skilled freelancers) don't serve those types of meals.

 

2) Close the door.  We all agree that Upwork needs to do a better job of preventing scammer clients from entering the restaurant. Several resources are required to do this (i.e., software, systems, people, etc.), but it doesn’t appear that Upwork is too keen on expending those resources right now--especially since it recently reduced its workforce.

 

Upwork has a good restaurant; they just need to be more selective in which customers they serve. Starve the scammers and they will leave; close the door, and employ the tools required to prevent new scammers from entering.

 

Personally, I love to eat, but if you stop feeding me or block the door, I will stop showing up.

c4e453ac
Community Member

Are they a "quality client" if they can't afford to pay a nominal fee like $10 that gets reimbursed if and when they hire someone? Such a nominal fee IS a barrier for scammers who post dozens of jobs every single day.

At the moment a client can post a job and may get 50 proposals with maybe 1 or 2 that areactually suited to the position (if they feel like wading through all the proposals) if you introduce a fee, its not just about the money, its the extra step. In a corporation a client may need boss authorization to make a payment, so now you introduce a fee, that same client that wanted to post a job, find a candidate and setup the contract next monday when the boss is back has to wait for monday to post the job.

 

its not all about the money, its the fact its an extra step. 

 

think about it. there is a shortage of decent clients. there is an over abundance of freelancers. why would you charge the client and risk losing the job? If you charge the freelancer and lose a few freelancers, there will still be to many freelancers.

 

The clients that are trying to scam people or get $1000 of work for $10 are a direct result of the over abundance of freelancers here. If people stopped applying for jobs then doing work before having a contract or agreeing to ridiculous terms for peanuts, then those clients would filter out!

 

While I do think that connects should be returned for non-hires, clients should not be required to hire someone on the platform. This will not be a barrier for scammers given the simple fact that there are plenty of people on this platform that fall for their scams. Just read the forums. It would just be the cost of doing business. A potential good new client might be be like "I don't feel like dealing with this right now" and never come back.

elytn
Community Member

I absolutely agree about not feeding the scammers, and my rule is - if it looks/feels/sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I can see how many, in desperation to get some $$ would fall for these traps - some are so elaborate and very well written, they don't raise any red flags at all, until the client contacts you with the actual scam.

 

I'm personaly 50/50 about the upfront charge. I see both a negative, and a positive:

 

If we start with the assumption that a client needs a problem solved and they're ready to hire someone to solve it for them, that would also mean they should be ready to pay the contract amount - be it 50 $ or 250 or whatever. So this amount will go out of their bank account eventually and I am fully aware that for bigger project that would mean longer project length and for quick jobs it could be as little as a week ... So If a % but no more than x$ is escrowed upfront and refunded 1) if they hire or 2) if they cancel the job (so we can get our expensive connects back) - then that shouldn't be too big of an obstacle for such clients, rather it can be viewed as part of the hiring process.

 

I do see how it would deter clients who are • not in a rush, • who are precious about their money ("if I choose a freelancer who fails to deliver what I need, I can't afford to hire someone else" type of clients); • who are not in the field they hire for, so they don't really know what to look for; • who have never hired a freelancer before and don't know what to expect.

 

I totally agree that Upwork needs to step up their game as a marketplace and implement better safety and control measures. Why not identity verify clients? Us freelancers have that... Why not have a client profile that we can browse? Us freelancers have that ...  Why not actually screen the job posts .. of wait - they have us for that, and we do it for free ...

erinvega2016
Community Member

Along with charging clients would eventually lead to freelancers being required to have a plus account to use the platform. 

 

What's to say a client doesn't pay that fee with a stolen credit card and freelancers send proposals, a freelancer is contracted, does the work under the Upwork contract, completes the work to clients satisfaction. Only to be notified a month or two after contract has ended that a chargeback has been started against you. A scammer will always be a scammer and will try every trick they can to get money for nothing.

I doubt scammers actually hire anyone - their interest is to get you to give them your money

m_terrazas
Community Member

Maybe it would be profitable for them to pay that $5 or $10 if there are still "little fish" to "trick" into working and getting paid outside Upwork.
We have already seen many who, before realizing the scam, have sent a lot of money to the supposed client.

What can be the sign of scams in case of new clients ?

You have a thread dedicated to it:
- https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...
Also information on Upwork and you can search the forum, there are plenty of threads.

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