Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Needless Complexity

resultsassoc
Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
1 of 30

Infrequent users of Upwork are faced with what the programmers believe is absolute simplicity to post a job. The problem is that few clients are Upwork programmers. Those who have not done freelancing previously are likely to post hourly jobs, regardless of the work. Hourly pays for input, Fixed Price pays for output. A number of entire categories are thus best for Fixed Price, such as Translation and Writing.

 

In almost all cases, Fixed Price contracts transfer risk of cost over-run from the client to the freelancer. Hourly contracts are fine for security guards, receptionists and cocktail servers. Work whose value depends upon intellectual capital would be best off contracted as fixed price. But, new or infrequent clients don't know this. Changing from an hourly job post to a fixed price one should be achievable by clicking on a button. Sadly, it requires deleting the hourly job post and creating a new fixed price job post. It is during this process that UW runs the greatest risk of a client and freelancer going off-platform for billing and payment.

 

This is not the first time this has been brought to UW's attention. Unfortunately, it won't be the last, because it will undoubtedly be prioritized behind thread count selection for doll furniture throw covers.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 30

re: "Hourly pays for input, Fixed Price pays for output."

 

Hourly contracts pay for time worked.

Which is a far simpler contract model than fixed-price.

 

Upwork is the current incarnation of a business that was essentially built on the hourly contract. The time-tracker is one of the hallmarks of the business.

 

For most types of work, clients will have a better outcome if they use hourly contracts. If the quality of work is important, then hourly contracts are particularly beneficial because fixed-price contracts entail simply completing a task, and have little incentive for freelancers to do more work to provide additional quality.

 

Not every client wants to do every type of work using hourly contracts. I understand that. But I regard it as a fair, equitable, simple contract model.

resultsassoc
Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
3 of 30

The freelancer's incentive is milestone completion, which occurs when the client accepts the work, not when the freelancer submits it. Clients are free to refuse to fund escrow; in my case, I never require it of my clients.

 

Why something taking twelve hours to complete is worth more than the same result requiring ten hours is beyond my understanding. Hourly contracts are indeed more advantageous to freelancers, especially those who are slow or lazy. One can achieve far higher margins, though, on fixed price agreements, which is why I prefer them. With a fixed-price contract, risk of cost over-run is transferred to me, along with the benefit of cost savings.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
4 of 30

Preston is a massively successful Upwork consultant. His profile indicates stats that are superlative. His penchant for marketing himself is remarkable.  When he makes recommendations, I believe they are very good to listen to.

jimmy-johns
Active Member
James Dean J Member Since: Oct 3, 2019
5 of 30

I can't believe anyone would think that there is a "one size fits all" answer for this. Are some hourly employees possibly lazy and slow? I would say Yes. Are some hourly employees working very hard? I would also say Yes.

I also believe that some people that post jobs come very prepared and some post jobs that are one sentence with no details. When jobs have little input, I like hourly contracts. Those types of clients come back with change after change after change (which makes milestones hard to negotiate for a price/time). 
Sometimes when you ask for detail AFTER you've made a proposal they say things like "do your best" or "I trust you", but many times this just means they haven't thought about it...until they see something. 
TLDR. There is a "lazy" mode on both sides and not a particular type of contract is the best for every scenario.
Do I think the interface should be easier for you to switch between one mode and the other type? YES, but don't throw so many stones in your glass house when you are asking for something to improve your laziness.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 30

James Dean J wrote:

I can't believe anyone would think that there is a "one size fits all" answer for this. Are some hourly employees possibly lazy and slow? I would say Yes. Are some hourly employees working very hard? I would also say Yes.

I also believe that some people that post jobs come very prepared and some post jobs that are one sentence with no details. When jobs have little input, I like hourly contracts. Those types of clients come back with change after change after change (which makes milestones hard to negotiate for a price/time). 
Sometimes when you ask for detail AFTER you've made a proposal they say things like "do your best" or "I trust you", but many times this just means they haven't thought about it...until they see something. 
TLDR. There is a "lazy" mode on both sides and not a particular type of contract is the best for every scenario.
Do I think the interface should be easier for you to switch between one mode and the other type? YES, but don't throw so many stones in your glass house when you are asking for something to improve your laziness.


Thank you. I guess I just need to stick to reddit to describe what I'm thinking about the OP. 🤬🤬🤬🤬

a_lipsey
Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
7 of 30

Jennifer M wrote:

James Dean J wrote:

I can't believe anyone would think that there is a "one size fits all" answer for this. Are some hourly employees possibly lazy and slow? I would say Yes. Are some hourly employees working very hard? I would also say Yes.

I also believe that some people that post jobs come very prepared and some post jobs that are one sentence with no details. When jobs have little input, I like hourly contracts. Those types of clients come back with change after change after change (which makes milestones hard to negotiate for a price/time). 
Sometimes when you ask for detail AFTER you've made a proposal they say things like "do your best" or "I trust you", but many times this just means they haven't thought about it...until they see something. 
TLDR. There is a "lazy" mode on both sides and not a particular type of contract is the best for every scenario.
Do I think the interface should be easier for you to switch between one mode and the other type? YES, but don't throw so many stones in your glass house when you are asking for something to improve your laziness.


Thank you. I guess I just need to stick to reddit to describe what I'm thinking about the OP. 🤬🤬🤬🤬


Part of me wants to annoint you my savior for introducing me to reddit, and part of me wants to crucify you. 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 30

Amanda L wrote:


Part of me wants to annoint you my savior for introducing me to reddit, and part of me wants to crucify you. 


lol it's such a time sink. OT: Tracker is the one thing that keeps me off of it while I work.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
9 of 30

Interesting note.  I agree with you mostly.  I love your biting writing style.  You have played in the big games outside, where people are not so very sensitive.

 

"Fixed price contracts transfer risk of cost-overrun...."  Many out here trend toward fixed fee contractors, which amazes me, but that is another topic. 

Ex-Booz.  I am a former partner in a 600-personal consultancy we built from 18.  I loved your note. It glowed with Big Three mindset.

It would perhaps be interesting to get to know one another.  I clearly would view you as my Snr. It would be an honor to get to know you. Perhaps you will send me a private email to establish a dialog. Also, sometimes I get consulting engagements that are a bit strong for my skills.  A relationship would allow me to bring you in as business strategy expert and I have no problem bringing in the massive 16" cannons when I know I have a rifle in comparison.

That related.   You understand Upwork is as enterprise-class SaaS/Big Data system as they come.  I hail from enterprise IT -- my thumb-in-the-wind estimate is that it would cost $250,000 or more to implement your suggestion.  That's just IT cost.  Retraining of all support agents, changes in help documentation -- even small tweaks have ripple effects in EIT that can be massive.

This is a fine forum for bringing attention to problems.  If this is truly a beehive you want to kick: write up a 1-pager.  Booz-class, and mention in the intro you are such  Get on a chat line with contractor support.  Ask the chat agent to receive your information sheet and forward it to the head of Upwork IT.  You can probably find his name in Google somewhere.  Just remember.  You are suggesting to that EVP he spend $250,000 and really upset the customer support director.

That was fun. I loved reading your note. I am your Jr. in professional consulting.  Seven years on Upwork, 72 projects, more than 2500 hours billed, 100% JSS, thirty four major deliverables in my portfolio. You would be my Jr. in terms of Upwork delivery.

I know a potential mentor and ally when I see one. I have skills to share in return.

resultsassoc
Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
10 of 30

About ten years ago I knew my time was getting short. I offered to share with then-Elance my insight into a highly-lucrative freelancing market, large client spend-directing. This differs from strategic sourcing in that it focuses mostly on very expensive services. The market in the U.S. alone is more than $50B per year. I found everything from airline pilots and prison designers to attorneys and business executives, typically engaging a firm (e.g., Architectural & Engineering) to undertake a series of projects. As it often involves selecting a firm, it isn't quite head hunting.

 

I was told that they knew what they were doing, and it was easy for an outsider to come up with off-the-wall random ideas, but they were the experts, so my input was not welcome. I left that industry about a year later because it is a young person's game, and 40 hours a week on airplanes wasn't appealing. So, I see no point in putting together a memo. After all, any input from me would be just a random off-the-wall idea.

 

Sending you a PM.

TOP SOLUTION AUTHORS
TOP KUDOED MEMBERS