My 'spider senses' are tingling with a potential employer. His English is clearly not good, which may be the crux of the problem, but it seems he is giving me very little info but asking a lot of questions about me. He also wants to communicate outside of Upwork via private email. He is unverified and has not hired previously.
Although hiring a professional writer (with no real info about the job given), he is asking if I have any other knowledge or expertise in other fields and services. A few other questions that just just don't sit 100%.
I can't put my finger on it, but something just feels a bit weird! Perhaps just being overly cautious, but wondered if there were any scams or issues with this that I should be aware of?
I've put a sample of the conversation below....
"I checked out your profile .I feel it good .
I have some bulk projects and some own business plans for which I need your expertise service ....
So lets start this with business chat about payments and my plans......."
At this stage it could be anything. Someone who is new and does not understand how anything works, or a possible scam.
make sure you don't give out any info such as bank accounts or anything, don't do any work until he has a verified payment method and you're hired, and don't (obviously) accept payment outside of Upwork.
I don't see any problem with communicating outside the platform as such.
This may well turn out not to be genuine, but personally I'd go on a little just to check where it goes out of curiousity if nothing else...
I actually don't think there is that much risk in agreeing to work for an unfamiliar, new client using an hourly rate.
Make sure you don't agree to the contract until you know for certain you can do at least 10 minutes of work.
Agree to the contract. Do at least ten minutes of work. Then you won't find yourself in Job Success Score trouble due to the client suddenly closing the contract without you doing any work.
Hypothetically speaking (and NOT in reference to your current prospective client):
Once you've done a little bit of work, you can begin sending it to the client. See how they respond. If they communicate with you in a professional way and don't make bizarre, inappropriate demands, then you're probably fine. If you find they're not somebody you want to work with, you can close the contract yourself. Even if the client surprises you by being an ogre and giving you a bad review, the reviews are weighted based on how much time was spent, how much you were paid. Because you did so little work for him before realizing he is a nutcase, it won't actually hurt your job success score that much.
Having said that, FIXED-PRICE CONTRACTS with new, unfamiliar CAN be risky. So you need to start small. Don't agree to a fixed-price contract which will take you more than a couple hours to do, or no more than about $150.00 worth of work.
And don't agree to a multiple-milestone contract. Accept a contract with one milestone, submit the work, and have the client close the contract. See how the client pays you. See how the client reviews you. If everything is fine, feel free to do more work for the client, using successively bigger contracts.
The client needs to earn your trust.
If you submit finished work and the client asks you do to add a bunch of things or revise it a bunch, then that's a deal breaker. The client can NOT be trusted to work with fixed-price contracts. Hourly contracts only.
If you submit work and the client tries to avoid paying you, or asks to pay you less than you originally agreed to, then that means no more fixed-price contracts with that client.
If the client doesn't appreciate your work and gives you a bad review, it means you are not the right contractor that the client is looking for. You will not agree to do any more work for that client. Wish him well in finding the right contractor who better fits his needs.
Make sure you are very clear in what your bid includes. He most likely needs work beyond the scope of the original post and adjust your rate accordingly when he starts in about all "business plans" and "bulk projects" he has for you.
Listen to your spidey sense.
"bulk projects" means I'm a lame farmer or SEO who will pay you $1 for articles so I can spam the internet.
Anything with the word "bulk" in a writing description is junk work.
@Elizabeth M wrote:
My 'spider senses' are tingling with a potential employer. His English is clearly not good […].
I always avoid working with clients that lack English fluency, because that doesn't assure me that he'll be able to even clearly describe his requirements. In the end, if clients are not able to communicate clearly freelancers may have to pay the bill...
My 'spider senses' are tingling with a potential employer.
Mine are tingling when you say 'employer'.
Small thing, but try to get used to saying 'client'. Took me a while to get out of the 'employee' mindset but it can be done.
Other than that, go with your gut. It doesn't lie.
> His English is clearly not good
This is totally normal. We forget often that most people in the world are not native english. Green flag, not a problem for me. Look at the ideas, not at the format.
> it seems he is giving me very little info but asking a lot of questions about me.
Maybe is unsecure about the process. I'll say that is normal as long the questions do not make you to feel uncomrfortable. yellow flag.
> He also wants to communicate outside of Upwork via private email.
If we forget about people gathering mails online for advertising purposes, Is only a problem if he wants to pay you outside upwork. To communicate with you by mail is totally normal IMHO. Green flag.
> He is unverified and has not hired previously.
hum... there is a first time for everybody, I'm undecided about yellow or green.
> Although hiring a professional writer he is asking if I have any other knowledge or expertise in other fields and services.
This is probably good. It seem interested. Maybe he wants a long-term collaboration.
> with no real info about the job given
This is bad, understandable in a newbie, but bad. First red flag. Do not apply for a job if they don't say clearly what they want you to do. Secrecy is a bad flag normally.
> I have some bulk projects and some own business plans for which I need your expertise service ....
So lets start this with business chat about payments and my plans......."
I must admit that this sounds a little suspicious.
I will suggest you to ask a lot of questions. You clearly need some answers before to go further or quit. If he is not clear about what he wants from you, my advice would be to just cut the conversation an move on.
I like your post Pablo.
I don't care if someone's English isn't perfect, as long as we can understand each other. I have a client who's first language is not English and we do just fine.
He was a new client too, unverified. That didn't bother me either. Luckily I had great advice and was told to say I couldn't work until he was verified. He understood and was verified quickly.
Like you, asking about other projects didn't sit well with me. Clients are allowed to ask about other projects. But, if there is any trickery involved, then telling the client that those projects would have to be started separately might put the kibosh on that.
If someone feels hesitant about a potential client and still works for them, that could turn out to be a negative experience because of lack of trust. Sometimes, going with your intuition is the best thing a person can do for themselves .