To be clear, Upwork is starting to feel like Fiverr...where cheap clients find cheap freelancers, but that's fine. Let the cheap ones work together. Although the cheap rate and cheap budget clients are killing the expert level, high cost freelancers on Upwork. Its always been that way in this field, but there has to be a way to filter out the cheap ones in my feed. I know the answer is just dont bid on those low budget jobs. That isnt enough though. Here is what I have found...
I click on a project labeled expert, the budget is a little lower than what I would charge, but the project is appealing. I talk with the client and come to find out they have no idea what the budget is for their project. That's the issue. Some clients simply do not know what to post as their fixed rate budget. How can Upwork provide pricing guidance to those clients looking for expert freelancers so the client can actually get expert freelancers to bid. I scroll past soooooo many projects that are appealing to me, but the budget is way too low. Come to find out the client has no idea what to post for a fixed rate budget sometimes. I have found this to be the case with many of my clients once I have talked with them. If I wouldn't have bid and had a meeting to explain my costs and services, I wouldn't be working with them today. How many more clients are doing the same thing? The problem is there are connects being used and proposals being sent to the same type of unbalanced projects with hope that the client does have a bigger budget, and sometimes not. Its exhausting filtering independently. Some clients just dont know what is appropriate to ask for in their post, so they dont get the accurate talent to help them.
I do not give the clients proposed budgets a lot of thought really. On hourly jobs I sometimes point out that my rate is probably higher if I think it makes sense from a pitch prospective, proactively addressing a concern. I have no problems with clients wanting to keep costs down, being frugal almost always makes sense. There are clients that are outright cheap, I am sure, and what I bid on their projects made them ignore me, and we are both happier because of it.
I once replied to a project on here where someone was asking to do something that was technologically unsound at best (I think it was outright impossible). They had received over 30 responses and judging by averages most of them were right around what they were looking for.
I came in about 10x what they were asking for. I said point blank that if no one in those 30 responses has brought up how what you want to do is a problem then we should talk. We did, the guy said he wanted to hire me but couldn't justify the expense to the money guys. He did go back and change his ad to basically do what I told him he would need to.
To me, this goes to the spirit of what I am trying to do. I am trying to help people. If I see something I know I can help on, that they could use me, I give them a proposal, even if I am pretty sure they would never choose me. I even offer to talk to them even if they know that can't afford to hire me. Do I think, as I did with that one guy, they would find way better value hiring me than someone who is just cheaper but cannot even see the pitfalls in what they are trying to do...sure, but I can't help what people's priorities and budgets are.
I just move on to the next.