🐈 Community
» Forums » Freelancers » Tired of clients posting $5 per hour jobs in ...
Page options
Community Member

Tired of clients posting $5 per hour jobs in the "Expert" category!

Upwork, please fix this! I don't appreciate my time being wasted when I'm browing "Expert" level jobs and read an interesting post only to find out the client is paying an insulting low rate! Clients be honest and post your ad in the correct category! I don't high-caliber freelancers are going to succumb to such tactics and agree to a low rate just because it happened to be in the "Expert" category! Very dismayed.

Community Member



Sometimes clients use "placeholder rates" in their job offers. Unless they specifically say that they won't pay more than $5/hour, I wouldn't take their budget too seriously. You should check out their history on the platform as well... it usually tells you what the average hourly rate is they pay freelancers. If it's low, then you know not to waste your time on them.

The posts I'm complaining about clearly aren't using these rates as placeholders. I've seen those and they make it clear the rate is a placeholder (and have done that myself for my clients). I am referring to those who post a gleaming ad in the "Expert" category, then somewhere deep in the post they indicate a rate of $5 or even less. THIS is a timewaster, since I'm only perusing ads in my target ("Expert") category and not the Entry Level category. I can post an example here if you like, but I prefer for Upwork to deal with the clients directly (and have already sent in an email). 

No need -- I've see those before and I totally get what you are saying.


It's frustrating but I don't think Upwork can do anything about it. Clients always want the best quality for nothing but then again doesn't everybody?


I just skim through the posts, if I see any like that I just give them a thumbs down for "unrealistic expecations" or "budget too low" and move on to the next post. 


Community Member

Martha, in a global marketplace that covers everything from data entry to CPA services and high-end programming, there's no rational way Upwork could set a bottom line. Some experts are happy to work for the rates you find outrageously low, while others would consider your rates outrageously low. 


Possibly, with a huge investment of time and resources, Upwork could create a poorly-matched algorithm that would get in the way of some freelancers while making things marginally better for others, but why? As freelancers, we've opted to run our own businesses and make our own decisions. It's hard to imagine that you'd expect Craigslist or your local newspaper to vet job ads and make a subjective determination as to whether the pay rate offered matched the language used in the posting.

Actually I think there could be a very simple fix to this if Upwork would put a little time into it.  All they have to do is add a new filter to the Search tools, with a set of check boxes allowing you to filter out jobs based on hourly rate.

Incidentally, I totally agree with your frustration, Martha.  Especially when that descriptor for "$$$ Expert Level" reads: I am willing to pay higher rates for the most experienced freelancers.

@Dave C wrote:

Actually I think there could be a very simple fix to this if Upwork would put a little time into it.  All they have to do is add a new filter to the Search tools, with a set of check boxes allowing you to filter out jobs based on hourly rate.

Except, of course, that clients don't post hourly rates when they post hourly jobs, so there would be nothing to filter (which is a good thing, since clients so often lack any kind of real idea of how much the work they need done will cost). And, on a fixed price job, the dollar value means nothing, since the project could take three minutes or 273 hours. 


Community Member

As a UX designer who does information architecture, I see this as a major IA fail in Upwork's search features.


The problem is that "Entry Level", "Intermediate", and "Expert" are subjective terms that take on very different meanings / price levels not only across cultures, but even within the same city and the same country.


I use the thumbs down feature on about 80-90% of all job postings in my feed just to keep my feed clear of jobs I shouldn't apply for.  But a few weeks ago, I actually flagged an Outsourcely-style "this is full-time, $640 per month" job posting which was listed as "Expert".


Why?  The client was in Canada, and I looked up minimum wages in Canada.  They were paying sub-minimum wage in their jurisdiction and classifying their job as Expert!


Sorry, if I can get a job flipping burgers and make more money than I can on your contract, your contract isn't even Entry Level.  It's in the realm of bad Mechanical Turk requesters!


The heart of fixing this problem is to remove the subjectivity from the categories - while also taking into account what kind of work is wanted in a job posting.  It could be asking clients a series of questions around "What do you think is a price you wouldn't mind paying for a (designer/developer/writer/etc.)?  Is it closer to $10 an hour, $50 an hour, $100 an hour, or $500 an hour?"  And then ask them a similar question about their overall project budget - with a legitimate "I don't know" option as an answer.


Those numbers would have to be different based on what kind of job it is.  No one should be paying $100+ per hour for unskilled work, and great designers and developers don't (or shouldn't) charge $10 per hour for long.


I actually think Upwork's corporate side is a dream client for me. 🙂

David, I think the ideal solution would be for Upwork to eliminate the totally irrelevant and inaccurate levels and leave freelancers and clients to interact in the same way they would if they encountered one another through any other channel.


There's no payment level tag when you get a referral from a past colleague, or read a posting on Craigslist, or...well, pretty much begin any professional interaction.

Community Member

I don't know why, but this never bothers me. This doesn't mean UW "shouldn't" fix it, but I pretty much just look past such jobs, no matter where they show up. I get that some clients want "best value" (I think that's how it's stated?) and will sacrifice quality. Or maybe they'll somehow get a one-off of a published author-level writer deciding she wants to charge clients half of minimum wage for her work. If so, more power to them and I'm not being snotty, I mean that. 🙂


In general the quality of jobs I apply to aren't $5/hour jobs and I'm not very bothered that they show up here, there and everywhere. Some clients will always look for the lowest rates as their own bottom line. Some clients are starting out and literally have just pennies to spend, but want to "get something" out there for a sort of free-for-all SEO reach. Some clients are used to working with people from locales where $5 is a nice chunk of change. 


So, yes, I get that it's a bit of a pain to keep seeing it, but until UW somehow resolves this it's not an effort (IMO) to just keep scrolling down. I do hear you, OP.

Community Member

At some point,  you develop the ability to scan the posts until you get to the real price. Most who are offering low fees and want to hide that fact will bury that fact at about 1/4 from the bottom of the post. 

Community Member

I agree with you it can be frustrating, since you waste time browsing through jobs and reading descriptions to find out at the bottom of the post that the rate was $6 to $8 an hour, or that they wanted an expert PM for $ 10 an hour. 


Although I do believe everyone has the right to bid what they want/need, etc. and that ranges vary per type of work (it's not the same a UX designer in the expert category than a Data Entry in the expert category) I do believe there is a fix: and that is implementing minimun bids per level.


When the client posts a job he could see a small note under the category (Entry Level: from $X to $ X - Intermediate Starting at $X to X, etc.) and when the freelancer places a bid it should have a minimum value alowed.


Of course this would only work for hourly jobs, there are too many reasons why it can't and shouldn't be done with fixed price. But I do believe it would be great for the community to do it with hourly jobs. 


It would also encourage the client to hire within the category they selected.

Latest Articles
Upcoming Events
Feb 13
Feb 28
Upwork Community Virtual Hour
Community Hour English
Mar 28
Upwork Virtual Community Hour
Community Hour English
Learning Paths