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babzward
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Unreasonable but high promising client

I have one client (who I have referenced in a previous post) on another platform, who consistently demands high volumes of work on a short deadline, despite being reminded of my other commitments as well as my "regular business hours". I had originally contracted "about five hours a week", with the possibility for additional work if my schedule allowed. Currently I am sitting at 5.5 hours with this client and he is insisting that I do 50 150-word pieces for him, today. Based on my estimates, it would take me roughly an hour for every ten pieces, and I have many other works to do today (including redoing something for another client who neglected to mention the full specifications of the assignment, and therefore rejected the entirety of the first three articles I submitted... But that's another story entirely.)

 

However, the client with high demands, if I am not being taken advantage of, is promising me about double what my highest-paying other clients are. (I was told that he couldn't do milestone payments, but would instead pay based on my hours, at the end of the week, and have so far received no compensation for the work I have done for him.)

 

For the product descriptions he is currently requesting, I offered to complete 10 today, with the possibility of doing more if I finish my other commitments with sufficient hours left in my work availability for the day. (This is the same client that is responsible for me setting business hours in the first place after he demanded that I begin work for him around midnight.) Do I have the right to refuse additional hours until proof of payment is obtained? Also, do I have sufficient grounds to release him as a client if he does not pay in a timely fashion? This guy is a total jerk, but if he pays what he's promising, it would be worth it financially for me to pick up extra work from him.

- Barbara Herrera -
44 REPLIES 44


@Preston H wrote:

LOTS AND LOTS of golden advice can be found here in this thread, thanks to Petra.... Newbie contractors who read this can find a lot here that they can apply to their own profiles, even if their name isn't "Barbara."


 I wholeheartedly agree! Petra is a saint and she has probably saved me a ton of future headaches in regards to clients who aren't worth my time.

- Barbara Herrera -


@Petra R wrote:
$ 12 in a regular job and $ 12 in freelancing is not the same. You get no paid holiday, no benefits, no office, no work tools, no nothing.

And taxes.  That's the big one you left out.  When I first started out I transitioned from a W2 contractor to a 1099 contractor and the agency I was going through at the time thought they could pull a fast one on a newbie by keeping my rate low. But I'd done all the math, and I demanded double my "regular" price.  I got it.

 


@Darrin O wrote:

@Petra R wrote:
$ 12 in a regular job and $ 12 in freelancing is not the same. You get no paid holiday, no benefits, no office, no work tools, no nothing.

And taxes.  That's the big one you left out.  When I first started out I transitioned from a W2 contractor to a 1099 contractor and the agency I was going through at the time thought they could pull a fast one on a newbie by keeping my rate low. But I'd done all the math, and I demanded double my "regular" price.  I got it.

 


I was used as a 1099 contractor for my previous job; I had the right to refuse any individual assignment, although I took pretty much everything they threw my way. No benefits, and I was only paid for actual time on location - although they did supply all materials and food, and I didn't "sign out" for meal periods. Officially I still work for them, but since moving 3 hours away (and not having the ability to work remotely) I haven't accepted any recent work.

 

How would you suggest requesting/demanding higher pay from clients? What success rate do you think it has for lower-value listings, that is, ones with an average bid of under $10 per hour? Do you think I would be taken seriously and have any luck at the position if I request the $14 an hour that Petra recommended I place on my profile, or should I modify my bids in order to fit the average bid? (Keeping all of my proposals aimed at contracts I can afford to work, of course.)

- Barbara Herrera -


@Barbara W wrote:
How would you suggest requesting/demanding higher pay from clients? What success rate do you think it has for lower-value listings, that is, ones with an average bid of under $10 per hour? Do you think I would be taken seriously and have any luck at the position if I request the $14 an hour that Petra recommended I place on my profile, or should I modify my bids in order to fit the average bid? (Keeping all of my proposals aimed at contracts I can afford to work, of course.)

The answer comes down to why, specifically, you're here on Upwork and what value you can provide to the client.  Whether it's for $10/hour or $100/hour, all that matters is if the market that is here is the same market you serve.  Price your skills at what they're worth, and if Upwork isn't bringing in the level of clients you want, look elsewhere.  So, yeah, there's likely to be fewer jobs to be had if you go up to $14 or $24 or whatever, but are you here for quantity or quality?

 

And keep in mind that the rate on your profile is just a number.  To me, it represents the level of professional service I provide, and I have earned more than what I list off Upwork, but Upwork itself hasn't really come close to filling my dance card.  For as long as I'm here, though, that's the level of serice I'm providing, even if I do it for half the listed rate.  So what's the value you're going to provide?  Never mind what others are bidding; you're here for you.

 

There are jobs at all levels.

 

The content mill assembly belt stuff, where clients just want "articles" spat out by the dozen to sell for cheap while paying next to nothing are the bulk.

 

You CAN NOT compete meaningfully in that area because it is flooded with cheap labour providers who compete on price. So don't even bother. Those clients could not pay more than they do even if they wanted to because they can't sell the stuff at a profit then.

 

It's not "writing" either.

 

You need to look for the juicy ones, the clients who need real writing done, and for them you're actually cheap, possibly too cheap.

 

My last fixed rate writing gig worked out at over $ 0.10 a word (that was to turn a user experience which was provided in bullet points into a proper article which will be published in a magazine) and my last hourly one was at $ 30 an hour (that involved a small translation but "kind of not really," just a summary of a text which took 10 minutes of the 2 hours I worked) That latter one was funny actually because the client wanted one thing and in my proposal I told him what he thinks he wants is not what he needs, what he needs is something different, why it's what he needs, and howI can do it. That job posting was also set to $ (want the lowest priced freelancer) and he still hired me despite the fact that others were bidding well under $ 10

 

The good gigs are out there, just don't waste your connects on the bottom feeder clients because there you get into a race to the bottom with the bottom feeder freelancers and they will beat you because you just can't sink as far as they do.

 

You want to swim up to the nice clear waters, where the big fish swim. There are less of them, but the water is clear and the rewards are there. There are less people bidding, and the clients will naturally favour (in most cases) a US (or UK / Australia etc) based native English speaker.