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Upwork and the way it allows clients to choose their budget price for work in certain industries.

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to bring this discussion to light. I am a resume writer specifically. So in my job feed I mostly look for jobs around resume writing, content writing, LinkedIn writing etc. 

But what really grinds my gears of what I see a lot of clients doing is under budgetting a job in such a way that of course no one will write a proposal for it. An example of what I mean:

- The client writes a job posting. They want their Resume written, 3 cover letters written for different jobs and their LinkedIn rewritten so they are more likely to get the jobs they're after. It needs to be ATS keyword ranked and delivered in 5 days. The Budget they offer: $10.00

The job itself is fine. The budget is not. How does Upwork allow clients to write an absolutely ridiculous budget for an industry like resume writing? I would think that Upwork would have a "tip" in the job posting saying freelancers in this industry usually get paid a budget between "$XX and $XXX" and doesn't allow for the client to put in an amount under a certain limit. 

Of course I have the choice of not writing a proposal for the jobs like this and I don't. But I'd love a standard set where they outline how much freelancers are paid on average per industry and set a range for clients to work out what they are willing to spend. Then from here let the freelancers make bids. 

What are other peoples thoughts about this?

Retired Team Member
Retired Team Member

Hi Ridge,


Thanks for your question. At Upwork, the terms of any contract, including the rate, are for clients and freelancers to decide upon together. Any freelancer who is not satisfied with the rate offered can negotiate a higher rate or find a project they consider to be more suitable.
You can also utilize our search filters to search for jobs that are a better fit for yourself. Thank you.

~ Goran



For a variety of reasons - the client has no idea what they should expect to pay for certain types of work, the client is fishing for low-priced proposals but knows quality freelancers will usually charge a more reasonable price, etc. - many freelancers have said on this board they pay no attention to clients' posted budgets. These freelancers first decide a project is a great fit for their skills and then submit proposals priced at the level they require for doing the work.


I have had clients tell me their stated budget is just a placeholder; they have no idea what a reasonable price would be. And when I respond to an invitation or submit a proposal with a budget lower than I would consider accepting, I include with my proposal a list of all of the elements of the project - I suspect I never hear back from many of these potential clients because they know they are not going to get quality work on all items in the list at the price they have said they're willing to pay.


Because there is a steady flow of so many reasonably-priced Upwork projects in my specialty, I usually reject very low-priced invitations to submit proposals and don't screen for new projects at the low end of the pricing spectrum.


I agree this may be a placeholder as the client has no idea what freelancers would charge for the project. Some may bid $10 but many will go higher. In addition to the budget amount take a look at the freelancer classification - is he looking for an entry-level, intermediate, or expert freelancer?  If entry-level, he isn't going to spend much. Intermediate - probably will pay on-average for a freelancer in this field. For an expert, assume client will pay for quality work from someone with years of experience. 

Robin's right.


And if I'm on the fence whether a proposal for a new client's project is worth spending time on, I look at the client's projects history. If they have historically paid their freelancers well below the level I require, I assume their project budgets are so low that they are not worth my time and effort to make a proposal.


Hi Ridge, 


Glad to see another Kiwi on here. Aside from the point mentioned, that the ten bucks is often just a placeholder, how would the average or median market price(s) for a résumé or linkedin profile be calculated? Given that this is an international marketplace, average/median market prices would include what freelancers charge in very low cost-of-living countries. For all we know, ten dollars would be the median market price when you average out what is charged by every freelancer in every country in the world. Same goes for any type of freelance job. Most freelancers from high cost-of-living countries, like NZ, would be disadvantaged by the publication of this information. 



Of course I have the choice of not writing a proposal for the jobs like this and I don't. But I'd love a standard set where they outline how much freelancers are paid on average per industry and set a range for clients to work out what they are willing to spend. Then from here let the freelancers make bids. 

What are other peoples thoughts about this?

I don't think that Upwork should get involved with pricing at all.  I don't care what the average is, I don't want my clients to care what the average is, and I don't want Upwork implying a known price for any kind of service.  I think the idea of an average for a service is way, way, way too broad.  Just because I do X and  you do X does not mean we provide the same service.  


What I think you want is a short cut to shift clients into categories of useful to you, not useful to you and you implicitly know that the amount they want from their projects isn't good enough.  What you have to realize is that clients, by and large, want things for the cheapest amount they can get but good clients know that what they want might not come cheap.  So this tells you the number they put doesn't mean anything, in fact the worst kind of client, to my mind, is one that thinks they know what a thing will cost.  I also guarantee that a good client isn't putting what the most they are willing to pay, the number is just something they threw out there.


There is no shortcut, you have to read between the lines of what the client wants and then convince them that you are the best person to provide it no matter what the cost.  Will that fail...a lot?  Sure, but you don't need every client, you only need a few.


There are probably freelancers who will do the work for $10. And, then, the client will realize that $10 writing isn't that great. At best, they will be hiring someone who is skilled but new to freelancing and doesn't know their worth. At worst, they will be hiring someone who does know their worth and knows that they aren't skilled.

Resume writing is a saturated field and many entrants have really devalued the work. I am stunned at the number of people who think paying $50 for a resume is going to get them something unique that stands out. A good resume should cost several hundred dollars. I can't imagine a writer who charges less than $100 is spending much time getting to know their client or his or her individual strengths. 

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