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What Is Upwork Doing About the Negative Effects of Dormant Contracts on Job Success Score?

danielmacharia
Active Member
Dan M Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
1 of 29

Upwork has put a lot of effort into the JS score and there are many merits to it. My concern is, however, with how dormant contracts affect it. If you work with a client and they suddenly go silent (especially after having paid you as this activates the feedback system), what recourse do you have to close the contract:


1. Try and beg the client, who is half a world away, to hear your pleas and close the contract.
2. Close it yourself and hope the already-unresponsive client will leave you feedback (fat chance)
3. Close the contract yourself and have it counted against your JS score.


As you can see, there aren't any options that work in favor of the contractor. They are all rigged to penalize the contractor even though the circumstances are beyond their control. I believe this platform should be democratic as each side brings value to the table; one money, the other skills. Upwork would therefore not exist without either one. To my observations. I believe:


1. Upwork should arbitrate dormant contracts to determine whether it should be marked as successfully completed or not.
2. Upwork should determine what the best way is to ensure clients wrap-up contracts. Maybe a JS score for clients as well?


I have personally suffered the consequences of closing dormant accounts, which resulted in my JSS plummeting from +90% to 65%. At which point it is near-impossible to score new work.

 

I know this issue affects many freelancers (knowingly and unknowingly) and I wish to know what Upwork is doing to make this issue more balanced and less punitive towards freelancers. 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
2 of 29

I agree that contracts without feedback should not hurt JSS.

 

However, I have no interest in paying much larger fees so that Upwork can employ a whole staff to review the tens or hundreds of thousands of contracts that are closed without feedback or left hanging open.

danielmacharia
Active Member
Dan M Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
3 of 29

Hi. I was not referring to contracts with no feedback. Those would be too many and inconsequential. I was referring to dormant contracts. Those that have maybe stayed open for 30 days without any response from the client. These must surely be far less and more manageable.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
4 of 29

@Dan M wrote:

Hi. I was not referring to contracts with no feedback. Those would be too many and inconsequential. I was referring to dormant contracts. Those that have maybe stayed open for 30 days without any response from the client. These must surely be far less and more manageable.


But, if you're not concerned about the no feedback impact, then why not just close those contracts yourself and eliminate the issue? 

danielmacharia
Active Member
Dan M Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
5 of 29

There's something else far worse than public feedback. It's the hidden feedback the client gives. The one about the reasons the job was closed, and whether they would recommend you. This is what Upwork factors in, not just the feedback score. In my case, I've only ever had a rating less than 4.5 stars only once in my six years on Upwork. That didn't seem to help my JSS when I closed all the dormant contracts. This leads me to believe Upwork cares more about the private feedback then the public feedback. It also shows any contract closed with no feedback is marked as unsuccessfully finished by default. 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
6 of 29

@Dan M wrote:

It also shows any contract closed with no feedback is marked as unsuccessfully finished by default. 


 I'm very confused now. Your issue was with open contracts. I mentioned the contracts with no feedback and you said they were not your concern. Now, you seem to be stating that the no feedback impact is the reason not to just close the contract yourself?

researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
BEST ANSWER
7 of 29

@Dan M wrote:

There's something else far worse than public feedback. It's the hidden feedback the client gives. The one about the reasons the job was closed, and whether they would recommend you. This is what Upwork factors in, not just the feedback score. In my case, I've only ever had a rating less than 4.5 stars only once in my six years on Upwork. That didn't seem to help my JSS when I closed all the dormant contracts. This leads me to believe Upwork cares more about the private feedback then the public feedback. It also shows any contract closed with no feedback is marked as unsuccessfully finished by default. 


Dan,

 

Don't close "all" the dormant contracts. In fact, don't let dormant contracts get to the number of "all"; a batch closure may indeed have a bulk (albeit indirect) impact on your JSS. Set your own schedule for following up with clients asking them to close dormant contracts (if you like), then close them yourself if you get no response. Do this like a regular housekeeping chore like dishwasing, not like a major spring cleaning.

It's well documented that private feedback trumps all other considerations. However, if you close a job, you get to give the reason: successfully completed. There is no "default." Whoever closes the contract must declare why it was closed. In the case of an unresponsive client, you're not much changing the odds of getting no feedback by closing the contract yourself. At least one contractor has reported that some percentage of his clients who fail to close will respond to his closure and his feedback with feedback of their own.

 

Best,

Michael

View solution in original post

danielmacharia
Active Member
Dan M Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
8 of 29

@Douglas Michael M wrote:

@Dan M wrote:

There's something else far worse than public feedback. It's the hidden feedback the client gives. The one about the reasons the job was closed, and whether they would recommend you. This is what Upwork factors in, not just the feedback score. In my case, I've only ever had a rating less than 4.5 stars only once in my six years on Upwork. That didn't seem to help my JSS when I closed all the dormant contracts. This leads me to believe Upwork cares more about the private feedback then the public feedback. It also shows any contract closed with no feedback is marked as unsuccessfully finished by default. 


Dan,

 

Don't close "all" the dormant contracts. In fact, don't let dormant contracts get to the number of "all"; a batch closure may indeed have a bulk (albeit indirect) impact on your JSS. Set your own schedule for following up with clients asking them to close dormant contracts (if you like), then close them yourself if you get no response. Do this like a regular housekeeping chore like dishwasing, not like a major spring cleaning.

It's well documented that private feedback trumps all other considerations. However, if you close a job, you get to give the reason: successfully completed. There is no "default." Whoever closes the contract must declare why it was closed. In the case of an unresponsive client, you're not much changing the odds of getting no feedback by closing the contract yourself. At least one contractor has reported that some percentage of his clients who fail to close will respond to his closure and his feedback with feedback of their own.

 

Best,

Michael


Thanks Michael! You've demystified a number of things for me and also shown that my mistake was doing a "spring cleaning" rather than a regular housekeeping chore. That's the sort of helpful feedback I wish Upwork Support would give instead of cookie-cutter replies. 

mandylula
Community Guru
Mandy D Member Since: Jul 29, 2013
9 of 29

I'm not sure I understand this.

 

Suppose a client does not rate at all, if we complete a job, get paid and close the contract "successfully completed" does this have a higher negative impact than leaving the job open?

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
10 of 29

This is the problem with black and white answers, because in that situation just like others it depends.

 

Is the contract open and stale for 6 months but you just got a no feedback contract finished? Then I'd say the stale contract is probably not helping and is worse than the no feedback contract. Is the opened contract ongoing where the client keeps adding milestones or you're charging more hours and you just got a no feedback contract? Then the open contract is helping and the no feedback contract is the not great thing... but probably neutralized by the recurring contract.

 

Everything is relative.

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