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Why is my Job success score so low when I only received one review which was 5 stars?



I've just noticed that my profile is now showing a job success score, but I can't understand why the score is so low at 87%?


Just to give an overview of my profile:

-I have only one job completed on my profile and the contractor gave me a 5 stars review.

-I have three jobs in progress, two of which have been long term lasting for the past 2 or 3 months.

-A month ago or so I came across a client who hired me for a job, but then he kept changing his mind about the kind of work he wanted me to do and at one point paused the contract. After not hearing from him for a while I asked him to close the contract. To note that I didn't do any work for that job. So the contract was closed with 0 hours worked.


Do you have any idea of why my score is only at 87% then?


Could it be because the person who closed that contract at 0 hours gave me bad private feedback? That would be very unfair as I haven't done any actual work for him and I was always very polite in my communication with him even when he was the one being flaky (all this could be proved as all of our communication was on Upwork).


Job success score is important and I don't want this to reflect badly on my profile when I have never received a bad review from a client I work for.

Community Member

Yes, it's most likely the zero-pay contract. They seem to have an impact regardless of the feedback and with only one other closed contract it's going to be outsized.

Community Member

I believe that contracts that close with no money paid count against you.  Plus, as you are new, each contract counts a lot.  The more contracts you close, the less each counts. Your score will go up as you complete more jobs.  Actually, 87% is quite good.

Community Member

Thank you for the replies. This seems really unfair because it wasn't my fault at all that the contract was closed with 0 hours, it was the client who asked me not to log any hours as his business was having issues and he couldn't continue with the project at the time. I could easily prove this too.

Jeanette, it is what it is.  Don't fret about it and keep doing great work.  This will eventually be a very small blip in your career.


The best way to avoid these going forward is to never accept a contract until you have what you need to start work on it. For hourly ones, that can be just billing 10 minutes for prep work.

That's good advice. In this case, we already agreed on what I was going to do and I was ready to start the work, but the client paused the contract before I could log any time. When the contract was paused there wasn't anything I could do really.

Jeanette, unfair or not, closed contracts with no money earned do count against JSS, and so does the private feedback left on it. The client in this case may even have resented being asked by you to close it. However, what I find VERY unusual is that you would even have a JSS, after just one contract with feedback. Normally it takes 4 or more from at least 3 different clients. But if it’s any consolation, I think the chances are great that your JSS will increase once one of your in progress contracts closes.
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

I appreciate everyone's point of view. For me saying that this is unfair is not me stomping my feet and being a brat, is about the fact that Upwork takes a hefty percentage of freelancers' earning, they offer a service and we contribute to the platform so we should be "protected" as much as clients are. Having your Job success score lowered when you had done nothing wrong as a freelancer is not ok. Many clients wouldn't even hire a freelancer with less than 90% Job success score so this will impact my work and opportunities of being hired. I would absolutely take it without a word if this was my fault, but it isn't so I think it's fair for me to voice what I think it's not a fair treatment.

Hello,  I just recevied my JSS and it feel me down as I got 57% just, how this and I recevied 5 stars in most of my jobs and 4.85 stars in one job, please I need clarification? 

Mariem A wrote:

Hello,  I just recevied my JSS and it feel me down as I got 57% just, how this and I recevied 5 stars in most of my jobs and 4.85 stars in one job, please I need clarification? 


Job success score is based on private feedback from clients, not what appears on your profile job history. 

Jeanette, what you are describing is a well known problem with Upwork. Many freelancers, including experienced ones, have complained about how client feedback affects their JSS. While it is true that it´s the private feedback that truly counts in the calculation of JSS, the fact that Upwork has made the algorithm on which this metric is based unscrutable and unaccountable is troubling.


Upwork says it has no leverage as it also can´t see the private feedback clients leave for freelancers, which is probably true and might be ok if we make a very generous assumption that all clients always leave perfectly truthful and objective feedback. However, this is simply not always the case. Good freelancers who for one reason or another end up with a lousy client who leaves poor private feedback, but into which they have no visibility and can´t get an explanation - and therefore cannot know what they should work on to improve in the future - see their JSS drop. This may or may not affect their chances to attrach high-quality clients in the future, but over time and over many cases like this, it is plausible that at least *some* competent freelancers who do good work but whose JSS dropped due to an unreasonable client see their chances to get new contracts diminished.  What's ironic is that not only is this a missed opportunity for them, but also for Upwork to get commissions on work that otherwise may have taken place (or taken place at a higher rate, or led to a more satisfied client, or led to a repeat client, etc). 


Long story short, Upwork's JSS algorithm is the classic definition of a "black box" - nobody can explain how it works, yet it has significant power to affect a key metric by which freelancers are evaluated by prospective clients, and therefore affect their earning power in at least some cases. As far as I can tell though, the company does not think this is something that needs reflection or fixing. 

I don't really know some logic here. Today my job success rate is available but 69%. But I can't find where my mistake was. I have all 5 stars.


Hi Chayan,


Thank you for your message. Job Success Scores reflect a wide range of factors such as public and private feedback, long-term contracts, and repeat ones. You can monitor your Job Success Score on your My Stats page. Please see the following link for more info about what affects your score.


Thank you


Community Member


it is incredible but I have good communicaction and I did a good job for some clients. It is totally impossible that one of them gave me a negative private feedback. Despite of that my JSS goes down and down. Every time one of those good clients who were very happy with my work closes the contract, I am penalized and I lose around 5 % of my JSS. Some weeks ago I was 100 %. And only had a 3 stars rating. Rest of many, only 5 stars. And I am sure the last ones did not send a bad feedback.  Is is a problem if the client sets no new milestones and you ask to close the contract? I have some clients who just stay there for more than a year without new milestones... Now I have fear of new strange downrating.


You don't have "many" ratings, you have 10, and out of those, I see a 2-star review, a 4-star review and a 3-star review - that's three clients out of ten who were less than happy with your work. Your JSS isn't based on stars anyway, but clients who give bad public ratings will usually give even worse private ratings.

HI,  thank you for your answer.  But there are things that make no sense.  I have 11 ratings (55 stars maximum) and from those ones I lost only 6 stars, total 49 out of 55 (it would be around 90 JSS..)and I have around 70 JSS and goes down every time a happy client closes the contract... I understand about worse private ratings. OK but these last 2 clients were super happy with me. And one of them have even told me private that he gave me the best result private (I have a good relation with that person...) as well and my JSS again went down from 80 to 70 JSS. I dont know...

Thank you for your reply

It isn't about the stars, at all. It's about the private feedback. Not what the client told you, but the feedback that they left in private. You'll never know what it was so it's best not to dwell on it too much.

Community Member

Let me tell you a thing that I came to know yesterday from my coach there is public feedback as well as private feedback. Explore the features of private feedback from the Upwork helpdesk.

Community Member

I understand, but even so, it is strange sometimes. I tell you that it happens that there is a client that I know well and  even personally... I made a great effort with his work and helped him a lot. And I still have good relation with this person out of Upwork. He can even show me that did not say anything negative in his private rating and my JSS went down. It seems that there are periods when whatever you do, it will be not good rated. Or it gives that impression. Anyway it is ok. Upwork has its rules. Accepted and I go on. 

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