Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Free Samples VS Portoflio Building

Ace Contributor
Kendra C Member Since: Feb 18, 2019
1 of 8

Hello Upworkers,

Got a response on a proposal, and my heart sank when I realized they were asking for a free sample.

Here's a snippet of the client response:

**edited for Community Guidelines**

They go on to give specs on what they are looking for and conclude with **edited for Community Guidelines**


My first thought is "if my art style isn't what they want, why are they bothering?"

This is the second time someone has asked me for free work in 2 weeks. Does upwork not make it clear that it is against the terms of service? or is it just burried in there somewhere?


I do not like spending my time creating free work for a promise of possible payment maybe someday in the future.


It might be beneficial to me to create something in the style they are looking for but not to their specs. Then I can add it to my portfolio, and they can't use it for anything. Also I think it would be fun to do something in this style (this is for illustration btw). I have the time right now, so why not?



Also, I've been reading other threads on similar topics, but any advice on how to respond is very welcome.

Thanks fellow freelancers =)

Ace Contributor
Julie J Member Since: Jan 28, 2019
2 of 8

You can advise them that Upwork TOS does not allow Freelancers to offer free work but they can create fixed price job for $25, $50, $100? Whatever you would normally charge for the design and you would be happy to create the test artwork for them.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 8

re: **edited for Community Guidelines**

"...My first thought is "if my art style isn't what they want, why are they bothering?"



What a strange request.


I have hired dozens of artists on Upwork. I don't ask for cover letters. I don't ask questions. I don't look at their profile overview text. I simply look at their portfolios.


That's how one hires an artist.

And a professional, ethical client, does not ask artist to work for free no matter how many artists they might need to "try out" to see if the artist is a good fit for their project. A client is NEVER required to use the work they commision from an artist. But they are required to pay for it.

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
4 of 8

Kendra, I understand your frustration, but for the benefit of other freelancers who may unwittingly be taken in by these clients, flag such jobs as inappropriate due to asking for free work, and there's a chance Upwork will throw the book at them.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
5 of 8

I'm wondering if there's a middle ground in there somewhere. I don't advocate offering free samples, but why not suggest that they could pay for an hour or so of your time to come up with some preliminary roughs or sketches? This is time development time you would normally be billing for anyways.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
6 of 8

Hi Kendra, 


I was unable to locate the client that you referred to on your post. As John has suggested, please flag the client's job post, and message as inappropriate so that the team can review and take the necessary actions. 

I would recommend that you read up on the Safety First! section of the freelancer resources we have compiled, and these tips for avoiding questionable jobs, for help getting started, and for more information about working safely through Upwork. Hopefully, these will help you identify red flags in the future. 

Ace Contributor
Kendra C Member Since: Feb 18, 2019
7 of 8

I just reported the message. Will the client see that I did that?

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
8 of 8

Hi Kendra, 


Your client will not see that you reported his message, or his job post. You, as the freelancer who reported the client, will also not be mentioned when the team reaches out to the client.