As a freelancer, you spend a significant amount of time bidding on jobs and interacting with potential clients. Where you decide to put your efforts sometimes depends upon which platform is bringing the highest profit jobs to you at the lowest cost to you or your company. Conversion rate is also a factor. Over-saturation is yet another to consider.
In addition to the bad taste left in the mouths of freelances and clients who loved Elance but can’t stand Upwork, here are their Top 5 common complaints with this entire transition process:
1) Expense: Your skills are finely honed. You are dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. But EXACTLY how much is this mile costing you? 10% of your gross. This is probably somewhere in 30% – 40% of your net earnings after overhead and tax expenses… if not more. Don’t forget the processing fees. In some cases, you could be paying upwards of 15% of your gross income, or up to 50% of your net depending on your business structure. Add your monthly account access and total number of bid credits you need to purchase, and that number continues to rise. Exactly WHO are you really working for here, You or Upwork?
2) Long Funds Hold Times: You have invested weeks in a project and it’s finally time to get that milestone released. The money has been sitting there, and it will continue to sit there for 6 more days until Upwork releases it to you. Elance used to make the funds available after their PAYMENT hold time. So if a milestone was funded weeks ago before you started work, when the client released, you could immediately withdraw.
3) No Feedback Protection in Cancelled Jobs: Sometimes clients and providers don’t see eye to eye and mutually agree to cancel their project. If your client requests an early cancellation with refund, then you are NOT protected from feedback. If nothing was paid to the provider or the provider refunded and cancelled a project, then no feedback could be left. It is a given something negative happened. But with Upwork? The feedback guillotine’s blade is even more finely honed in the client’s favor. Not only do they get their money back, but they can leave a big fat black eye right on your feedback out of spite, regardless if you’ve done the right thing.
4) Customer Service Hold Times & Useless Service: I personally waited for more than 14 minutes for a customer service rep to respond to my Live Chat request. This is the service they say that prefer you to use. Not only was the person I spoke with ill equipped to handle account transfer questions, but she was unable to actually DO anything other than give the same advice that is available on the site or “escalate” the issue to a supervisor. I suppose “supervisor” in this case means “a person who has the ability to actually make a decision”.
5) Hidden Applicants: So let’s say you bid on a job. And that job’s “value” according to Upwork is 2 bid credits. You have submitted and PAID for that bid to be seen by the potential client, correct? Well surprise, surprise! We recently posted a job for some minor WordPress modifications. Our staff was consumed and we didn’t want to shift anyone’s focus, so we went to Upwork to try out that new account. If you are a new provider guess what happens? Upwork buries your bid in this category called “Hidden”. They push their ‘proven’ providers. In order to see all of them, you have to “unhide” them or know to go to that “Hidden” applicant file. The connotation is naturally that the providers in this category must be someone that you don’t want to see. It is a negative reason that would set them aside from the rest of the ‘golden’ applications who are “Upwork recommended”, right? Well that’s the way it appeared to me. “Why are they HERE?”. As a client, you should keep that in mind. Go find the hidden guys. As someone who is actually paying money to be seen by the client, it’s pretty much mind blowing to me for Upwork to both take money and bury your bid.
For these reasons and MANY others, we will instead focus our attention and efforts in the direction of both established, less expensive freelance boards, as well as some new movers and shakers emerging on the the freelance scene.