Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wanna quit your job and become Upwork freelancer? Do not do that!

Almost every day I receive job offers on my 5 star odesk (upwork) profile. I do not search anything manually, clients contacting me directly. But most of these job offers are really garbage.

Real example. Couple days ago some R.D. from United States contacted me. She wanted to do website scrape.

Ok, after doing quick website check, job seems straightforward. Huge list of categories/subcategories and product listings. Nothing unusual.

The next part is to set the price for the job. Usually I would say: Ok, data scrape will cost you $75. Then client approves/declines. But this time I decided to give chance my client decide how much she would like to pay. So I simply said:

"Just send me an offer with price that is ok for you."

Then she asks me if I can also deliver script. I said that I can deliver script as well, but it would cost more expensive, since I need to clean the code, make it user friendly and easy to run. And what is the result? How much do you think she evaluated my work? Below is her answer:

"Since this site is so big I was thinking having the script itself might make sense rather than reaching out each time for every random vertical - otherwise I'd have to ping you again. We have a dev team here and I studied CS, so I don't need it to be beautiful code, just functional. 😄

But for right now, let's start with the data for the food one. I had been paying $3/hr for manual data entry. Would $15 be fair to you for this category?"


Great. She had been paying $3/hr for manual copy paste for a person without any programming skills. My skills she evaluates the same - $3/hr. Even my profile states $15 per hour. Or probably she's thinking that's possible to develop script, scrape the data and deliver functional code to her just in 1 hour at $15? No further discussion.

Where these all people are from, who want me to work for $1-$3/hr? Guys, this is not serious and not funny. I'm saying NO to free labor!


P.S. I'm not saying that all of the clients on odesk are like described above. But this is just very common example of what I've experienced so far.

Note to client: If the task is so easy and you even studied CS and have dev team, why should you waste your time searching, interviewing and hiring programmer on odesk? Wouldn't it faster to write so "easy" script by yourself? It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes for such professional like you.

30 comments:

  1. Very recognizable. I work on freelancer.com but I decided to just put a hourly rate of 40$/h to scare off people who are looking for a cheap job. In my offer I always start out with: "If you are looking for someone unschooled and cheap who will most likely waste your time, please select one of my colleages". It works, resulting in 3 long term projects that pay really well, with people who respect my work and respect the time I put in it. they know that I don't need to learn on the job and that I am just doing their job for what they're paying me for.

    It is possible to make a good living out of this, just learn to discard these kind of people. Trigger words like "should be easy" or "quick job" or "easy job" should indicate it's a job better suited for someone else.

    Cheers!

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    1. thanks for the tips, will definitely try it :)

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  2. What makes you think that the data entry "guy/girl" is Indian?

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    1. Hi! Just updated post with answer at the bottom.

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    2. Experience should be respected but seriously, I'm offended. . Still, you forget about the fact, low wage rate is not the only reason for the recruit. Think about all the employment are made also my high quality deliverance.

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  3. Hmmm. You do data scrapping jobs and complain about the platform and Indians. That's funny. I code e-commerce sites and web portals, and I am earning more that most Americans. Maybe upwork and freelancing is not for you. You'd probably be better off hacking some sites. Most Russians are just low level hacker punks anyways.

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  4. It's hard for a developer itself doing estimates, why would you expect your customer being able to estimate a job better than you do? It's normal that if you ask them to set the price they will try start the bargain from a low price. *You* know your rate and the time you need to complete a job, and *you* set the price. Lastly I would suggest you to be respectful of your colleagues on the market, with their different skills level. If you are better then them and you can prove it, the customers will be glad to pay what you ask. If you can't prove that you are better than the rest out there, then it's no use to rant based on others people nationality.

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    1. I'm just sick of explaining customers why to pay me higher than my colleagues on the market. I just want to write good code and want to have enough money for living, not just $3 per hour. I think freelance is not for me, trying to get back to full time work.

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    2. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. Why does a .Lamborghini Huracan Spyder cost a little more than a Ford Escape? I guess Lamborghini does a better job of marketing and therefore commands a higher price tag.

      I think the "send me an offer of a fair price" is an interesting experiment and very telling. And to those who might I wonder, I don't think you have it out for Filipinos or Indians.

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  5. Hi! What do you said about Indians was absolutely correct.

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  6. Hello. I am currently an engineer at Freelancer.com, I came across this post of yours while reading HN. While you have many spot-on observations about the nature of freelancing, we at Freelancer are also trying to remedy those shortcomings by building a better platform for all our current and future users. We would love to have you onboard as one of those engineers seeing as how you are currently in the Philippines. We have a crack engineering team in Manila and it would be great if you can consider joining us as seeing your posts, you are someone that can be awesome for us.

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    1. Hi Paulo! Thanks for the invite. I will check your freelance website as well as careers if you have position for python developers (or juniors like me) :)

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    2. https://www.freelancer.com/careers

      Looking forward to working with you to create a better world for freelancers!

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  7. Funny how many of the Indian people here are offended. Just because a comment is stereotypical, doesn't mean it's not accurate or hold merit. Stereotypes exist for a reason, and that reason is large amounts of data to support that stereotype.

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  8. Before you quit freelancing out of frustration please read http://www.freshbooks.com/breaking-the-time-barrier and Victor Boc's book "How to Solve All Your Money Problems Forever" and you'll make plenty of money freelancing.

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  9. So you gave one example as condemnation of freelancing. I've found plenty of well-paying gigs (from high-profile startups even) on eLance (now UpWork, I believe), WeWorkRemotely, et al. Things aren't just handed to you on a silver platter; you actually have to dig and work hard to find good clients who understand the value of quality work.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. So, what's your name, Ivan or Sergey?

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    1. Sergey is my real name, Ivan just nick on odesk (registered long time ago just for try out and now it's difficult to change - need submit papers)

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    2. You'd better submit the docs as you can end up banned or suspended. Recovering from this thing is not a pleasant experience.

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  12. I'd be remiss if I didn't offer some words of encouragement. Don't give up. I was in a really bad place after I left my last job, my own personal economic crisis, and I was desperate for work. I was indiscriminate and took a bunch of losers. You have to resist and wait for pocket aces, so to speak--only then is it worth bidding. You want longer-term relationships with clients who can send you a continuous stream of work. Avoid the one-offs. It's a losing battle because the constant search for new clients becomes exhausting.

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    1. I understand that need to find long term clients, but with data scraping most of them need just one-two scrapes. For long term it's better to develop something like django websites.

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  13. I think I once offered you a job on upwork but you rejected it straight away before we start discussing...hahahaha... let me know if you still interested :)

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    1. Hi! Sorry probably I was just busy, you can contact me now if you need website scrape. Order details are here: http://codeinpython.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_23.html

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  14. Hi there -- I work at Upwork and found the post and comments really interesting. I agree with many of the comments here -- marketplaces that make it free for people to register as freelancers or free for clients to post, are going to end with varying levels of quality. A profile with hourly rate of $15/hr is not screaming "only high quality clients, please!". Freelancers with hourly rates above $30/hr are able to send a stronger signal to show that they do quality work. Also, if your skill in your profile is "data scraping", yeah -- you will be compared with people who do that at a lower rate.

    Also, I agree with Gregory - you should fix your name or you may get suspended from the platform.

    Finally, let us know if you try freelancer.com and how the experience there compares with Upwork. We always like to learn from our community on how we can make the platform the best place possible for freelancers to thrive.

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    1. I don't see anything wrong with data scraping. There are different types of scraping, if this is just ecommerce shop, you can even scrape it manually copy pasting to excel. But it also could be a big portal with millions records, that requires to use some advanced techniques to get the data. And also sometimes you need to deliver robust tool that will work 24 hours every day.

      Anyway thanks for the tips and suggestions.

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