Thinking of scaling up your business and hiring a freelancer on Upwork to outsource some of your tasks? Here are the top 3 things you need to know about being a client in Upwork.
1. Your Job Post Will Define Who Applies
The first thing you need to know is how to write a great job post that attracts highly skilled freelancers. A lot of times, highly skilled freelancers will pick apart low-quality job posts. You don’t want to be one of those.
So as a client, if you don’t write a good job post, you’re not going to attract the sort of skill that you want.
You also want to make sure that you set clear expectations. If you don’t know what you should charge, be clear about that. Sometimes, skilled freelancers will respond and let you know “if you’re looking for someone with these many years of experience, or that attains these sorts of results, this is what you can expect to pay.”
Either way, you can research the general rates before posting your job. You want to be able to communicate that you’re willing to pay for value or if your budget is low. With a low budget you need to be willing to work with someone who’s just getting started. Don’t be a terrible client and demand $100/hour quality work from somebody to whom you’re only able to pay $20/hour.
2. Test The Waters Before You Make a Decision
After you have a couple of proposals on your job post, you should conduct a thorough interview, including a phone call. I think hearing someone’s voice, letting them hear yours, and getting a feel for how they act, lets you know that they’re a “real person.”
Remember, you can interview as many people as you want to.
I also recommend having a test project – a paid test project, because you can’t ask for free work on Upwork. Just don’t do it – they’ll report you. You can choose something small, a week or even less if you’re paying by the hour. You could do three hours in the first week, to see if you like working with that person.
Even if you don’t get on well together, you probably had a positive experience. Thankfully, you haven’t committed to a long term involvement with the freelancer you tested.
Some people try to get away with tricking freelancers to do free work. If they want a tagline, they’ll say “send me five taglines and whoever writes the best one, I’ll pay them.” That’s still an unpaid test project because it takes a lot of effort, research, and creativity in order to produce a great tagline.
Instead, I would say “describe your morning cup of coffee in three sentences or less.” I feel like most people would be comfortable with that. Not to mention, it’s something completely random.
3. Keep It on Upwork
Another thing to keep in mind as an Upwork client is to never offer to pay outside of the platform. The freelancer can also report you for this and your account will be shut down. If this is something that you do as a scammer, then no big deal. Obviously, scammers don’t care – they’ll just make a new account. If you’re a legitimate client who doesn’t know better, Upwork will still shut down your account. That’s obviously going to cause some trouble for you.
Make sure you read the Terms of Service because that’s what you agreed to when you signed up. You won’t be able to tell Upwork that you didn’t know because they’ll just say “Well, you agreed to our Terms of Service.”
Something to note if you decide to go with a fixed-price project: once you set up a milestone for that project, Upwork will take that money and hold it in escrow. This means it won’t be paid to the freelancer right away. You will only release that payment once they submit their work and you approve of it.
You have two weeks to release payment or ask for changes. If you don’t do anything, Upwork will release it automatically. If you see they submitted their work and you’re not happy with it, hit the “request changes” button. That stops the two-week timer and keeps your funds from being automatically released.
This is a way for you to feel confident in working with a freelance web designer in Italy. You don’t know that person, you only met them on Upwork. That money in escrow is their assurance that you’re going to pay them for their work. However, you can also rest assured that they won’t be paid unless they provide the quality of work that you both agreed upon.
Ready to Use Upwork as a Client?
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide. Following these top 3 points will help you avoid most of the issues clients experience on Upwork. Upwork isn’t (just) for bargain basement contractor deals. You get what you pay for after all. Upwork can be a great connector for you to freelancers around the world. Learn how to use the platform, and knock those projects off of your to-do list.
Looking to outsource your blogging to a freelancer? Make sure you arm them with our Blogging for Business Toolkit to see the most return on your investment!