Introducing Advice from an Elancer (Volume 2)e_darrellj | Feb 08, 2013
Welcome to Advice from an Elancer – a place to ask your Elance questions (through Elance’s LinkedIn page) and get them answered as thoroughly and personally as possible. My name is Dorothy D. and I have worked with Elance as a freelancer since April 2009. I have always tried to help other Elancers understand how things work and how to accomplish more. In Advice From An Elancer I will address as many questions as I can each week. In some cases, questions have been edited for clarity.
Question #1: Projects Cancelled
I sent Design and HTML/CSS and updates to my client. The client delayed their response and then client cancelled the job, who`s responsible? Another client hired me and I provided 7 - 8 design mockups. They liked 1 or 2 design concepts and then cancelled the job. What is going wrong?
Advice from an Elancer:
It would help to have a little more information about the situation, such as whether this is an hourly or fixed rate job, and how long the client waited to respond, but I’ll do my best to answer.
First and foremost, as a Freelancer, you need to carefully review the Terms before accepting a job. On an hourly job, these include the rate, the number of hours authorized per week, and the duration of the job. These also include whether Work View ™ is required and any milestones that must be met. For a fixed price job, milestones, payment terms, and any agreement documents are included.
The best way to protect yourself is to use Work View on hourly jobs, as this guarantees payment for work that is completed. For fixed jobs, do not start any work until escrow is funded, so that you know that the funds are available.
If the Client is requesting that you provide mockups before the job is awarded, NEVER do this. This is a violation of the Terms of Service for Elance. No matter what area you provide services in, you should never provide a sample or mockup using their project materials. You may provide examples of your work, but not a personalized sample using the Client’s project. This is providing free work and is not fair to you or other Freelancers.
All of this being said, if your client posted escrow or used Work View, you are entitled to payment. Call Elance to discuss this further with a representative regarding your individual situation. +1-877-435-2623
Question #2: Un-awarded Projects
Why are most of projects going un-awarded? If a freelancer loses a connect, then why not have the buyer put something at stake, so they award or cancel the project?
Advice from an Elancer:
I don’t know for certain that MOST of the jobs are un-awarded. Personally, I have 6 jobs in my workroom that have been closed for several months and were not awarded. I believe this happens for a number of reasons. Either the Client has found a freelancer elsewhere, has decided to do the job in-house, has lost interest in the job, or just doesn’t see anyone among the bidders that satisfy their need. Elance does notify these clients to cancel the projects, but more often than not, they don’t bother. Some do not even bother to read enough about the site to realize that Freelancers pay to bid on their jobs.
Not every job is listed for free. Featured jobs cost the Client $25 to post. These are more serious Clients and are more likely to follow through with hiring someone. Most postings are Basic and are posted for free. Clients may also pay a one-time $5 fee to become verified and will have a seal next to their job. This means that their means of payment have been checked and they have a credit card on file with Elance.
Honestly, this bugs me too! I have often thought that Elance should refund connects to Freelancers if jobs go un-awarded after hiring has been closed for a couple of months. It’s more the principle of the situation than the actual connects. Now that Elance has increased our connects, I think we can feel a little better about this situation.
The best advice I can give is this: Check the Client’s profile. See how often they award jobs. If they don’t award them very often, steer clear and spend your connects on something else.
Question #3: How to identify "Connect eaters"?
There are posts from clients who have spent $0,often posting their jobs in featured categories with lucrative pay ratse like "$15-20/hr" or with budget "$1000-5000", etc. but they end up not selecting any contractor. What should we do because our connects are wasted?
Advice from an Elancer:
If a job is, indeed, in the Featured category, the Client paid $25 to post it. This does seem to indicate serious intent to hire. Personally, before I bid on a job, I look at the purchase history. If they have over five jobs that are closed with no hires and no other purchase history, I don’t bid on their project. This may end up being their first purchase, but I’m not comfortable taking the chance. You have to decide for yourself. If the Client has multiple listings closed with no hires, they might not be a serious Client.
Here is another scenario. I was hired by a Client with a very high hire rate for high paying jobs. I was very excited. What I didn’t fully appreciate was the scope of the job. I had to cancel after doing the initial research. A little digging and I realized that MOST of their Freelancers hired by this Client had done the same thing! They knew that the scope was too big, the price tag was alluring, and that they would have the baseline work done so that one of their own people could finish it easily! Don’t always go by the big budget! That job could be a nightmare!
That’s enough for today. If you have questions or want to follow the conversation of other Elancers, visit the Discussion page of our LinkedIn page.