The New Upwork Policy And Mr. X’s Thoughts On It

Hello! My name is Abdullah X and when I’m not editing my blog site, making new stories that I hope to publish, or just generally hanging out around the house, I enjoy a bit of freelancing on the site known as Upwork (previously known as oDesk).

Now, it should be understood that I’ve been with that site for, what, five months now? So, it should be known that I haven’t accrued over $10,000 with a singular client. With this in mind, how unfair is it really to assign new freelancers a 20% cut from their assignments? You heard right, my fellow freelancing writers. Did you get paid $100 for your 10,000-word story? Great! Oh, they took about $20? Well, hey… look on the bright side! At least… you’re not… uh…

See what I mean? No bright side, at least for short-term freelancers. Long-term workers can party all night as this doesn’t really affect them as badly if they have a long-term client that they’ve been working with. It still sucks for them if they start a new project, however, which this policy is seeming to discourage now. What motive do I have to push for a less than a $500.01 one-time project now? Not much.

A lot of people, such as me, who haven’t been working on this site for several years are going to get screwed and get forced to basically “grind” for months with lower pay to achieve a status that may allow me to achieve near ideal pay. Let me copy a quote from an email that I, along with thousands of other people, received from the rather foolish CEO of Upwork:

“Starting in June, we will change our fee structure so that the more business you do with your clients on Upwork, the more earnings you keep.”

First thought?

“Oh, man! Hell yeah! I get to keep more of my money?” 

“Upwork will charge a sliding fee based on your lifetime billings with each client (across all hourly and fixed-price contracts you’ve ever had with them on Upwork). These are the fees you will pay:

  • 20% for the first $500 you bill your client across all contracts
  • 10% for total billings with your client between $500.01 and $10,000
  • 5% for total billings with your client that exceed $10,000
  • For example, if you begin an hourly or fixed-price contract with a new client for $600, you’ll be billed 20% on the first $500 and 10% on the remaining $100.”

“Wait… wha-what?” (Not joking, I actually had to look this over several times to see whether or not this was some sick scam)


Upwork will charge a sliding fee based on your over time, as a percentage of what the client is billed:

Pricing Structure

When the new pricing takes effect, we’ll honor the previous 10% fee for all active contracts, unless you’ve billed over $10,000 with a client, in which case we’ll automatically lower your fee to 5%. On all new contracts, the new pricing will apply.

“These changes will reward long-term work and cover the costs of small projects, which are more expensive for us to support. I realize these are significant changes(Do you? Do you really? Because, boy, I really don’t think you do), but I believe they’ll allow us to deliver you a higher level of service and opportunity in the future.”

Now, I want to be the first to state that I understand why they’re doing this. I really, really do. In the end, they’re running a business, of course. Policies change, contracts are changed, etc. but when the people who are getting screwed over are the people who may seek to may freelancing their source of income, that’s not right. It’s just not, I’m sorry.

Now, I see two-three outcomes from this disaster:

  1. Freelancers say “Screw this” and get out of dodge, which, from the social outcry, is already taking place. I’m in the process of considering it myself. This will just cause them to lose a bit of new talent and business as quite a bit of their freelancers do short-term work.
  2. Clients will end up paying bigger rates anyway as freelancers won’t be willing to work with the pay they originally offer so clients will lose more with short-term project.
  3. Clients and freelancers will just work around the site’s policy and find some other mode or site for their business in general.

So, basically, all-in-all, this was a rather stupid idea. Like I said, I understand it from a business standpoint but business decisions have the bad habit of caring about profit and not the people, who are getting the backhand of this pimp slap so, in the end, I can’t really say it’s undeserved on Upwork’s part so far as the backlash that they’re getting. Sorry, Upwork, loved ya, but I don’t know how long I’m staying if this goes through. Like so many, this might be the last you’ll see of me. You’re NOT unique and I’m not going to put up with you like you are. It’s been fun but buh-bye.


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