How Does the Two-Way Feedback System Work on Upwork and How to Use it to Vet Your Freelance Clients

This week's video is about the two-way feedback system on Upwork and how you can make it work for you.

As a freelancer looking to start a new relationship with a client, it is beneficial for you to review the client's feedback history to get a sense for what he or she would be like to work with. Regardless of the amount of money being offered for the job, multiple poor client ratings should be seen as an early warning sign for you as a freelancer.

Bear in mind, however, that the feedback system works both ways and it is equally important for you to be fair in your assessment of a working relationship so that others may be guided by it too.


Laura here. Let's talk about the two-way feedback system on Upwork and how you can make it work for you when you have an existing relationship with a client or when you're about to start a relationship with a new one.

One of the reasons I love the two-way feedback system is because as freelancers, we get to choose the people we want to work with, and we definitely want to know ahead of time if somebody is unprofessional and difficult, right? On other websites, when you're bringing on a client, you won't know whether other people have had a problem with them until you've signed a contract or worked with them yourself. That is, unless the client has told you directly, and by now you should know how I feel about clients who come to you and say, "I've hired six other freelancers and none of them worked out." This is usually a problem with the client and not the freelancers.

Know what you're signing up for

Upwork makes that easy for you – past freelancers can leave feedback for existing Upwork clients. That means you can go and see exactly what issues, if any, a past freelancer had in working with someone. This should always be used to aid your decisions about whether or not you should even apply for the job. There have been times when I see a job post that looks great, and then I see that the client has received 2.0 or 3.75 feedback. I am immediately going to look at that full job proposal and scroll through all the feedback from their past freelancers. It tells me a lot. In those cases where a client been dinged with a low feedback score, there will usually be an instance or more where freelancers have said they never got paid, the client was difficult to work with, they changed the scope of the project midway through, etc.

Use this as a key tool for helping you decide whether you're even going to apply for the job. I don't care if the job is promising $10,000 a month in revenue. If multiple people have left negative feedback and that they've had a bad experience – run. It is not worth the money. The person has realized that they're going to have to increase the rates they're paying because they're difficult to work with, and because at that point, they've probably hired and fired multiple people to do the same thing with no result. Never worth it. Your money and your time are valuable, so only apply to jobs that seem like a great fit.

Warn other freelancers

There’s another side to this coin as well. When you work with a client on Upwork, whether you have a great or a bad experience, do your part to help future freelancers by telling them what your experience was like. And no, it's not all about helping your competition, because frankly, if a web designer, a graphic designer, or a voiceover artist had a negative experience with this client last month, they're probably going to treat me the same way as a freelance writer. Do a good job for your fellow freelancers by telling them you've had a great experience and the client is wonderful to work with, but when you've had a negative experience, let them know they should run from the opportunity.

Bear in mind that a client's going to leave you feedback as well, and you're not going to see their feedback until you have left yours for them. Choose carefully and be fair. If a client has been easy to work with, award them a strong rating for that. However, if they've been difficult to work with and it was a really bad experience for you, consider how your feedback – not just the star rating, but the words you actually write – could help future freelancers determine whether or not this is the right person for them.

I think it's my job and duty to let other people know when I've had a really negative experience. This doesn't happen often, but I don't want someone else to have to go through what I went through. For this reason, I'll take the five minutes to leave a feedback comment about what went wrong in the project, just so somebody else has the opportunity to review that in the future.

Best of luck with your career on Upwork! And remember, for more great tips on Upwork, check out my blog, and my podcast, Better Biz Academy.