As the biggest freelance platform around, with around three million jobs posted per year, for which 12 million registered freelancers compete, Upwork provides a myriad of opportunities for a freelancer to find exciting and well-paid projects and earn money. Sounds like a pretty cushy deal, doesn’t it? In fact, you would never do something that could jeopardize this, right? Well, we are all human, after all, and as such make mistakes. Some of those mistakes can lead to an Upwork suspension.
What does an Upwork suspension mean, how can you avoid getting one, what can lead to it and finally, how to get “unsuspended”? These are just some of the questions I want to tackle in this post and, hopefully, help anyone with this problem. And trust me, for a freelancer, this is a problem.
Why Does an Upwork Suspension Happen?
You have to know them to beat them. The best way to deal with an Upwork suspension is to avoid it happening altogether. That means, you should know what violations Upwork sees as grounds for suspensions and account holds. Knowing what these are will, of course, help you to stay clear of them and keep your reputation on Upwork intact.
Here are a few freelance violations that can lead to an Upwork suspension:
- Identity Uncertainty
Always provide accurate information about yourself. Clients trust freelancers with important information regarding their businesses and if they are unable to positively verify who you are, you might be seen as a candidate for an account hold. Take a good look at your profile on the platform. Do you have a clear photo of yourself? This is a good way for clients to know who they are working with and it will be easier for them to trust you, rather than someone with one of those default silhouettes.
- Using the wrong account type
Whether you are using Upwork to find work as a freelancer or to hire contractors as a client, you should always use the same login information.
- Sharing your account with someone else
Your account is your own. Allowing someone else to use it will lead to an Upwork suspension. Even if you no longer intend to use that account, don’t just give it to someone else. If you really want to help them start freelancing, sit with them and help them create a good Upwork profile and bid on a few job offers.
- Sharing your contact info
All correspondence between Upwork freelancers and clients should be done on the platform itself. Don’t share your email, Skype username, phone number or any other contact information on your Upwork profile. Also, if a potential client asks for any of these, decline to give them and tell them that you only work through Upwork with new clients.
- Receiving payments outside of Upwork
Upwork has two payment systems – fixed and hourly – and would very much like you to use them. Mostly because they have a vested interest (they take a 20% cut from your payment), but also because they are genuinely looking to protect freelancers as much as possible from situations where a client might decide not to pay them. What’s really important to pay attention here as a freelancer is whether the client’s profile is verified or not. Look for the green check mark, If it’s not gray, that means Upwork can’t guarantee that this client will pay you for your work.
- Pressuring clients to give you a good feedback
A good feedback is the foundation upon which your freelance success is based on Upwork. But it has to be earned and the client has to believe they have a good reason to give you one. You should not try to pressure clients into giving you a positive feedback by withholding work or in any other way. This is a serious offense and a huge reason for an Upwork suspension. Instead, provide quality work and politely ask clients to give you a feedback if they are satisfied with your services.
Do I really need to say anything about this one?
How to Avoid an Upwork Suspension?
Upwork is very clear on what it does and what it doesn’t allow. The best way to prevent an Upwork suspension is to altogether avoid doing any of the things I mentioned above. Read Upwork’s Terms of Service and Freelance Violations and you’ll know what not to do.
Most of these violations are pretty clear or at least should be. However, freelancers, especially those new to Upwork, do make mistakes (whether by misinterpreting them or by thinking they don’t apply to them), which then leads to a very sudden and for a freelancer, very painful Upwork suspension. So, if you are new to Upwork, don’t play around and do things by-the-rules to avoid an account hold. Upwork can be pretty unforgiving and doesn’t really distinguish between those who violate its terms knowingly and those who do it unknowingly.
If, for whatever reason, you do get an Upwork suspension, and you think it was a wrong decision by Upwork, try presenting your case in the Upwork Community. Although generally Upwork has a strict policy of permanently disabling violating accounts, there’s still a chance (as small as it is) that they might reinstate yours. If not, that’s that and you should try some other freelance website.
So yes, the best way to avoid an Upwork suspension is to follow the rules of the site.
Have you had an experience like this yourself? How did you deal with an Upwork suspension? Let everyone know in the comments below.