Months ago a client accepted my bid for helping with mathematica software. I checked his portfolio. As a client he had a good reputation but I started to feel suspect about his portfolio of projects. He has completed projects related to Engineering, Mathematica, Data Science, Chemistry, Psychology and Nursery! I had to take the gig because at that time I needed it.

He was a difficult client from the start. Offering cheap projects, wanted to more work after a project was complete ( small details ), not paying on time, totally unaware of my area of expertise ( even unaware of all the projects in his own portfolio ), and he undervalued my work saying: "My work is easy and simple. Even I can do that. I send to you a video with it all solved". I don't want to come across this kind of client again.

My Question is: "What is it called when a freelancer merely finds clients with good paying projects and then uses outsourcing/crowdsourcing methods to find another freelancer to complete the work for less money? I think that is what this client is doing due to the really cheap projects he was offering.

I was thinking that the name was outsourcing, but there is no "scam" or cheap factor related to that inherently. Are there any phrases or definitions to define such a clients?

  • The real issue here is not how the project came to you, but that the client is devaluing your efforts and shaming you. That is what makes this client a bad client for you.
    – David R
    Aug 20, 2021 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


There's a language barrier here making it difficult to 100% understand what you may be asking. However, I think you may be referring to subcontracting or outsourcing - when someone hires other freelancers to complete work for another, undisclosed, client.


  • Bob hires Jim to complete a project for $5,000.
  • Rather than doing the work himself, Jim hires Megan to complete the project for $3,000.
  • Jim is subcontracting/outsourcing the work to Megan.
  • Bob and Megan are unaware each other exist.
  • Jim gets paid $5k by Bob, Jim then pays Megan $3k. Jim profits $2k even though he didn't actually do any of the project labor.

Jim may also be a Project Manger - someone who is in charge of finding several subcontractors to complete the overall project. In cases of a Project Manager, the client (Bob) is completely aware the Contractor (Jim) is hiring others to work. However, Bob doesn't know who Jim is hiring or have any control over who he hires - Bob just wants the work completed.

There's nothing inherently unethical or untoward about either of these situations. It's a very common practice in all businesses.

The only time things may be percieved as possibly unethical is if Jim explicitly tells Bob that he (Jim) will be completing the work himself, then he doesn't and subcontracts it. Even then it's often unsavory to the original client, but it's typically not "illegal" unless there are specific authorization licenses required to complete the work.

Example: Jim has a contracting license. He's authorized by the state to complete the work. Megan does not have a license and is not authorized by the state to complete the work. It would be illegal for Jim to hire Megan as a subcontractor to do the work. Megan must also have a authorization license if she is to do the actual labor.

  • Can you tell me me what specific part you dont understand of my question? for fix it. I understand this practic is common in the industry but is different $60 than $2k ( the ratio is : 1:5 , 3:5). I dont want that my work will be a chain or "pyramid" of projects managers subcontracting, devaluating the work and moreover being difficult clients. thk u for the terminology. Aug 20, 2021 at 0:17
  • @rubengavidia0x There are a few sentences with some grammatical errors. Too many to list in a comment. If you'd like I'll edit your question to correct what I feel needs correcting. You can always roll back if you think I'm incorrect.
    – Scott
    Aug 20, 2021 at 1:15
  • sure you can do it thank you and sorry I am not native Aug 20, 2021 at 1:19
  • @rubengavidia0x Okay, edited. Your English is good. I WAS able to figure out what you meant. It just read like a non-native English writer, that's all. You'll see my changes were relatively small. I'd also reiterate that what you are describing is not a "scam" or anything like that. You are free to turn down projects at any time if you feel you aren't paid enough. (That's the joy of freelancing.)
    – Scott
    Aug 20, 2021 at 1:37
  • @rubengavidia0x Unfortunately, this situation (pyramid) is very common and is to be expected in many places. If you want to work directly with the end user, you need to learn how to determine the situation in the bid and interview and only bid and accept projects that you are comfortable with.
    – David R
    Aug 20, 2021 at 15:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.