I initiated a contract with a freelancer in April for a large project with an agreed upon timeline and total price. They have gone over the timeline but I have been very patient while also emphasizing the importance of completing the project. They have now billed for the total amount and are asking for more money to complete the project! The whole reason we had an agreement and I hired them was because of the timeline and agreed upon price. I let them know that I am not able to provide additional compensation and that the project needs to be completed per the specs at the agreed upon price and I have not heard back yet. What recourse do I have if they do not complete the project as agreed to?
Don't put the needs of this freelancer ahead of your own needs.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST.
If you like this freelancer's work and want to continue working with this freelancer, then do so!
If you don't want to continue working with this freelancer, then stop working with this freelancer.
If you think that this freelancer is useful to have on the team, but is asking for too much money, then keep the freelancer on the team, but assign most of the work to other team members.
You could hire new people if necessary, and keep this freelancer on as a consultant, who gets paid a little bit, but most of the work is done by other people.
The important thing is YOUR PROJECT.
re: "What recourse do I have if they do not complete the project as agreed to?"
If you hired a freelancer using an hourly contract, then you paid a freelancer for the time that she spent working on the project. You did NOT pay for a specific outcome.
If you like the work that the freelancer did for you, then you should continue to keep the freelancer on the project.
If you are concerned about cost, but you only hired one freelancer, then you made a mistake.
If you are concerned about cost, then you should have hired multiple freelancers.
If you don't hire multiple freelancers, then you have no way of comparing.
Hire multiple freelancers: Jane, Betsy, and Bob.
Bob does great work, but he is very expensive.
Jane does terrible work, but she is cheap.
Betsy does work that is quite good, and she is much more affordable than Bob.
So what do you do?
Keep Bob and Betsy on the project. Assign most work to Betsy. When you're in a crunch or need something only the top person can do, then assign that to Bob.
re: "What recourse do I have if they do not complete the project as agreed to?"
It is not this freelancer's responsibility to ensure that the project is completed.
It is not Upwork's responsibility.
It is not the client's responsibility.
It is the responsibility of the PROJECT MANAGER to ensure that the project is completed.
Well this is a tough call.
In terms of percentages how much more they are askin? 5%, 10%, 20% ....... Are you happy with their work? How important is their work to YOU? Have you paid any money to them? Can you walk away?
It is possible that they are crooks and are blackmailing you.
It is also possible that they are genuine and they under estimated the work. Also, did you change requirements? Did you ask for too many revisions?
Can you reach some sort of compromise? and leave real feedback on their performance.
Later in my life I learned never to do fixed price contracts. Too many variables and they smell trouble.
Hi Prashant, they have not committed to when they can complete the job, so it's not clear how much more money this could add up to. I am happy with the work, except for the fact that it is currently 4 weeks past the committed completion date with more work to go. I've paid over 10K. If I want to walk away, they'd have to turn over all the site and app development they've done so far and I'd have to hire someone new to finish it.
I think they underestimated the work, but that is not my fault. We clearly reviewed requirements of the project up front and they agreed to do all the work for a set price. This is a startup and it was critical that I knew what the total cost would be upfront for the project. This is just bad, unethical business...when you agree to do a job for a price, you complete that job for that price. You don't go back later and ask for more money.
I'm hoping they will honor their written contract, otherwise we'll need to make a compromise. They will definitely be getting real feedback. And I'll definitely rethink going this route again.
You need to decide which is more important to you:
- defending this freelancer's karma
- completing the project
You can not pursue both goals.
Are you willing to sacrifice this feeelancer's karma and this freelancer's honor in order to achieve your own business goals?
Are you willing to continue paying this freelancer to complete this project, even though doing so will destroy his honor and bring about bad karma on him?
I think that you should be willing to make that sacrifice.
But only YOU can make that decision.
re: "I think they underestimated the work, but that is not my fault."
You are correct.
It is not your fault.
But it is your problem.
You are the one who wants the project completed.
And you are the one who must to decide whether or not to continue paying this freelancer to do more work on the project.
So what is the point of the freelancers giving a contract proposal, offering to do X work for X amount of money? In business when you agree to do X work for X amount of money, that is what you are responsible for. They were very clear upfront that it would be X price and it would be no more. But now here we are, with them asking for more money and in breach of their contract. I'm only asking for what THEY agreed to.
re: "So what is the point of the freelancers giving a contract proposal, offering to do X work for X amount of money?"
That is what fixed-price contracts are for.
If you hired a freelancer using an HOURLY contract, and the freelancer gave you a proposal offering to do X work for X amount of money, then you were MIXING elements of the fixed-price contract model with an hourly contract.
Upwork does NOT SUPPORT mixing.
If you hire "Jacoby" to "draw a picture of 10 people sitting at a table" for a sum of $100..
And then the artist draws the picture, but logs enough time that it cost you $200...
Then this freelancer has NOT broken any Upwork rules.
Upwork will require you to pay $200.
re: "They were very clear upfront that it would be X price and it would be no more. But now here we are, with them asking for more money and in breach of their contract. I'm only asking for what THEY agreed to."
That doesn't count. Sorry.
Ericka: Prashant has provided excellent advice, and also asked you some questions.
I have tried to answer your questions and provide you with real-world information.
Neither of us work for Upwork. But everybody in this thread wants you to succeed in accomplishing your goals.
If you have ANY questions at all, feel free to ask. People here in the Forum can hep you move forward toward achieving your goals, even if there have been some bumps in the road due the learning curve associated with being a new user of the Upwork system.
re: "In business when you agree to do X work for X amount of money, that is what you are responsible for."
But that is a philosophy.
And it is a belief.
It may be 100% true.
But none of that matters.
Because Upwork has policies in place that state that if you hire a freelancer with an hourly contract, you are paying for the time that the freelancer logs. You are not paying for a specific deliverable.
That's the policy. That is the rule.
The rule is enforced by the server-side software.
Your credit card is AUTOMATICALLY charged for the amount of time that the freelancer logged, REGARDLESS of whether or not the project was completed within an estimated amount of time.
Upwork's software is just zeros and ones. It doesn't have any understanding whatsoever if what it is doing is "fair" or not. The source code doesn't know if what is happening complies with your idea of proper business practices.
If you wanted to hire a freelancer to complete a specific task for a specific amount of money, you should have used a fixed-price contract. Upwork literally provides that OTHER contract type to accomplish that very purpose.
I am very sorry if you are disappointed right now by what happened. But this is how the system works.
So basically even though they agreed, in a written contract that they would complete X work for X price, they had me set it up as an hourly contract. I had initially set it up as a fixed amount contract but they said it should be set up as hourly with the cap. We literally did the math of how many hours they'd be billing each week for the total cost and they stated NUMEROUS times that it would be no more then the total price. I shared this with the talent recruiter to ensure this was acceptable and legit and she agreed it was fine. But now I'm thinking they purposely set it up this way so they could do this.
I am happy with their work, other than the fact that it has gone over the committed timeline. And by the way, we're talking over 10K that I have PAID so far.
Everything you are talking about here is the project manager's responsibility.
It is not your responsibility.
It is not Upwork's responsibility.
It is not this freelancer's responsibility.
It is the project manager's responsibility to keep the project on schedule and on budget.
Based on everything you have said in this thread, it sounds like you have hired a freelancer who is a genuine professional and who wants to do the right thing.
If you you did not hire multiple freelancers for this project, which you should have done given its size and complexity, then you can not compare this freelancsr to other freelancers working on the project.
You can not tell us that this freelancer is worse or better, more expensive or less expensive, is fast or slow. If you only hired one freelancsr, then you can not compare.
You should deal with these matters with the project manager. If you did not hire an independent project manager, then you should either hire one or learn how to act as the project manager. I do not believe any knowledgeable, experienced project manager would have relied on a single freelancer for a project this large.
A project manager would help you minimize cost while achieve your project goals.
Hiring multiple freelancers and assigning work to the ones who provide you with the most value would help you minimize cost while achieving your project goals.
If I had been the client for this project, I would have hired at least six freelancers at the very beginning, and I probably would have ended up with about three on the permanent team, with one or two least expensive/most productive freelancers doing most of the work.
re: "So basically even though they agreed, in a written contract that they would complete X work for X price, they had me set it up as an hourly contract"
Because this turned out to be an hourly project, NOT a fixed-price contract.
The freelancer did the right thing to transition this to an hourly project. That serves your needs and goals more than a fixed-price contract would have. This is true for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that this freelancer would not have been available to work on the project had it remained a fixed-price contract.
This is what I am assuming based on what you have told us in this thread.
Unfortunately you have not yet hired additional freelancers to work on this, so it is impossible to compare.
re: "We literally did the math of how many hours they'd be billing each week for the total cost and they stated NUMEROUS times that it would be no more then the total price."
I understand that.
I sympathize with you and your position. I am on your side.
But what you're saying here: That doesn't count.
It is what I refer to as "mixing,"
Upwork doesn't support mixing.
If this is brought to the attention of Upwork employees, they will take the side of the freelancer in this matter.
Although I am 100% on your side in this, because you are the thread poster and I want to help you, I am cognizant of the fact that I am only hearing one side of this.
When we have read about similar situations (not yours of course!) we have heard from freelancers working for clients who started out with a basic set of project requirements. And then added more requirements. And then changed their mind. And so on. Working on a project using an hourly contract is a normal, equitable, profitable thing to do. But the budget-conscious client always hires multiple developers for a project this large.
Ericka, I completely agree that if this freelancer agreed to deliver for a certain budget, and you haven't made any changes to the requirements, that they should honour the agreement. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like sticking to agreements is something that they do, given that they haven't met your deadline, either. It looks like you should get them to turn over everything they've done so far, then end the contract and hire someone else. If you look at this from their perspective, they now have no incentive to complete the project - they know that you're unhappy and will give them a bad review for going overtime and over budget, and they won't be earning any additional money from you. I don't think that either you or Upwork will be able to convince them to continue working. Hire somebody new to complete the work for a fixed price.
I feel for you and understand that you feeel traped and cheated, but at this stage of the game the only choice you have is now to set up firm expectations and price and finish the project with them. Hopefully they will not come up with rediculous price tag.
It is unethetical and unprofessional behavior. (Musk offered to buy twitter and now he doesn't want to pay the price and wants to back out).
You are happy with the work. They are familiar with what they have done. If you drop them you will have to find new people and pay them too for their learning curve as well as the work. It could further delay your project.
Be selfish and put your project first.
In the overall scheme, if you had hired locally how much would you have paid. Even with the new price tag are you getting value for your money?
You feel cheated and and will have to justify new extra cost to your team. You also feel that it may reflect poorly on your competence. You will have to find new freelancer to work for the extra money and there is no guarantee that they will deliver. The new cost will also depend on how clean the code is.
I come from a background totally unrelated to web design. However, in all large capital projects all the contractors would work on time and material basis. Some of the projects had some incentive to finish them on time.
If you do decide to go with them you may want to go with fixed price model.
You wrote,"We literally did the math of how many hours they'd be billing each week for the total cost".
Am I to assume that you allowed them to bill manually? If so then it was a mistake.