A freelancer has requested that I release a milestone to for the contract as they said the work was almost done. The design that they created wasn't what I was looking for and I didn't feel the right progress was being made in the end.
I decided to end the contract having paid the upfront fee, should I be paying the milestone for the next bit even though it wasn't fully completed?
The EASIEST and FASTEST thing or you to do is to release all money in escrow to the freelancer and the contract.
There is NOTHING THAT A FREELANCER CAN DO ABOUT IT if you do that.
If you simply release all money in escrow and close the contract, then you can immediately end all communications with the freelancer and focus only on the top-performing freelancers on your team.
If you want to release LESS money to the freelancer than is in escrow (including if you want to release nothing at all), then you may EDIT the dollar amount and release less. But if you do so, then the freelancer will be asked to approve or reject your request to refund money back to you.
This IS an option. It simply isn't the fastest option.
If you are interested in doing that, then for best results, you should talk to the freelancer directly and ask him if you can close out the contract with a negotiated lower payment. That way there will be no surprises for anybody. He will be expecting to see the lower amount and he will approve it.
From a business perspective, my thoughts on this topic when I work with fixed-price contracts can be summarized:
- I do not set up fixed-price contracts with any expectation that I will ever get escrow money back
- I do not assume that ever freelance will work out and provide work that I can use in my project
- I do not fund escrow amounts with freelancers I am not familiar with for amounts that I can't afford to lose
- I am not a mentor or coach for freelancers; if I don't like their work, I'm just going to end things and work with others
- It is probably less time-consuming and less expensive to just release escrow funds to underperforming freelancers than to take the time and effort to pay them less in order to make sure they get paid precisely what they deserve
Was the contract hourly or fixed price? If it is fixed price, then you have the power to either not release the milestone until you are satisfied with the work, or release the milestone with a lesser payment amount that you deem fair.
I personally currently have this issue with one of my contracts, so I'm exercising this option.