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Client Not Communicating

Active Member
Jennifer P Member Since: Jun 9, 2017
1 of 16

I have a client that I have been working on a logo with for a while- he has been responsive, friendly- happy overall. After our last revisions, he was going to show his team in December and then he stopped responding. I forgot to have him put in his last milestone payment. He finally said he would and did last week. But he hasn't said when he will return with feedback or final resolution with the project. I find this incredably rude and frustrating to drag on a project with no communication. It has been 1 month 1/2 with no info. I am looking for any advice from other designers that have been in this situation. How did you move the project forward or towards finality?

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
2 of 16

How it is supposed to work:

- client funds milestone

- FL performs associated work and submits to client using the 'submit work' button (or whatever it's called, I haven't worked a fixed-rate contract in a while)

- client has 14 days to review, request revisions, and/or approve payment

- at end of 14 days, if client has not asked for revisions, payment is automatic

 

It sounds like you didn't submit the work through teh system, or you would've been paid by now. 

 

BTW, yes, it is rude for the client to ghost you like that. But it happens, and sometimes there is a good reason--the client's life became overly complicated for reasons that have nothing to do with you or your project. That is why you need to always submit the work through the proper mechanism, so you get paid without unnecessary angst.

 

Good luck!

Active Member
Jennifer P Member Since: Jun 9, 2017
3 of 16

Hi Phyllis,

 

Thanks so much for weighing in! Actually this is less about payment and more about ghosting and any tips how to motivate that client to come back and continue/or wrap it up. I understand people have stuff going on, I just always had the courtesy to send a quick note to let my client know if there is a delay with a rough time frame. 

 

Thanks!!

Active Member
Jennifer P Member Since: Jun 9, 2017
4 of 16
Actually also rethinking what you said about payment. We are down to the last milestone where we are supposed to be complete. We are probably not since his note is to discuss. Am I in the right to request that final milestone released since it has been a month 1/2 or do I have to sit here and wait for him to come around?
Community Guru
Heaven H Member Since: Nov 24, 2015
5 of 16

If you've completed the work the milestone was supposed to cover, request the payment. If you've completed only part of it, request partial payment. I wouldn't wait around any longer given that the client has been unresponsive for so long.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
6 of 16

IMO you are not obligated to wait indefinitely. I would request payment. Is the client UW-savvy so he'll realize there is a 14day clock on revisions, or is there some likelihood he'll keep snoozing for another month and then want revisions (after contract has been closed)? I would assume you were prepared to revise, so in your shoes I would think that through and decide ahead of time what i'm prepared to do later, to send him away happy--without letting it drag on until Easter. Just in case he pops up next month.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 16

re: "and any tips how to motivate that client to come back and continue/or wrap it up."

 

I understand your concerns, but you really should re-think fixed-price contracts. So that what you are talking about is irrelevent.

 

For me, "motivating clients to come back and continue" is completely irrelevent.

 

Because if I accept a FIXED-PRICE CONTRACT, then it means I can do the work and submit it without further interaction with the client. If that's not possible, then it is an hourly contract.

 

So if I accept a fixed-price contract, I do the work, and I submit it. And the client can release payment, or DO NOTHING. Either way, I get paid for the work.

 

So it's similar to hourly contracts: If you do the work, you record the time, and you get paid. Automatically.

 

It doesn't make sense to me for any freelancer to agree to do work for a complete stranger in a way that means they won't get paid if the client doesn't return to interact with them. Not when Upwork has two different methods for GETTING PAID AUTOMATICALLY.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
8 of 16

"It doesn't make sense to me for any freelancer to agree to do work for a complete stranger in a way that means they won't get paid if the client doesn't return to interact with them. Not when Upwork has two different methods for GETTING PAID AUTOMATICALLY."

 

Responding not to argue with Preston, whose UW strategy clearly works well for him and is likely a valuable model for up-and-comers in his field, but for UW newbies in other fields who may be listening in.

 

Some types of work are highly collaborative and success can be largely (or wholly) subjective, and in some cases there are established conventions for fixed-price fees as opposed to hourly compensation. (This thread is for Designers and Creatives, after all.) Then, it is reasonable--and often inescapable--to be in a situation where the ultimate success of the project depends in part on the client remaining engaged until the end.

Using UW's fixed-price process as it's meant to be used affords the FL some protection against vanishing clients (who may be flaky or may have been kidnaped or broken both hands or may simply be contending with shifting conditions at their end that they cannot control--no excuse for not communicating, but whatever). I try to give people the benefit of the doubt until they indicate they don't deserve it. Anywho, the system is not entirely fool-proof. 

 

OP's question about how to keep clients engaged to the end is one of the challenges of freelancing. There's no silver bullet that I know of, but there are things we can do that can help. Pay attention to your spidey sense before accepting the contract. Be very, very specific in the contract terms re. how many rounds of revision are included and available contingencies if more is needed, e.g. hourly contract for additional revisions. Be specific about your expectations when submitting work, e.g. "When do you expect to have x ready for me to begin the next milestone? I want to be sure time is allocated on my calendar to complete the next phase with no delay" or something like that.

 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, a project stalls out. If we've submitted the work properly, then we get paid regardless of what the client does. And it becomes a matter of deciding ahead of time how you want to handle it if they pop back up wanting more. Do you like them and want to keep working with them? Would you just as soon be done with them? Regardless, you want them leaving happy because (1) it's consistent with your own professional ethics, and (2) no reason to court less-than-excellent feedback when you've done you usual excellent job.

 

No silver bullets and no guarantees. Just bring to bear all of your experience, listen to your intuition, and always be willing to learn from what just happened.

Active Member
Jennifer P Member Since: Jun 9, 2017
9 of 16

Thanks for your extensive thoughts on this Phyllis...much appreciated!

Community Guru
Aron H Member Since: Mar 29, 2017
10 of 16

usually when working on fixed price contracts you should include a deposit of 25%-50%.

that is absolutely common, and if a client refuses to do so he 

a) is a scammer

b) isn't doing business regularly

c) thinks you are a scammer

All are cases you shouldn't be working with given person.

 

A second important habit you should include to your workflow is setting very clear general conditions.

which milestone is finished at date x/y/z, which round of review is due at date x/y/z, what happens if you miss the deadline, what happens if the client misses the deadline.

If the conditions are clear you won't run into a situation where you "worked ahead" of what you are paid for, or only very little.

 

The only reason a client might not want to agree to clear conditions is because he wants to take advantage of you, which again, is a reason not to even start working with someone.

 

 

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