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ziko87
Member

A client ended my fixed price contract after submitting the work

Hello everyone,


A client and I agreed some terms and started a fixed-price contract with one milestone of 200$. It's about building a desktop application that performs some actions described in the specifications document. Before accepting the project, the client interviewed me for more than two hours, he kept asking me million questions, each time I say he seems difficult to work with but when I looked at his history he has 10 of 5-starts reviews, so I decided to take the project. My 200$ estimation was based on 8 hours work of my hourly rate 25$/hour. The actual work took me around 12 hours, and I build an app 100% congruent with the specifications. I submitted the work, and the client told me that the app didn't work for him. I started investigating in his environment to make sure there's not something that prevents the app from working. Later, he asked me to test it in my computer and send him the output and so I did. I sent him a 100% valid output and he started asking me for different things (wanted to change the requirements), I told him no problem, I can perform the adjustment you want as soon we get the app working in your computer. Few hours later, he ended the contract and asked for full refund. From his behavior, I felt that maybe he did this to take the app for free (I spent a total time of 20h, between building, discussing, and fixing his problems).

In this situation and based on your experience, what would you recommend me to do ?


1- Refuse his request and file a dispute (I did this once, I was the wining of the dispute but it affected negatively my JSS, so I'm afraid of doing it again)


2-Sacrifice my 20h work and give him full refund (Hoping this won't affect my JSS)


3-Other solutions if any.


Thank you in advance.


Best Regards,

Zak,

19 REPLIES 19
versailles
Member


@Zakaria C wrote:


2-Sacrifice my 20h work and give him full refund (Hoping this won't affect my JSS)



It will, he will leave a bad private feedback which will impact your JSS. Keep the money, you already worked a lot more than expected.

 

Next time:

- hourly job to avoid scope creep

- avoid cheap clients

- when you feel that at the interview stage the client is already PITA or trying to milk you, kiss them a goodbye

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

Thank you Rene for your reply.


Unfortunately the 10 good reviews he has I got a wrong image about his reality. Yes, I made a mistake when I accepted working with him 😞


@Rene K wrote:

@Zakaria C wrote:


2-Sacrifice my 20h work and give him full refund (Hoping this won't affect my JSS)



It will, he will leave a bad private feedback which will impact your JSS. Keep the money, you already worked a lot more than expected.

 

Next time:

- hourly job to avoid scope creep

- avoid cheap clients

- when you feel that at the interview stage the client is already PITA or trying to milk you, kiss them a goodbye


This doesn't sound like scope creap. Revisions and adjustments to provide a working product are a given. You can't deliver a broker product and then call it scope creap when your asked to fix it.

 

That said, a flat rate is a flat rate and it doesn't matter how many hours it took. Consider this a lesson learned and next time you charge a flat rate, take into consideration allowences for client revisions and issues that could come up. If you come out ahead, great. Over time you'll find that you come ahead on some projects and fall behind on others, but hopefully you should average your desired hourly rate. If not, take a look at what you're charging for flat rate projects.

Thank you Briana,

 

This is not just about choosing the right rate, but it's a whole work that won't be paid !

Briana, if Zak can produce a report showing full functionality on multiple configs, then it's not a broken product. I've been in a similar situation before and in that case it was user error on the client's part that was the root of the problem. Can't say for sure if that's what has happened here, but it's certainly a possibilty. 

Melissa,

 

Here there's no proof of broken product. The client just complained and I stared checking and then he ended the contract !

Zak, I understand. Since you checked your work and know it's not broken it seems this client wanted free work. 

mtngigi
Member

I don't know a thing about building apps, but if you gave him a working app ... he should pay for it.

 

And wouldn't it belong to you if he doesn't pay for it? Meaning he can't use it?

Hi Virginia,

 

I gave him the app and it's working and he can use it. I think he did this just to take it for free !

Yeah, if it's working and the client just claims it's not so they don't have to pay you, then that sucks. I'd open a complain with UpWork (I've never done this but I'm sure others have), and get yourself paid. Also be sure to leave feedback for the client that reflects what has happened.

Briana,

 

That's the point. There's only two choices : Sacriface the work done or have a dispute, both of them bad, I'm just looking for the less painful !

I'd go thorugh with the dispute if you really feel like you're in the right. If it's a misunderstanding or if you think the client has ground to stand on, then use it as a lesson learned. But if you believe that you did everything right and that you are owed the money then open a dispute! Clients should not be allowed to get stuff for free or back out of their contract. They'll just do it again and it rewards the bad guy. 

 

In regards to them possibly leaving you bad feedback if you open a dispute, that's called retaliation. I wonder if UpWork has some sort of protection against it? For example, if you win a dispute then can you have the clients feedback removed from your profile?


@Briana R wrote:

I'd go thorugh with the dispute if you really feel like you're in the right. If it's a misunderstanding or if you think the client has ground to stand on, then use it as a lesson learned. But if you believe that you did everything right and that you are owed the money then open a dispute! Clients should not be allowed to get stuff for free or back out of their contract. They'll just do it again and it rewards the bad guy. 

 

In regards to them possibly leaving you bad feedback if you open a dispute, that's called retaliation. I wonder if UpWork has some sort of protection against it? For example, if you win a dispute then can you have the clients feedback removed from your profile?


Nope. You can have it removed if you're Top Rated. It's always been that way too and I doubt they will change it.  

I think in both cases the client will give a bad feedback, but the difference is :

1-If I proceed with a dispute and eventually get some money, the project will be shown in my profile and there would be a private and public feedback (which will be shown in my profile)

2-If I accept a full refund, there will be only a private feedback and the project won't be shown in my profile (this will affect my JSS because of the private feedback, but at least, the client won't have the chance to give me a public feedback)

If you are top rated you can just have it removed anyway.

lysis10
Member

I would think desktop software would be really hard on here and flat rate would be a huge mistake. Nonetheless, you have to budget for the unexpected. Add several hours to your bid and be firm about what you will and will not do or they will walk all over you.

 

This is an example of a noob freelancer not budgeting for extra time. How many times has a dev said "It works on my machine." Famous last words. QA people actually make fun of us for this.

Jeniffer,

 

You're right about "desktop app on fixed price is a huge mistake" , I will never do this again. But here, it's not just an issue of not estimating risks, but a client who ended the contract while I offered investigation service, so as it seems, he doesn't want this and he want to take it for free !!


@Zakaria C wrote:

Jeniffer,

 

You're right about "desktop app on fixed price is a huge mistake" , I will never do this again. But here, it's not just an issue of not estimating risks, but a client who ended the contract while I offered investigation service, so as it seems, he doesn't want this and he want to take it for free !!


I would definitely go through with the dispute.   

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"


@Zakaria C wrote:

Jeniffer,

 

You're right about "desktop app on fixed price is a huge mistake" , I will never do this again. But here, it's not just an issue of not estimating risks, but a client who ended the contract while I offered investigation service, so as it seems, he doesn't want this and he want to take it for free !!


Some clients just **bleep** it in the bud early. Maybe they don't understand that desktop software takes time to debug. That's one of the frustrations of being a freelancer. They expect perfect in things where revisions and testing and even bugs are expected. Who delivers perfect software without any bugs or issues? Nobody and especially on a desktop environment.

 

That's why you have to bid high with flat rate to ensure that your time is covered should things go crazy.

 

I see no reason to ever give a refund around here if you did the work. You're getting bad feedback regardless so you might as well get paid for it. 

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