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top-expert
Member

Adding multiple milestones to a contract by the Freelancer

Hi.

 

The ability for a Freelancer to add multiple work items (milestones) to a contract, to be approved and funded by the client afterwards, is very much neeed. This was supported on Elance.

 

When establishing trust and good long-term work relationships, new work items are added. We're talking about dozens of milestones added to a contract with a given client over time.

 

It shouldn't be the responsibility of the client to initiate these milestones.,I, as a freelancer, will have to "nag" him to do this every time. I'm in the position of serving my client and submitting the work "bill" to him, not the other way around.

 

Please support this process as was the case on Elance.

 

Thanks!

Mor

26 REPLIES 26
lysis10
Member

Yeah, this has been a bit of a thorn in my side too. I had one customer try to fund half escrow for a writing project, and I had to tell them that the milestone needs the full funds. Have another who I think is getting a bit annoyed with me, because he funds for a few articles, I submit, and he comes back to ask for more work and I tell him that he has to release and fund another milestone. He asked me how he can just fund multiple milestones, but no can do.

 

Anyway, the workaround for me is to tell them to fund 1 large milestone, and then I"ll ask for half for the draft submission and then they can release the full amount after the revisions. You can ask for only partial payment from the milestone, which is the way I've handled it.

 

The downside to it is that I think the countdown starts over if you get permission for the full amount after already asking for half. That's what I don't like about it. So, if you ask for half and they approve, I'm not sure how it works if you then ask for the full amount after doing revisions. It should be the initial 50% should be released in 6 days and then the other half after the final approval. Maybe someone can confirm/deny what happens in that scenario.

It took one of my clients 5 days to figure out how to partially release a milestone for something that was not set up right in the beginning (because of my UpWork ignorance).  It's not terribly user friendly, and I hate the burden it places on clients to have to figure this out.  I like to provide full service, but that's difficult when the platofrm prohibits me from doing so.    

 

What I don't get is why the feature to have the provider manipulate/create milestones doesn't exist.  Was this a conscious decision (and if so, why oh why?) or just something they haven't gotten around to yet?  

  "It's not terribly user friendly . . ."

 

Juli, I thought it was just we UK English speakers who were masters (mistresses) of the understatement. I am clearly quite wrong! 🙂

It's Sunday, and I just got home from church.  I'm trying to be charitable.

 

Jennifer,

 

The thing is, I have no idea what would eventually be the "total amount". No one knows the scope of the project, just the first (small) milestone.

I started with a job for $300, that grew to over $8,000 with time and dozens of small milestones that were added as new requirements were realized...

 

Mor

The Upwork's escrow system is indeed messed up. I have clients who need many documents translated, but they cannot fund more than one milestone at a time. And they need to release it before funding the next one, without having the time to check the work.

 

I can't think on one good reason why the escrow system should be designed this way. But this is how it works, it's poorly designed as a lot of other things on Upwork, and Upwork's management doesn't care, at all.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

I wish I had a project like that  Man Happy

I'm totally with both ideas in this thread, a) being able to set up milestones as a freelancer for the client which the client only needs to "okay", and b) being able to have multiple milestones set up under one contract.

 

 

One of my regular clients often sets up work for me, and then while I am working on that we already discuss the next workload. However, the client has to wait until the first workload is submitted before she can create the next milestone. Along with time difference and the review/revision process, the workflow is unneccesarily interrupted, while I could be working on the next assignment if there was already a new milestone in place.

 

After submitting work for the first milestone with a new client, the client inquired about an alternative billing method because "there is too much clicking on Upwork". The client showed understanding for my explanation why I can only continue to do the work through Upwork, but I can tell that they are not happy about having to set up a new and exact milestone for each new task. And while trying to decrease their potential annoyance, I am getting annoyed myself for being the one who has to explain all this to them and trying to rope up my perspective, their perspective and Upwork's perpective.

 

So yes, I'd definitely like to be able to set up or alter milestones for clients.

 

I would also like to see something like one bigger funded milestone that can be broken into smaller milesstones if necessary, e.g. client funds $500, I do part 1 of the assignment, submit work and request pay for let's say $200, and still have an available "submit work/request payment" button for let's say parts 2+3.

jessicamh2015
Member

I agree with what has been stated here.  I am continuing to work with a client from Elance.  We had a great working relationship:  He would tell me all that he needed and I would set up the milestones for him to approve. 

 

Another part of this is that I will work on a long project for him and he has smaller ones that interlace with the larger project: example - he assigns a long ebook for me to write, but I also write other smaller articles for him when he needs them. He may assign these throughout the course of writing the book.

 

Having the ability to set up multiple milestones here on Upwork would be a great asset.

 

Thank you.

I'm with J on this one.

 

If you want to provide full services, you should be able to provide full services.  On the other platform that shall not be named (but used pleasing blue) I added milestones and set up repeat jobs for my clients on a regular basis.  It made for a smooth working relationship.

 

All they needed to do was contact me through a workroom that had been used for a previous job and say "Hey Cheryl, could you please blah blah" and I could certainly give them a price for "blah "blah blah" and even "blah blah blah".  One message from them agreeing to the terms and time line and whoosh, Cheryl set up a repeat job or added a milestone and all the client had to do was click to approve and fund.  E-Lance let Cheryl do helpful things for her clients.

 

Upwork wants the client to do all the work and all Cheryl can do is answer her client's questions about how to do things and agree with them that green platforms are difficult to use and make them go Grrrrrrrr

mtngigi
Member

Yes, let's open this up for discussion ... again!

 

I've just discovered that this feature, available to me on Elance, is not an option here. Why not?! What is the reasoning? If you didn't make navigating this site so difficult for clients, we wouldn't hesitate to ask them to add milestones - but as someone mentioned, all that may do is add to their frustration.

 

I saw no mod respond to this post - is that because there is no intelligent reason for this function not to exist?

allergywriter
Member

The reason for the crickets is that they aren't interested in adding this feature. I think they have enough just trying to get enough duct tape, spit, and Kleenex to keep the existing features on life support

MacGuyver.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi All,

 

Adding an ability for freelancer to add milestones is actually on the product team's roadmap. It may take some time to implement but they are actively working on it.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I wonder if the "product team" knows how to prioritize?

 

Instead of playing around with the seemingly useless and/or foolish things they try out on us on a regular basis, maybe they should change the order of what needs to be taken care of and tackle the big things.

 

This is a big thing. "Some time" isn't soon enough.

Perhaps not everyone sees the milestone issue as  a "big thing."


@Virginia F wrote:

I wonder if the "product team" knows how to prioritize?

 

Instead of playing around with the seemingly useless and/or foolish things they try out on us on a regular basis, maybe they should change the order of what needs to be taken care of and tackle the big things.

 

This is a big thing. "Some time" isn't soon enough.


Virginia,

 

Priorities for the product team—more precisely, the various product teams—are set by management. Not by them. Not by us.

It took about nine months for Upwork to commit to "roadmapping" more milestone control by contractors. That they have committed at all suggests a degree of listening on their part. At this point I'm waiting to see what they come up with.

 

Best,

MIchael

 

[edited to add:] p.s. Upwork's implementations often seem to choose delivery speed over due deliberation, design, and testing. I quail at the thought of urging the former at the expense of the latter.

 

 

Thank DMM - it's good to know it's on someone's radar - I only hope it happens sooner rather than later. It is a necessary, important function that's sorely missing.

dkstar
Member

I also faced similar problem.

 

Most of my client assign task but can't create milestone immediately after discussion. sometime. they also not know what task going on. so everytime remind him about work going on and make sure that milestone created by him.

 

I think that if freelancer have access to create milestone then atleast they have track this points going on and their deadline will this. and it will finish on this day. this will very helpful. specially for me. because mostly i have old clients since last 3years.

 

I hope upwork team work on this point as soon as possible..

As a new client I am pretty surprised at the lack of this functionality.  I am now stuck on what to do for a new job I was about to post.  

 

I was planning to have 3 milestones with fixed percentages of the total fixed price contract awarded for each milestone.  I was also hoping that the both  the contractor and I could add, delete or modify the milestones as we go (or before we start).  I was also hoping to fund the entire project, but also be able to cancel the contract at any milestone (same with the contractor, since there are bad clients) without penalty.

 

This way both of us would know the total value, what the payment plan is, and when are our mutual escape points should things not go as expected.  In addition, an appropriate change method would also allow for changes in total contract value and schedule as milestones, tasks or changes were created, deleted or changed.

 

I don't think this is nothing new, just implement what is done in business every day (or maybe the way it used to be?).  Or maybe this does exist and I am confused.

 

Also, if this is not an extremely high priority to Upwork, can someone share with me what is a higher priority?  Is there a thread/page that discusses and looks for feedback on all upcoming changes?  I am impressed that Mods regulary respond to questions/comments on this site... so Kudos to them for that.

 

PS: Why is there not an auto spell check on this site?

Hi Michael,

 

We do not have ETA yet for any changes in the fixed-price system but we are collecting feedback about the milestones and the team continuously working on possible improvements.

A few notes for your post:

 

- You, as a client, can set and fund several milestones when you make an offer to a freelancer:

 

Screenshot_3.png

- When you release each milestone, you can edit the amount you release. Note that if you release less than what's funded for that milestone, the remaining funds will remain in Escrow.

 

- A contract can be ended anytime either by the client or the freelancer. If the freelancer ends the contract, all the funds in Escrow are refunded to the client. If the client ends the contract, they can either release the remaining funds to the freelancer or request a refund from Escrow. The freelancer will need to either reject or approve the refund.

 

 

You can spellcheck your Community post by clicking on this button:

 

Screenshot_4.png

 

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Hi Michael,

 

We do not have ETA yet for any changes in the fixed-price system but we are collecting feedback about the milestones and the team continuously working on possible improvements.

A few notes for your post:

 

- You, as a client, can set and fund several milestones when you make an offer to a freelancer:

 

Screenshot_3.png

- When you release each milestone, you can edit the amount you release. Note that if you release less than what's funded for that milestone, the remaining funds will remain in Escrow.

 

- A contract can be ended anytime either by the client or the freelancer. If the freelancer ends the contract, all the funds in Escrow are refunded to the client. If the client ends the contract, they can either release the remaining funds to the freelancer or request a refund from Escrow. The freelancer will need to either reject or approve the refund.

 

 

You can spellcheck your Community post by clicking on this button:

 

Screenshot_4.png

 


Valeria,
I'd like to make a suggestion, if they're still testing things out. This:
"When you release each milestone, you can edit the amount you release. Note that if you release less than what's funded for that milestone, the remaining funds will remain in Escrow." (and the balance moved to the next milestone, right?)
As a freelancer who prefers to have fixed rate jobs fully-funded up front, it would be really helpful to have some sort of explanation in that milestone window about this process for the client's clarification, because some (not all) clients balk at fully funding a project. Trying to explain how all that works in a bid is cumbersome.
There's another issue. I submitted a bid and wanted to set up two milestones, the second milestone covering any revisions the client might want, and then sending final files. If the first milestone is fully funded, I have no need for $$ in the second milestone, but I had to put something there. So I had to subtract from the first milestone and add it back in the second milestone ... leaving the first milestone not fully-funded.
Can there be a way that when a milestone is an actual deadline date to wrap a job up, there's no need to fund it?
Maybe this doesn't make sense and only one milestone is needed ... but the way things work for what I do, sometimes it makes sense to have several milestones.

 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Virginia,

 

Regarding editing a Milestone to release a lesser amount, the remaining funds will be used to fund Escrow for the subsequent Milestone, after the client requests this action and not automatically.

 

I understand the idea behind creating a contingency Milestone, but since the Milestone creation option we recently introduced for freelancer is intended to be used to break up a client's job in stages and show the cost for each one, creating a Milestone without any funds might confuse a client. Also, it would in a way go against the idea that Escrow should be fully funded for all Milestones at the onset of a contract. I'll share your feedback and rationale with the team, but in the meantime you might want to consider including an additional explanation in your proposal instead of adding the Milestone, and asking the client to add an unfunded Milestone in their offer during the interview.

~ Vladimir
Upwork


Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Virginia,

 

Regarding editing a Milestone to release a lesser amount, the remaining funds will be used to fund Escrow for the subsequent Milestone, after the client requests this action and not automatically.

 

I understand the idea behind creating a contingency Milestone, but since the Milestone creation option we recently introduced for freelancer is intended to be used to break up a client's job in stages and show the cost for each one, creating a Milestone without any funds might confuse a client. Also, it would in a way go against the idea that Escrow should be fully funded for all Milestones at the onset of a contract. I'll share your feedback and rationale with the team, but in the meantime you might want to consider including an additional explanation in your proposal instead of adding the Milestone, and asking the client to add an unfunded Milestone in their offer during the interview.


Thank you Vlad ... that last suggestion could work, though I still think the milestone process can be confusing to clients. Not sure I understand how it would go against the idea of a fully funded escrow.

 

If the first milestone is fully-funded, and it's not possible to create an unfunded milestone, then we're really left with just one milestone for the whole job - which can work for some quick jobs, but could be problematic for a long-term project - the last job I completed lasted 4 months. That client never did grasp that I wanted it fully funded at the outset, but he did break it up and fund each milestone accordingly.

 

I need to think a bit on this some more.  Smiley Indifferent

 

byronloker
Member

As a new Upworker, I now find I need this feature urgently and it's not available. Adding my voice to the chorus.

This feature is still not available as of today. It really pains me to know that I'll have to request payment most of the time due to undeclared milestones. Bidded projects have different pipelines when they are already ongoing due to the things that are discussed with the client.