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Advice on dealing with change in scope of project

Active Member
Katherine T Member Since: Oct 6, 2018
1 of 30
Good day everyone,

I'm feeling a little confused about how to proceed with a client and thought I'd ask for advice.

I've been working with a great client for a few months - doing research and writing for his business in a field that I have lots of experience and understanding of. I've completed 6 successful milestones and he is happy.

Recently he asked me to write on a topic I'm not super familiar with. I'm unsure, but I can research it and get a better understanding (albeit not expert level). Normally my work with him requires a bit of research, but with this I'd need to do much more.

I agreed and mentioned I'd charge slightly more (about 40% more) for this due to more time spent researching. It's a fixed price contract.

He said he'd be happy to pay but needed it to then be very in-depth and much longer than normal (almost 3 times longer than the length we originally agreed for my rate when we started). It feels like he thinks my rate is too high (it's really not) and wants to compensate with me doing even more work.

I'm not comfortable with this and I'd want to charge more for the length he wants (140% more) - not to mention the time spent researching on a topic I'm unsure of!

Part of me wants to decline altogether and not deal with the stress of it (although I'm not sure what to say as we've worked together so well). But the other part of me thinks I should ask him to pay a higher rate for the length he wants and see what happens.

I don't want to upset him and risk a bad rating, as my score has been good so far.

I'd appreciate some advice about what to say to him and how I should word it. Had anyone been in a similar situation?
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 30

You have two options: do what he says or tell him to kick rocks. Decide which one you wanna go with and do it.

Ace Contributor
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
3 of 30

If you decide to move forward with the project, understand he'll probably do it again in the future.  So you'll want to **bleep** it in the bud early.

 

Good luck and let us know how it goes.  

 

Robin

Active Member
Katherine T Member Since: Oct 6, 2018
4 of 30
Good point! Thank for the advice Smiley Happy
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 30

Katherine:

I know you want to do the right thing.

But you are NOT in charge of Upwork's policies.

 

Upwork does not allow clients to ask for free work. Doing so is explicitly identified as a violation of Upwork's ToS. And that is what is happening if a client asks you to do work that is outside of the original agreed-upon scope.

 

When I have a fixed-price contract, I do what is in the contract, and nothing more.

 

If a client asks for something that is out of scope, I tell them that yes, I would like to help with that, but they would need to close the current fixed-price contract first and set up a new hourly or fixed-price contract so that I can do the additional work.

 

Depending on the situation, I might NOT offer a separate fixed-price contract as an option. Some tasks should only be worked on using an hourly contract. Some clients should only be worked for using an hourly contract.

 

I don't know if any of my advice applies directly to your situation. But hopefully this provide some additional perspective.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 30

Preston H wrote:

 

Upwork does not allow clients to ask for free work. Doing so is explicitly identified as a violation of Upwork's ToS. And that is what is happening if a client asks you to do work that is outside of the original agreed-upon scope.

 

When I have a fixed-price contract, I do what is in the contract, and nothing more.


This is not the case here. This is a milestone based contract and the OP and the client are in the middle of negotiations on the next milestone. This is not the client asking for free work.

 

Katherine, simply tell the client that you will charge $ XXX.XX for this milestone with X  words according to his specifications. Then see what he says.

There is no need to get all controversial and throw around accusations of asking for free work or trying to force the client to end the contract after a number of successful milestones and a great working relationship.


Negotiating and setting boundaries is part of running your own business. Neither rolling over and doing more work for less money, nor stomping in with a sledgehammer are successful business strategies.


Just be friendly, professional and firm and tell him what it costs to produce what he is asking for. He can take it or leave it.

 

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
7 of 30

Katherine T wrote:
Good day everyone,

I'm feeling a little confused about how to proceed with a client and thought I'd ask for advice.

I've been working with a great client for a few months - doing research and writing for his business in a field that I have lots of experience and understanding of. I've completed 6 successful milestones and he is happy.


I don't do what you do so maybe I don't understand but I think what you need to do is end this project (to be crystal clear get the client to END the project), get your feedback, and get him to start another one.  For me milestones would be building on the existing project, so if you were writing a book, maybe every chapter is a milestone (forgive me if the analogy sucks, I am a programmer, what do I know).

 

So, if this is new stuff, something you have never done before I would suggest this needs to be a new project and have him close the existing one, give you your review, and then you start fresh.  If  you can't get what you want for this project, then don't accept it.  Don't allow yourself to be held hostage over a review.

 

If you actually did 6 different things instead of 6 different milestones on one thing you would have 6 projects on your credit, positive reviews, and less fear about the final project not going the way the guy wants.

 

I also assume all clients think or rate is too high but they also know that the search to find someone like you who can do what they want reliably is HARD.  They might be able to find cheaper and just as good but they risk finding cheaper and earning a load of hassles.

Active Member
Amy R Member Since: Jan 18, 2019
8 of 30

I like Mark's idea....because this is something you are not familiar with close the current contract - have him leave you your rating/feedback, and request to start another contract specifically for this project.  I have done this many times so that I am sure I receive good feedback on the work I've already completed and I know the client is very happy with.

 

I would also set expectations with the client.  If you are unsure whether you even want to do it, set up a project of XX hours first to research preliminarily and make sure you want to do the work, and also if he would want you to  based on what you've found in the preliminary research.  Maybe you suggest 20 hours to start (or even 10 depending on the subject).  This would be the initial contract....then talk about what you've found, what he's looking for, make sure you want to do it and he is on board too.  Tell him upfront you have reservations because of your level of experience in this area so you'd prefer to proceed this way.

 

So close out your current contract and get your feedback, set expections with the client - you might not want to do it, but you'd sure like to give it a try! so open a small contract to preliminarily take a look into the project, chat w/client to see if you want to proceed.  This way he knows upfront you might not want to do it.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
9 of 30

Mark, while I agree it would be great in this case to end the contract and start a new one, it's not typical for clients with ongoing writing needs. The "project" is often "blogging" or "website updates" and new milestones are added weekly or monthly or as new needs arise without a clear end point.

Community Guru
Mark F Member Since: Jul 10, 2018
10 of 30

Tiffany S wrote:

Mark, while I agree it would be great in this case to end the contract and start a new one, it's not typical for clients with ongoing writing needs. The "project" is often "blogging" or "website updates" and new milestones are added weekly or monthly or as new needs arise without a clear end point.


Good to know.  I did try to preference my ignorance.  

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