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p_serechenko
Member

Am desperate!

Any advice is appreciated.
I am working with a client a month now. The project is for translating and adding subtitles for 17 hours videos in total, different length each.
In the beginning we agreed on 30 dollars per video (btw it was my 1st experience in subtitling). After a first video, we had a long conversation about changing the rates, I gave him an option to pay per hour, per video minute etc.

He was trying to tell me about some bonuses that I might have, but there is no discussion about bonuses when the work is paid lower any acceptable limit.
Suddenly and not agreed in advance, the deadlines became very tide, so I've been working literally like a slave, 12 hours per day, in order to deliver the job when he wanted it, for 3 days in the raw, for payment of 30 dollars(-20% fees) for each video IMAGINE! I convinced him to hight the price up to 40 d only few times.
He acts like am **Edited for Community Guidelines** asking him for extra money, he also acts like he own people for 30 bucks and he have been very rude today!

Am only holding on this this project because this is my 5th job, am "rising talent" and I want my score to be perfect.
But now, it doesn't even worth that.
My hands are shaking, I have really broke down about it, am not even sure if this message makes any sense the way am writing at this stage.

Thank You for any word in advance.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
kat303
Member

Polina = 

It doesn't matter what the clients budget is. What matters is what was agreed on AND that those payments were FULLY deposited into the milestones as they came up. 

 

You need to take control of the situation. Just as in the B&M world, working as an employee, if you find that your employer hired you for $xx amount and then found $xx less amount in your paycheck, found that you were not only doing your work in your department but work for another department and that you had to finish all that before quitting time, I'm sure you would quit your job especially if your boss became rude and angry at you.

 

As a freelancer conducting your own business, you have the same option. There's no reason why you need to get yourself sick and stressed out about the situation. Just let the client know that you won't be working with them anymore. 

Hi XX It seems like this job is not going as well as it should and because of that I can not continue to work on your job. It would be more beneficial for you to find another freelancer who would be a better fit for you. I will finish this one last video I'm currently working on and then I will close the contract.

 

In the future, when the client and you decide and agree on the terms of payment make sure that, that amount is FULLY funded into escrow either for the entire job or for each milestone as they come up BEFORE you start working on the requirements/scope of work for that milestone. If escrow is not FULLY funded. then you don't work until it is. if the client balks or refuses to fully fund escrow, or promises to do it AFTER you send the work, or promises a bonus, that's just talk. 

 

Hi XX I see that you have not fully funded escrow/milestone on your agreed amount. I can not start work until escrow is fully funded. Or I can just deliver work equal to the amount that's funded. Please let me know how you want to proceed

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19 REPLIES 19
colettelewis
Member


Polina S wrote:

Any advice is appreciated.
I am working with a client a month now. The project is for translating and adding subtitles for 17 hours videos in total, different length each.
In the beginning we agreed on 30 dollars per video (btw it was my 1st experience in subtitling). After a first video, we had a long conversation about changing the rates, I gave him an option to pay per hour, per video minute etc.

He was trying to tell me about some bonuses that I might have, but there is no discussion about bonuses when the work is paid lower any acceptable limit.
Suddenly and not agreed in advance, the deadlines became very tide, so I've been working literally like a slave, 12 hours per day, in order to deliver the job when he wanted it, for 3 days in the raw, for payment of 30 dollars(-20% fees) for each video IMAGINE! I convinced him to hight the price up to 40 d only few times.
He acts like am **Edited for Community Guidelines** asking him for extra money, he also acts like he own people for 30 bucks and he have been very rude today!

Am only holding on this this project because this is my 5th job, am "rising talent" and I want my score to be perfect.
But now, it doesn't even worth that.
My hands are shaking, I have really broke down about it, am not even sure if this message makes any sense the way am writing at this stage.

Thank You for any word in advance.


__________________

 

Polina,

 

Back up a bit, take a deep breath and start from the beginning again. 

 What exactly did this job entail and what did you agree with the client? Was the job on a fixed-rate or hourly basis? 

If it was fixed rate did the client fund the milestones into escrow? 

 

Those are just the first questions and I am sure more of us will come on and ask other questions. Just try and stay calm and remember that the client is only a person, not some ogre who is going to kill you. You can close this contract at any time you want, but before you do, give us the full story (without directly quoting or giving  any links to the job).  

 

Hello Nichola L,

I got very stressed about it, i'm sorry. I know no one is going to kill me, but it was a moment of my break down.
Anyhow, the job is on fixed price - 500dollars. Post was for 24 videos from 25-90 min 17 hours total. He said, that he would pay me 30d per 1 hour video. The clients is paying the milestones. It's just that he is trying to get this work done for peanuts.
After 1st video, we had conversation and agreed to charge 45d per 1hour video.

I also accepted sudden tight deadlines, I mean, to deliver 60 min video in 2 days. This is when I was working 12 hours/per day for 2 weeks.
I kindly explained him, the deadlines are very tide and the price is paying is below any lower limit. He didn't deny it and he said: "what do you prefer, 10 dollars more now, or great bonuses we didn't agreed about, you might get later" - basically, he is a Multi Level marketing coach, so he has a way to confuse your brains and go around conversation.

He is always trying to add little unofficial work in between. I am very strict about it, and always telling him to activat milestone in order for me to begin. Now he is "playing" with the raw of milestones, that is ok, he is releasing the payment.

But now again, he placed 30 d for an hour video in previous milestone, and he was supposed to add the difference to the next one, but it didn't happen. I don't want to mention to him again about it, because he just make me feel stupid, like my work and my time is not worth more.

He gives me more work that he is paying me for and I don't know how to deal with this anymore, besides stopping the contract with him.

Am not thinking to quote him yet, but I really need an advice on how to execute this "story" smoothly, ideal would be to make better agreement if there is a way, but if closing the contact, how I will protect my unpaid job?

 

Thank you in advance.
The way thing are now, is like, am working for his good review.

You agreed to it, so you should probably just see it through. But if you are having meltdowns over it, then just tell him you can't do it anymore and you're out.


Polina S wrote:

Hello Nichola L,

I got very stressed about it, i'm sorry. I know no one is going to kill me, but it was a moment of my break down.
Anyhow, the job is on fixed price - 500dollars. Post was for 24 videos from 25-90 min 17 hours total. He said, that he would pay me 30d per 1 hour video. The clients is paying the milestones. It's just that he is trying to get this work done for peanuts.
After 1st video, we had conversation and agreed to charge 45d per 1hour video.

I also accepted sudden tight deadlines, I mean, to deliver 60 min video in 2 days. This is when I was working 12 hours/per day for 2 weeks.
I kindly explained him, the deadlines are very tide and the price is paying is below any lower limit. He didn't deny it and he said: "what do you prefer, 10 dollars more now, or great bonuses we didn't agreed about, you might get later" - basically, he is a Multi Level marketing coach, so he has a way to confuse your brains and go around conversation.

He is always trying to add little unofficial work in between. I am very strict about it, and always telling him to activat milestone in order for me to begin. Now he is "playing" with the raw of milestones, that is ok, he is releasing the payment.

But now again, he placed 30 d for an hour video in previous milestone, and he was supposed to add the difference to the next one, but it didn't happen. I don't want to mention to him again about it, because he just make me feel stupid, like my work and my time is not worth more.

He gives me more work that he is paying me for and I don't know how to deal with this anymore, besides stopping the contract with him.

Am not thinking to quote him yet, but I really need an advice on how to execute this "story" smoothly, ideal would be to make better agreement if there is a way, but if closing the contact, how I will protect my unpaid job?

 

Thank you in advance.
The way thing are now, is like, am working for his good review.


___________________

 

It is early days for you, so don't worry too much about your feedback. Has the client funded the full amount that you initially agreed to in escrow?  Or are you doing this by milestones? 

Nichola L,

We are doing this by milestone, but I was stupid enough to get fooled and do 2 milestones at the same time, one of them is the "next", not the active. Because during the Eastern, he asked me to do an extra task, so I mentioned about milestone, he asked me to deliver inactive milestone faster than the active. So, here I am now, but am almost finished both, and probably by tomorrow night, will complete them both (If manage to work about 12-14 hours, again)


Nichola L wrote:

It is early days for you, so don't worry too much about your feedback.  


Nichola, I respectfully disagree. If it's early days, then that's when a bad feedback rating will hurt you the most.


Polina S wrote:

I kindly explained him, the deadlines are very tide and the price is paying is below any lower limit. He didn't deny it and he said: "what do you prefer, 10 dollars more now, or great bonuses we didn't agreed about, you might get later" - basically, he is a Multi Level marketing coach, so he has a way to confuse your brains and go around conversation.

He is always trying to add little unofficial work in between. I am very strict about it, and always telling him to activat milestone in order for me to begin. Now he is "playing" with the raw of milestones, that is ok, he is releasing the payment.

He gives me more work that he is paying me for and I don't know how to deal with this anymore, besides stopping the contract with him.


Polina, you're confusing me now. It is up to you to manage your business and decide how much work you are willing to do, and for how much money, and tell the client how long it'll take. Then he can either agree or disagree. You do not have to take on additional work, and you certainly should never agree to work for the vague promise of bonuses at some point in the future. But again, if you don't want clients to take advantage of you, then don't let them. 

 

If you want to continue with the project, you need to speak clearly and frankly with the client. Be honest - tell him that you didn't know how long the project would take because it's your first job of this type, and apologize (because it's not his fault that you agreed to the low pay and tight deadlines; that's your own fault). Say that you think that $X would be a fairer price and that you can deliver by X date, but you do not have the availability to do any additional work. If he agrees to that, then get him to set up new milestones with the new prices and new deadlines before you do anything else. If he doesn't agree, then tell him he can cancel the project and you'll refund his money.

 

I'm sorry, but I think that those are your best options. Try to look at this as a learning experience. On the plus side, now you have experience in translating videos, so you'll have a better idea of how much to quote next time. It's very tricky knowing how long a project will take so that you can give a proper estimate to clients, and this is something that you will get better at with more experience. 

feed_my_eyes
Member

Hi Polina - I saw the job that you're referring to. You agreed to translate 17 hours of video footage for a fixed price (and actually, it sounds like you're already getting paid more than the client's stated budget). It's a shame that the pay is so low, but you DID agree to work for this amount, yes? Clients post projects for ridiculously low pay on Upwork all of the time - sometimes they're trying to take advantage, sometimes they genuinely don't understand how long a project will take - but freelancers aren't forced to bid on them. You can't make a deal with a client and then change your mind and ask for more money after the project has begun, unless he has changed the amount or the nature of the work. 

 

The deadlines are a different matter; you must have said in your original bid how long it would take you to do the project? He can't just change the terms of the contract like that. Or are you behind schedule?

 

If the project is really a mess and you're completely stressed out about it, I would recommend that the next move should be to apologize and offer to let the client cancel the job, and refund his money. Otherwise, he would be within his rights to post a bad review for you, unfortunately. 

Hello Christine,

So, it sounds like I already getting paid more than the clients budjet, but I didn't eve got the half, to be exact I got 185 dollars (-20%) for 12 videos, approximate length 4+ hours + over 20,000 words written translation in word files. Am sharing this job with more freelancers, not necessarily from upwork. Maybe he meant 500dollars between all freelancers who will work on this project.

He did agreed on 45 dollars per 1 hour video, after the 1st video I've done. 

But every time he would try to drop me an extra work and I would mentioned money and milestones, he is getting offended about it.

Am not behind the schedule, I was doing him a favor, working extra hard for two weeks. He didn't mentioned about such deadlines in the begining, I did it on my good will. 

 


Polina S wrote:

Hello Christine,

So, it sounds like I already getting paid more than the clients budjet, but I didn't eve got the half, to be exact I got 185 dollars (-20%) for 12 videos, approximate length 4+ hours + over 20,000 words written translation in word files. Am sharing this job with more freelancers, not necessarily from upwork. Maybe he meant 500dollars between all freelancers who will work on this project.

He did agreed on 45 dollars per 1 hour video, after the 1st video I've done. 

But every time he would try to drop me an extra work and I would mentioned money and milestones, he is getting offended about it.

Am not behind the schedule, I was doing him a favor, working extra hard for two weeks. He didn't mentioned about such deadlines in the begining, I did it on my good will. 

 


_____________________

Polina, has the client funded any more money into escrow? If no money has been funded on the next milestone, then stop working for him and close the contract. It doesn't matter if he gets offended. 

 

If he has funded any more money into escrow then close the contract and refund him. 

 

Yes, you will probably get bad feedback, but you are wasting time working for no money, when you could be bidding on other jobs and working for someone else. 

 

Word to the wise. If you do do this. Do not rant in your feedback to the client. Make your feedback very short. Something like: "Client did not pay what he agreed so I had to end the contract". Ranting will bounce back on you and will deter other clients from hiring you. 


Polina S wrote:

Hello Christine,

So, it sounds like I already getting paid more than the clients budjet, but I didn't eve got the half, to be exact I got 185 dollars (-20%) for 12 videos, approximate length 4+ hours + over 20,000 words written translation in word files. Am sharing this job with more freelancers, not necessarily from upwork. Maybe he meant 500dollars between all freelancers who will work on this project.

He did agreed on 45 dollars per 1 hour video, after the 1st video I've done. 

But every time he would try to drop me an extra work and I would mentioned money and milestones, he is getting offended about it.

 


I read the description, and it was very clear to me - 24 videos for $500, which works out to $20.83 per video before Upwork's cut (and yes, I realize that not all of the videos were the same length, but he gave you that information as well, and even provided you with a sample of what he expected). Then you say that you renegotiated to $45/video. So I still don't understand why you think he is trying to trick you? I'm sorry, but honestly, if I were this client then I would be getting pretty annoyed as well. 

hodgesh
Member

You need to realize that you are in control of the work you do. Get rid of the mindset that the client is controlling you. Although money and your JSS may be at risk, you still have the freedom to decide, and your mental health is important too.

 

If the client is not funding the milestones the way you two have agreed, mention it and do nothing until the milestone is funded properly. If the client is giving you ridiculous deadlines, mention that to the client and suggest more realistic deadlines.

 

If the client refuses your suggestions or ignores them, politely decline to continue the contract and let him/her end the contract or commit to the job if you feel that you absolutely must have the money/rating/whatever. YOU decide.

 

Clients like this are likely to give you bad feedback whether you finish the job or not, so consider that if you're thinking of ending the contract. Also consider that the client may agree to what you want given that you've done a lot of the project already. Clients don't like switching freelancers mid-project. Use what you know about the client's wants and personality to make your decision.

Thank you Heaven,

You are totally right. I need to change my point of view ob some things at work.

kat303
Member

Polina = 

It doesn't matter what the clients budget is. What matters is what was agreed on AND that those payments were FULLY deposited into the milestones as they came up. 

 

You need to take control of the situation. Just as in the B&M world, working as an employee, if you find that your employer hired you for $xx amount and then found $xx less amount in your paycheck, found that you were not only doing your work in your department but work for another department and that you had to finish all that before quitting time, I'm sure you would quit your job especially if your boss became rude and angry at you.

 

As a freelancer conducting your own business, you have the same option. There's no reason why you need to get yourself sick and stressed out about the situation. Just let the client know that you won't be working with them anymore. 

Hi XX It seems like this job is not going as well as it should and because of that I can not continue to work on your job. It would be more beneficial for you to find another freelancer who would be a better fit for you. I will finish this one last video I'm currently working on and then I will close the contract.

 

In the future, when the client and you decide and agree on the terms of payment make sure that, that amount is FULLY funded into escrow either for the entire job or for each milestone as they come up BEFORE you start working on the requirements/scope of work for that milestone. If escrow is not FULLY funded. then you don't work until it is. if the client balks or refuses to fully fund escrow, or promises to do it AFTER you send the work, or promises a bonus, that's just talk. 

 

Hi XX I see that you have not fully funded escrow/milestone on your agreed amount. I can not start work until escrow is fully funded. Or I can just deliver work equal to the amount that's funded. Please let me know how you want to proceed

It sounds like you accepted a contract for something you had no experience in (transcription) and it came as a shock to you just how long it takes to transcribe and then translate audio / video (I made the same mistake years ago...)

 

The same client was, incidentally, subject of another thread here.

 

Hello Petra,

 

I have experience in translations, I didn't had experience in subtitling.

After 1st video, we agreed on something, and client doesn't keeps the agreemend for the last to milestones.

Giving me only promises.


Polina S wrote:

Hello Petra,

 

I have experience in translations, I didn't had experience in subtitling.

After 1st video, we agreed on something, and client doesn't keeps the agreemend for the last to milestones.

Giving me only promises.


So you accepted a job for 17 videos and renegotiated the price after the first? That could appear as bait and switch to a client and would naturally annoy him, and now he is throwing additional work at you, and pressures you with deadlines, which he maybe would not have done if you hadn't asked for more money after doing 1 (!) of 17 videos. The best strategy would have been to deliver at the agreed terms, get good feedback, learn your lesson, and never agree to work at these terms again. This is a teachable moment for all newbies, who are excited about the first jobs, and get themselves into huge trouble because they couldn't keep a clear head. 

So you did get yourself into this mess. How do you avoid that in the future? You must stay professional at all times. That means: 1. ask the client all the questions you need to know to give an estimate of your time or for a fixed price, only then accept an offer. NEVER accept an offer where you are not an expert in the task, have no idea how long it will take you or if you even can do it. That ends in tears. 2. Never renegotiate later. 3. Deliver as promised. 4. Discuss any additional work with the client in your most professional manner.  

Hello Martina P,

 

Nice to hear from you again:)

 

See, am not the only freelancer working on this project, am sharing the task with other freelancers, and we have full comunication. The problem is common, not only mine. See not all of them are from upwork.

The point is, that before getting the offer for the job, I passed a test to qualify my skills. And I was choosen among many other freelancers, now, he even asks me to check the tests of new freelancers (I don't mind about this at all).

Please don't get me worng, at the time I wrote my post I was very stressed.

With current client, during 1 month of co-operation, we are always communicating in a very good tone. But still, I was over loaded working 3 full days (x9 h.) to deliver a video for 30d(-20%).
The reason I asked an advise from our Community (now when my mind is in peace I can explain myself better), is because I was stuck between two desicions:

Take it as a paid practice for subtitling and big lesson, OR value my time and quality of work that am delivering, and kindly close the contract. I even thought to give a client a week notice, while keep working, till he finds someone to cover my position.

Yesterday, there was this awkward moment when he said he loves my work while activating new milestone for 33d.
That is great of course, but here I work for money, not for love)))))

Thank you all, for you advises.
You All, really helped me to get out of stress and think clear, before doing anything stupid.

I believe I should stay proffessional with client and complete the project.

Best Regards,
Polina

Thank you Kathy,

 

I will definately use those templates you gave me.

I totally agree with you.

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