Let me start by saying that, yesterday, this particular client (an independent contract this time) requested an article as a sample, when I applied. Ok, fine, I understand that I have limited samples available on my portfolio, so I sent a protected file and got back a quick "Yes, we want you!" response. Yay! They offered to pay on submission "so no one gets scammed".
Then, my first assignment, 3 articles. "Anything to do with roofing", he says. "In the same format your sample was in." Not a problem, knocked them out & sent the protected files along - in protected format, of course.
The client rejects them, stating "I thought I told you they couldn't be DIY articles". I read back through all my correspondence and determine that, no, I was never told that. Slight frustration since I'd just spent two hours working on these. Time to start over, this time clarifying that there were no additional requirements.
I send one protected proof this time, to ensure that I'm not wasting a large chunk of time - and I'm told "Oh no, you have to submit them through our web form." (I'm paraphrasing, but I was expected to submit through a form.) It seemed fishy, so I graciously bowed out, explaining that I don't submit unprotected copies until I have been paid.
This morning, I'm asked if I can provide the originalassignment, three articles at a time, in protected format, I didn't respond (I was busy with other clients).
This evening I get a message saying "Since you are not responding can I sell your articles" -- exactly like that. No paraphrasing on this one. (Is this a normal request for cancelled contracts?! And furthermore does this imply that he was planning to sell my sample piece and/or the pieces he rejected?)
I tell him that, if I am paid for the articles submitted, then yes he may sell them, otherwise they remain my intellectual property. I'm pretty sure this is going to proceed the same way regardless of whether or not I said it, but I still have copies of all the articles I wrote for him anyway (including the ones he never offered to pay for).
Was I right in choosing not to continue with this contract? I mean, I would be willing to continue it if my requirements were met (submitted protected, paid between submissions, etc.) but the way he was beginning to sound raises MAJOR flags to me...
On this note, I've read about other writers having contracts spelling out their terms and inviting for negotiations. I would like to do something like this, but I don't know how I would go about it/what would be fair/etc. since I am still so new. Does anyone have a contract drafted up of some sort, and what steps did you take to create it?
@Pia M wrote:
You might find this link useful regarding contracts.
Thanks - checking out a few of the contracts listed to see if any are a good fit for me.
Additionally, for anyone interested in regards to the above-mentioned client, we are apparently now in negotiations regarding whether I will provide further work or not. Honestly, I am willing to continue... as long as I can be certain that I'm not being taken advantage of. They requested more articles than I initially offered, and I agreed to do the increased amount as long as my other requirements were met (protected submissions, payment for one before the next is completed, and the rejected articles to be sold - either to them, or to another bidder, whichever happens first. I don't really have another bidder lined up, but as far as I'm concerned they don't need to know that.)
You don't really need to submit protected files for writing if there is escrow in full for the work.
What is this about rejected articles and another bidder? That's not right. You write articles specifically for the client. Minor revisions are OK, but if they give you 0 instructions and reject for stupid reasons, they are probably just scamming you into writing more.
You need to get away from the junk buyers or you'll spend half your time writing for free and getting scammed.
I am sorry to hear your experiences.
I believe that one or two samples are enough to see a person's writing ability. I notice that your profile has writing samples.
Irrespective of your profile, the clients are not supposed to ask for 'custom work samples'.
If I notice a job posting that suits me but has asked for 'custom samples', I provide them above link and ask them if they are willing to consider the sample on my profile. Few clients accepted; others offered a small compensation for sample custom article.
I hope this suggestion works for you too. The time to set boundries is before you start a contract. Later it gets harder, I think. Good luck!
A specification that I thought I had already made: This client was not through Upwork. There's just no sort of community forum on the other platform, so I come here.
There was no escrow in place, and the client never sent any payments. I have since withdrawn my willingness to provide content for this person, and they responded with "Wow, thanks for wasting my time." Um... No. They wasted MY time as I churned out a total of 5 articles for them and received nothing in exchange. Maybe that's not a lot, but considering my already-ridiculously-low rate agreed to, writing them would have been a waste of my time even if I had been paid... But I digress.
I wish that particular platform had a means for reporting scammy clients, but they don't.
@Barbara W wrote:
There was no escrow in place, and the client never sent any payments.
Take them here (or any other site that offers escrow).
Drop them, if they refuse. No time wasted.
I'm not a guru, just a client, but I'm really annoyed, reading this that a client would take advantage of freelancers, this way. I would insist on payment in advance to do any more work for this client. I would also post the detail on this client 's feedback to warn other freelancers. IMO