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CONSTANT NEW CLIENT REQUESTS AND DOZENS OF EMAILS

Ace Contributor
ILANNA M Member Since: Jun 29, 2014
1 of 13

Hello:

 

I have been working with a very nice client for the past several months. But, now, the contract is coming to a close. Just two more weeks. However, every day they are barraging me with dozens of emails and new requests. Now, they want a rubric for the course. Of course that would be helpful, but it was never part of the original contract, and never mentioned until now. Would you do the work anyway if you weren't paid? They also want other new work done such as a syllabus, and revisions they won't pay for.
What would you do? What would you say?
I don't think they do it out of malice, but out of genuine need, and I would like to work with them again. Unsure what to do.
Thanks!
Ilanna

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 13

If this is an hourly contract, then this may be fine.

As long as you log time (and thus bill the client) for all of the time you spend receiving, opening, reading, responding to the emails, etc... Then you are getting paid for your time. That is how Upwork is supposed to work.

 

If the arrangement does not suit you, then you may end the contract at any time. Or you may address the situation with the client, and explain what your expectations and requirements are in order for you to continue working on the project.

 

If this is a fixed-price contract, then this is NOT okay.

 

If your fixed-price contract does not specify that you will respond to emails, and how many emails over the course of the milestone, etc., then the client is asking you to work for free.

 

Properly handled, a fixed-price contract specifies exactly what you will do and deliver, and NOTHING outside of that is acceptable.

 

re: "They also want other new work done such as a syllabus, and revisions they won't pay for... Would you do the work anyway if you weren't paid?"

 

That is FINE that they want these things. But that doesn't mean you will do these things.

 

This is NOT complicated.

 

If I go to a new car dealership, maybe I want a new 2019 Lexus ES. But if I don't pay for it, they're not going to let me drive off with the car.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 13

If the client is asking for things outside of an original fixed-price agreement, then you simply can't allow that. It may be that the client is NOT a bad person, but just doesn't understand fixed-price contracts. That happens. There is a certain percentage of clients who do not understand the fixed-price contract model.

 

You could tell the client:

"Debbie:

These are some excellent ideas. I agree that these things will be a great enhancement for the project. If you will close out the current fixed-price contract now, and start a new hourly contract, I will get started on these things immediately. Otherwise, I will go ahead and finish the tasks that were agreed upon for the current fixed-price contract, submit the work, and after that we can discuss how to go forward with these additions to the project."

 

[By "close out the current fixed-price contract," we mean that the client releases all current money in escrow, and closes the contract. Note that it IS NOT NECESSARY for all work agreed upon for the fixed-price milestone be finished. If the client wants to start making changes or asking for new things, then she may close the fixed-price contract immediately and begin an hourly contract.]

Ace Contributor
ILANNA M Member Since: Jun 29, 2014
4 of 13

Preston,

 

Thank you very much. I appreciate this and it's certainly helpful.

 

All the best,

Ilanna 

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
5 of 13

Given that this project has been a positive experience (until this rash of last-minute requests) and you want to work with them again, in your shoes I would find one or two items among their requests that I'd be willing to do without additional payment. I would gently remind them of the original scope of work; specify what I was prepared to add without more pay; and let them know what the rest of the add-ons would cost. If none of their requests is small or simple enough that you feel comfortable throwing it in as a courtesy, then proceed as above except no freebies. But it would helpl nurture the relationship if you can meet them partway, somehow.

Ace Contributor
ILANNA M Member Since: Jun 29, 2014
6 of 13

Phyllis;

 

The truth is, I already have. We're creating the program in Storyline 360. The client chose a specific voice for the speech to text feature. It's actually a lot of work to do that. Now this week they suddenly changed their mind and said for me to replace it. That's a revision in my opinion, but I didn't balk at it and I did it anyway. 

 

Then, they asked for an outline in Word and pdf. Again, I didn't balk, but I politely did the work. 

 

There have been all kinds of these unscheduled changes they have asked for that I've never said a word about. But, now we're coming to the end of the program and they still want things from me without pay. I understand the client isn't wealthy and doesn't have unlimited resources. I don't expect that. But, I have worked weekends and nights on this project without pay to do things they want. I feel I've hit my limit. 

 

Ilanna 

Community Guru
Joan S Member Since: Mar 18, 2019
7 of 13

It is possible that because you did some additional work that was not in the original contract that you set the client up to expect that you would continue to do that. Maybe you should gently tell the client that you cannot continue to do work that you are not getting paid for and that you will be happy to continue working under a new contract.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
8 of 13

ILANNA M wrote:

I feel I've hit my limit. 


Tell. The. Client!

Not in an accusatory way, not by saying "No" but I think the client likely hasn't a clue how time consuming the extra work is. (I might assume that delivering as PDF is 3 mouseclicks like with other software, for example.)

 

You can gently remind them that what was agreed was X, that what you have done in excess has already taken XX hours, whatever has to be done in excess of that, will cost $ XX.XX or $ XXX.XX

 

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
9 of 13

With regards to fixed-price clients, one may note 4 categories:

 

- clients who use fixed-price contracts properly and professionally

 

- clients who use fixed-price contracts improperly (such as by asking for out-of-scope work) simply out of ignorance, but who readily accept correction when you point out how to do things the right way

 

- clients who use fixed-price contracts improperly and who simply can not be educated or reformed; they will never "get it" no matter what you do

 

- clients who know full well how fixed-price contracts work, but feign ignorance and weaponize their knowledge, manipulating freelancers into doing free work (out of scope work, non-funded work, etc.) for them

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
10 of 13

ILANNA M wrote:

Phyllis;

 

The truth is, I already have. We're creating the program in Storyline 360. The client chose a specific voice for the speech to text feature. It's actually a lot of work to do that. Now this week they suddenly changed their mind and said for me to replace it. That's a revision in my opinion, but I didn't balk at it and I did it anyway. 

 


Illanna, it sounds like you're being way too nice. If a client is on a tight budget, then they need to do their part by having reasonable expectations and being very specific about their needs in order to minimize revisions. You don't need to feel sorry for them. Ask yourself, do these people work for free? No, they do not, and you shouldn't either.

 

As others have said, tell them politely that you've sorry but you've already gone beyond the scope of the original project and that anything further will be charged hourly (or have them pay up in full and then set a new milestone). If you're too nice to people, some will just take advantage of you rather than be appreciative, unfortunately. You're not being a bad person by standing up for yourself, you're just being a professional whose time is valuable.

 

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