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Changing your prices in the middle of a contract?

erepole
Ace Contributor
Estelle R Member Since: Feb 12, 2017
1 of 10

Hi everyone

I have a little problem: I accepted a contract for a transcription for a price that seemed ok. The thing is, it took wayyy more long than I thought. I never did this kind of work before so I didn't realise that I accepted a low fixed price.

Now the client wants to work with me again but it's really not worth it for me. Shall I tell him that I want to renegociate the price or is it better to say that I don't have time? Its kind of my fault because I basically accepted the contract without questionning the rate.

I don't wanna get a bad comment because I changed my prices in the middle of a contract...

 

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
2 of 10

@Estelle R wrote:

Hi everyone

I have a little problem: I accepted a contract for a transcription for a price that seemed ok. The thing is, it took wayyy more long than I thought. I never did this kind of work before so I didn't realise that I accepted a low fixed price.

Now the client wants to work with me again but it's really not worth it for me. Shall I tell him that I want to renegociate the price or is it better to say that I don't have time? Its kind of my fault because I basically accepted the contract without questionning the rate.

I don't wanna get a bad comment because I changed my prices in the middle of a contract...

 


Is this a fixed rate contract or an hourly contract (I'm presuming it's fixed rate)?

 

You have several choices, and these are in no particular order in terms of importance or what you should do:

 

1. Accept the current rate and continue on with the risk of them wanting to continue to hire you because your rate is cheap - and also possibly burning you out.

 

2. Renegotiate to a higher rate - has another risk of them closing the contract and leaving poor feedback (but, we all risk that by accepting contracts in the first place). 

 

3. Turn down the job completely - same risk as above - and agree to close the contract if they don't want to pay you more and you don't want to move forward with option 1.

 

4. You can also refund them the money they've paid you thus far to avoid any negative public feedback, but they will be prompted to leave private feedback.

 

I'm not in translation, I'm a writer and editor. Perhaps one of the magnificent and experienced freelance translators can advise you more specifically.

 

The minute you click that "accept" button on an Upwork contract, no matter what you decide, the client will always be prompted to leave private feedback to close a contract whether or not money has been exchanged (unless Upwork changes that at some point in the future - which I doubt). 

tta192
Community Guru
Andrei T Member Since: Aug 30, 2016
3 of 10

Why do you say your rate would change in the middle of the contract ? You accepted a job for a fixed price, you delivered the result, the contract should have ended. 

If they want you to do another job, you should ask them to close the old contract first, and create another. So you should both leave & receive feedback separately for each of the two jobs.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
4 of 10

@Andrei T wrote:

Why do you say your rate would change in the middle of the contract ? You accepted a job for a fixed price, you delivered the result, the contract should have ended. 

If they want you to do another job, you should ask them to close the old contract first, and create another. So you should both leave & receive feedback separately for each of the two jobs.


It doesn't always work that way. 

 

Sometimes, clients want to extend the milestones on a current contract - which can be done...they just need to add milestones. 

 

That's why she needs to discuss the schematics with her client. 

i_pokorny
Active Member
Ioan Anton P Member Since: Feb 11, 2015
5 of 10

You shouldn't lie to him that you don't have time.

 

If you have completed the requested tasks (and I assume he is pleased with the results because he wants to continue), tell him that you enjoyed the experience and would like to keep providing him the results but you can't go with the current given the actual hands-on time it is taking.

 

Also, it's a big difference. Is the contract ended and want to start another or you just completed just a milestone and need to do more under the same agreement?

 

If you completed the first contract and it's about a new one, you are much better of discussing with him this rather than telling him you are busy.

- If you tell him you are busy, it is gone.

- If you tell him you want to re-evaluate terms, you still have a chance to continue working for a much more desired rate.

 

Hovewer if you are in the middle of the contract, you definetely need to discuss with him and try to find a middling solution. Othervise dumping your client mid-project could affect your profile rating a lot and make it very difficult to get new contracts.

browersr
Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
6 of 10

The way you are wording it, your previous work with this client is finished.  This either means the contract is closed and they wish to open a new one or the contract remain open and they want to add a new milestone.  

 

For the former it is not so much a re-negotiation as a new one.  This is a new contract and as such can be priced at whatever you wish and the client is free to take it or not.  Don't tell them you are too busy if you aren't.  Give them the price you feel is fair and either they walk away (which leaves you in the same spot as if you told them you were busy) or they accept and you have a new contract at a price you are happy with.  

 

If this is a new milestone then the problem is greater.  Much will depend on how the job offer was written and what you agreed to.  Since you said "work with me again" this seems like something new.  As such I would first ask them politely to close the previous job since it is complete by the terms you agreed to.  After see the paragraph above for the next step.  If they refuse then you should see about getting out gracefully.  Otherwise you will wind up in a never-ending cycle of low paid work for this client.  Not worth it.

cupidmedia
Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
7 of 10

Estelle, your post is a bit confusing. It's hard to tell if you're talking about changing your rate in the middle of an existing, ongoing contract, or changing your rate with a client you've worked with before who wants to start a new contract.

 

If you're talking about an existing, ongoing contract:

Regardless of if the contract is hourly or fixed price, explain that due to the nature of the work being different to what you initially expected, you'd like to negotiate your rate. For an hourly contract, the client can choose to increase your rate. For a fixed-price contract, you can ask they increase the next milestone.

 

If you're talking about a new contract with a past client:

Explain that your rates have changed over time and that your new rate is $X. If they're not happy with it then they can go with a different freelancer. Otherwise they can hire you at your new rate.

erepole
Ace Contributor
Estelle R Member Since: Feb 12, 2017
8 of 10

Hi ! Thank you so much for your answers ! 

Indeed, it wasn't very clear: I accepted one task for one milestone. Once finished, the client just told that he's satisfyed and would have more work for me if I'm interested. I'm not really dumping him in the middle of something since he didin't mention at the beginning that there would be more work.

But he contract isn't closed yet. So I fear that if I tell him that I'm not ok with the rate anymore, he might think that it's quite unprofessional. I'l still new on Upwork so one bad comment would basically be the end.

Also, I noticed that transcriptions are in general very badly paid, does someone know the average rate on Upwork? When I look around, I feel that I don't really have a chance to get a higher price, since others work for less. Translations are not extremely well paid either but still better. And transcription are actually hard word, so much more than I expected...

elastella
Community Guru
Ela K Member Since: Feb 9, 2015
9 of 10

"I never did this kind of work before so I didn't realise that I accepted a low fixed price."

"And transcription are actually hard word, so much more than I expected..."

 

 

Estelle, don't take this the wrong way - but you have now told us twice that you want to raise your rate for doing something you have never done before. Taking on jobs without any kind of experience in the task you're supposed to perform is just not a very good concept. And not very professional, either.

 

Instead of worrying about appearing unprofessional for upping your rate maybe focus on what kind of professional services you actually can offer before thinking about how much you can charge for them?

erepole
Ace Contributor
Estelle R Member Since: Feb 12, 2017
10 of 10

Yes, that's true. The contract was about swiss german audio transcripted to german, so I just thought that I can actually do that since it's kind of similar to a translation.And it wasn't complicated to do, it just took so long. Around three times more than the audio.

I calculated the price on my hourly rate but it might not make sense. 

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