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pcvasconcellos
Community Member

Client Won't End Contract

Hi everyone!

 

So, I worked with this lovely client on a short fixed price contract a while ago, and though everything went well - I have delivered, he has payed, everyone's happy - he won't end the contract.

 

I already wrote him and asked if there was anything else to be done, and if not, if he could please end our contract. He hasn't answered me, though he has answered other questions (about using the work on my portfolio), so he is active on UpWork and he does see my messages.

 

I don't want to keep nagging him about this, so, what happens if I end the contract myself? Is there a punishment for leaving a contract open but innactive? Any tips on how to approach the subject again with him, if necessary?

 

Thanks a lot guys, cheers!

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
browersr
Community Member

One additional thing you can try before closing it yourself.  When you ask the client to close it you can indicate that an unused contract remaining open for long periods impacts your success score on this site.  You don't need to say a lot on this topic but some clients don't understand why it may matter.  Say it nicely and move on if no response.  There's no harm and the benefit is that they will understand that there can be negative implications to you and therefore may not blow off the request as incidental.  In the few times I have had to make mention, the client then always closed it with some comment about not knowing that could happen.  Not saying that will happen here but it's worth a try especially if the client were happy.

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57 REPLIES 57
prestonhunter
Community Member

You can just close it.

 

If you close your own contracts and get zero feedback once in a while, it doesn't hurt. Just don't make it a habit.

browersr
Community Member

One additional thing you can try before closing it yourself.  When you ask the client to close it you can indicate that an unused contract remaining open for long periods impacts your success score on this site.  You don't need to say a lot on this topic but some clients don't understand why it may matter.  Say it nicely and move on if no response.  There's no harm and the benefit is that they will understand that there can be negative implications to you and therefore may not blow off the request as incidental.  In the few times I have had to make mention, the client then always closed it with some comment about not knowing that could happen.  Not saying that will happen here but it's worth a try especially if the client were happy.

Something that I have done many times when a client won't end the contract... I just keep working.

 

This does NOT WORK with fixed-price contracts, of course.

 

But with hourly contracts, if I have done everything that the client asked AND asked the client to close the contract, and he hasn't closed it...

 

Then I send suggestions about what can be done next, and tell them if they want me to keep working, then they can keep the contract open. The problem with this is it isn't really a "solution," because it means I keep working. I get paid, so that's good. But it takes a lot of effort for this to really get a contract closed. Because most of my clients have said that my ideas were good ideas, and they continued to agree to the suggestions.

 

So sometimes we end up just working on the project until it's perfected as much as we can possibly get it, before the contract is finally closed.

 

But if the client is on a tight budget, the contract gets closed pretty quickly.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Patricia,

 

In addition to the advice you've already received from our experienced users, you might want to inform your client about the instructions for closing your contract (click on the Jobs tab > click My Jobs > select End contract from the Actions menu) and assure them they could rehire you in a few easy steps if they need your services again.

 

If they don't respond after that, you can close the contract yourself. The client will be notified and still have the opportunity to leave their feedback, but even if they don't this contract won't affect your Job Success Score negatively unless you have a pattern of contracts without feedback.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

Thanks, everyone!

 

I will try to talk to him once more, if it doesn't work I will close it myself.

stagg100
Community Member

It's all good saying close the contract yourself but then you have 'no feedback given which I think is a deterant in itself.

gergely84
Community Member

Hello! I also have this problem. Can you help me, please? ๐Ÿ™‚

I have 2 contracts which are not yet ended. One is a 5 dollar contract. I have been paid the 5 dollars, but the client is unresponsive and does not end the contract. The other one is tricky.

The other contract has been suspended and put on hold by Upwork, and the client did not end it. He did pay me, though. My question is: Can I end both of these contracts, even the one which is suspended/put on hold?

Thank you for your help.

Gergely.


Gergely-Gyorgy S wrote:

One is a 5 dollar contract. I have been paid the 5 dollars, but the client is unresponsive and does not end the contract. The other one is tricky.

The other contract has been suspended and put on hold by Upwork, and the client did not end it. He did pay me, though.


Sure! But I would close them one at a time. The suspended one first (if that suspension looks permanent) and wait a couple of successfully completed contracts, then close the other.

 

They are not hurting you in any way, so it really does not matter.

Hi Petra! Thank you for your help. I will do what you said. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

lascap_01
Community Member

That "end contract" system is a real pain

Why don't you inform clients and freelancers about ending contract BEFORE THEY DO!!!!

i lost nearly 10% of my JSS before noticing it was damaging my profile for good

...so random

 

 

 


@Pascal S wrote:

i lost nearly 10% of my JSS before noticing it was damaging my profile for good

 

 


 It is not "for good!"

 

The "visible" no feedback contracts will fall out of at least the 12 month window in november. As they are outside the 6 month window it also means if they DO still count against your JSS your 6 month window is worse than the window that includes them....

Whatever the time frame, ending a contract without posting a feedback should not count on our JSS

its not representing the client opinion about a freelancer, if a client is unhappy about a freelancer he will take the time to express his opinion no need to create a feedback for him...

Upwork takes the opposite stance to "no news is good news" - if the client is not actively singing your praises, Upwork interprets this to mean they're not happy. How accurate that interpretation is, is not really the issue. You know how it works. You can see the client's job history to see if they have a habit of not leaving feedback. You can choose to not work with them if you're concerned.

 We have soo much to stress for as freelancers , no need to add those glitchy assets 

 

this system is reaylly painful . i have a lot of cistomers who never replied when i asked them kindly to close the contract. And they never do! I read that it is bad for our jss so in dont close them but why keeping the contract opened so long time ??? 

petra_r
Community Member


@Olivier P wrote:

 i have a lot of cistomers who never replied when i asked them kindly to close the contract. And they never do! I read that it is bad for our jss so in dont close them but why keeping the contract opened so long time ??? 


 Stale contracts (inactive for a long time) will hurt your JSS as well. You are better off closing them a few at a time.

 

Managing contracts and clients from pre-hire to post-delivery is part of running your own freelancing business.

motyduke
Community Member


@Petra R wrote:

@Olivier P wrote:

 i have a lot of cistomers who never replied when i asked them kindly to close the contract. And they never do! I read that it is bad for our jss so in dont close them but why keeping the contract opened so long time ??? 


 Stale contracts (inactive for a long time) will hurt your JSS as well. You are better off closing them a few at a time.

 

Managing contracts and clients from pre-hire to post-delivery is part of running your own freelancing business.


 OK ! Managing them  ?? Are you kidding me ? I have a lot of client who come , give a job, never reply when you send the job done, never approved the milestone or the job done ( you have to wait 2 weeks to be approved by upwork) , never say thanks, and when i write to them many times to close the contract , i hear no sound ! Of course they are not all the same . But for many one quick job contract it is like that. I cannot understant why if a contarct is open since 9 months with no activity , it woulb lowering you jss, ou if you close it. It is a silly rule

 

For managing, i manage well the customers who talk, write, answer.... the other ones , how can i do ??? 

petra_r
Community Member


@Olivier P wrote:

 Stale contracts (inactive for a long time) will hurt your JSS as well. You are better off closing them a few at a time.

 

Managing contracts and clients from pre-hire to post-delivery is part of running your own freelancing business.


 OK ! Managing them  ?? Are you kidding me ? I have a lot of client who come , give a job, never reply when you send the job done, never approved the milestone or the job done ( you have to wait 2 weeks to be approved by upwork) , never say thanks.


 No, I am not kidding you. My clients don't do that.

 

Managing contracts and clients from pre-start (and that includes choosing who to work with in the first place) to post ending is part of running your business. We work in the same general area. If I can do it, you can.

 

It's not rocket science.

 

OF COURSE there will be an occasional contract without feedback, but "a few" won't hurt you, only if there is a pattern or a significant percentage..


@Olivier P wrote:

 

For managing, i manage well the customers who talk, write, answer.... the other ones , how can i do ??? It is a silly rule


I agree 100%. I have many customers who really only have a job every 3 or 6 months. Why should their contracts not stay open? Very smooth and easy. I once had a customer who was recovering from an accident. He could not work that much. Sometimes it took him a few weeks to answer. It would be a MUCH better customer service to just leave the contracts running so they can give me some work whenever they have it than me bothering them, if they could please close the contract for the sole reason that my JSS will get hurt by some senseless Upwork rule.
How is bothering clients a better customer service than just be there for them? Spare them the hussle of closing and reopening contracts is the better customer service in this case so I must conclude that the "customer service score" has a misleading name. Customers see mine and think that I don't have their interest in mind, when in fact the low score originated from just that: That I am a service minded person with their interest in mind. 
I have already explained in another thread how my having their interest in mind hurt my JSS. 

 

I work hard to please clients with the work that I do, and I also work hard to minimize stale contracts... Open contracts which have no work being done on them.

 

A lot of the posters in this thread are philosophers. They talk about how things should be, and about what is fair. I guess I am more of a mercenary. I study how the system works and use my knowledge of the system to maintain a high Job Success Score.

 

I am not a better freelancer or a better person than the philosophers. But I have a higher Job Success Score than the freelancers who close too many jobs without receiving feedback or who maintain too many moribund contracts.

Or to say it in short: How is bothering clients with non work related stuff like closing contracts a better customer service than NOT bothering them with non work related stuff?

 

And if bothering clients with non work related stuff is NOT the best customer service, how come that people with a habit of doing so get better JSSes than those refusing bothering their clients with silly Upwork rules without any relation to the job that the client wanted to get done? 

 

I seriously think something is wrong here. It should be called "SCBS" for "Selfish Client Bothering Score"

 

ETA: renaming the JSS to SCBS would end the confusion on the clients' side who nearly all believe that the JSS has a relation to the service that they will get from the respective freelancer, when in fact it is at least partly (concerning the bothering for closing inactive contracts, not closing contracts without payment etc) just exactly the opposite.  


@Gerald H wrote:

Or to say it in short: How is bothering clients with non work related stuff like closing contracts a better customer service than NOT bothering them with non work related stuff?

 

And if bothering clients with non work related stuff is NOT the best customer service, how come that people with a habit of doing so get better JSSes than those refusing bothering their clients with silly Upwork rules without any relation to the job that the client wanted to get done? 

 

I seriously think something is wrong here. It should be called "SCBS" for "Selfish Client Bothering Score"


 How utterly ridiculous.


Who suggested "bothering clients?"  Obviously "bothering clients" is unlikely to result in a great outcome.

 

The trick is to manage contracts and clients in such a way that there is absolutely no NEED to "bother" your clients.

 

If you have to "bother" them you need to work on the way you manage your contracts.

 

I can swear blind that I have never ONCE "bothered" a client to end a contract, EVER.


@Petra R wrote:

@Gerald H wrote:

Or to say it in short: How is bothering clients with non work related stuff like closing contracts a better customer service than NOT bothering them with non work related stuff?

 

And if bothering clients with non work related stuff is NOT the best customer service, how come that people with a habit of doing so get better JSSes than those refusing bothering their clients with silly Upwork rules without any relation to the job that the client wanted to get done? 

 

I seriously think something is wrong here. It should be called "SCBS" for "Selfish Client Bothering Score"


 How utterly ridiculous.


Who suggested "bothering clients?"  Obviously "bothering clients" is unlikely to result in a great outcome.

 

The trick is to manage contracts and clients in such a way that there is absolutely no NEED to "bother" your clients.

 

If you have to "bother" them you need to work on the way you manage your contracts.

 

I can swear blind that I have never ONCE "bothered" a client to end a contract, EVER.


Hahaha! How completely rediculous!

What has a client to do with closing contracts? How do you call stealing his precious time to do Upwork administrative tasks like these for you where he has NO ADDED VALUE for himself in doing so? This IS bothering.  And it IS ridiculous. You probably never felt stupid, explaining WHY your client should close the contract because of an Upwork rule that nobody understands and which is none of his business but only affects YOUR JSS. Your answer shows how service minded you really are and what the JSS is really worth and how it is misleading.   


@Gerald H wrote:

 

Hahaha! How completely rediculous!

1)  You probably never felt stupid, explaining WHY your client should close the contract because of an Upwork rule that nobody understands and which is none of his business but only affects YOUR JSS.

 

2) Your answer shows how service minded you really are and what the JSS is really worth and how it is misleading.   


 1) No, I have never felt stupid explaining that because I never HAVE explained it. Why would I beg or explain?

 

2) It shows how "service minded" I am? How so? The way to judge how "service minded" I am is to take a look at what my clients say about my service.....

 

Apart from that, a few dormant contracts, or a few contracts closed without feedback, do NOT hurt your JSS. You can see the proof for that on Olivier's profile. He has a huge number of dormant and old contracts and a 10% JSS.


People LOVE using dead or "no feedback" contracts as an excuse for low JSS - when the real reasons are often / usually elsewhere.


@Petra R wrote:

@Gerald H wrote:

 

Hahaha! How completely rediculous!

1)  You probably never felt stupid, explaining WHY your client should close the contract because of an Upwork rule that nobody understands and which is none of his business but only affects YOUR JSS.

 

2) Your answer shows how service minded you really are and what the JSS is really worth and how it is misleading.   


 1) No, I have never felt stupid explaining that because I never HAVE explained it. Why would I beg or explain?

 

2) It shows how "service minded" I am? How so?


 2) It is very easy. Not to waste the client's time to do your administrative stuff - like closing contracts - for you would be the better service for the client. Doing the job for your client and taking care of the administrative Upwork stuff yourself would be the best for the client because it would spare his precious time. 
Only that the requirement to maintain a high JSS doesn't allow us to be this service-minded. We have to make him work. If with explanation or without, if you call it bothering or not is all beneath the point. Fact is: "Managing a contract" in your sense means making the client waste his time for things, you could easily do yourself and which have no value for him but only for you. 
This could be avoided by changing the rules of calculating the JSS concerning these points. You are obviously opposing these changes which only leaves me with the explanation that you would like the system to go on as it is which is wasting the clients' time which is not service-minded in my view. 

Ok, so how long does a contract have to be innactive before it impacts your JSS?


@Patricia V wrote:

Ok, so how long does a contract have to be innactive before it impacts your JSS?


 They won't tell us exactly, but it looks like "quite a while" and also like it doesn't necessarily affect you at all when there there are only a few.

 

Look at Olivier's profile - he has 30 jobs in progress of which surely many have been inactive for quite a while, and he has a JSS of 100%.

 

It is the same with contracts that close without feedback. They ONLY affect you if there is a significant percentage of them.

 

This makes freelancers with few jobs more vulnerable to fluctuations, but once you have a solid base you do have quite a safety net.

Wow. How lucky for those of you that don't have to bother clients. I guess you've never had (the very very common) client who literally dissapears into thin air. The client who doesn't respond to tasks when you are actively working on his/her project. The client who is just "too busy" to deal with it but expects you to drop everything and work when he/she finally decides to send an email. Clients like this are all over Upwork and it's one of the most infuriating things (JSS is a close second!) about working on Upwork.

 

Make sure you close out those contracts immediately the SECOND you believe they will become non-responsive. It's an easy to recognize pattern that emerges. I've been on Upwork since it was oDesk and it wil always be plauged with non-responsive clients. I have been billing another client 10 minutes a month to keep things active. It's so much more work on my part and a total waste of my time. Inactive contracts WILL hurt your JSS-- I went from 100% to 77% because of this! It's outragious that we are held responsible for it but that's just the way it is.


@Tilly P wrote:

Wow. How lucky for those of you that don't have to bother clients. I guess you've never had (the very very common) client who literally dissapears into thin air. The client who doesn't respond to tasks when you are actively working on his/her project. The client who is just "too busy" to deal with it but expects you to drop everything and work when he/she finally decides to send an email. Clients like this are all over Upwork and it's one of the most infuriating things (JSS is a close second!) about working on Upwork.

 

Make sure you close out those contracts immediately the SECOND you believe they will become non-responsive. It's an easy to recognize pattern that emerges. I've been on Upwork since it was oDesk and it wil always be plauged with non-responsive clients. I have been billing another client 10 minutes a month to keep things active. It's so much more work on my part and a total waste of my time. Inactive contracts WILL hurt your JSS-- I went from 100% to 77% because of this! It's outragious that we are held responsible for it but that's just the way it is.


Clients like this are part of freelancing in general, certainly not just on Upwork. Goes with the territory.

 

It takes about 90 days for inactive contracts to ding JSS, speaking from experience. I time it so that I close them periodically, in the same JSS calculation period as other contracts with feedback. I used to bill 10 minutes per month when contracts were suspended automatically for no payment within 30 days and I knew there was more work coming, but Upwork quietly changed that policy awhile back and it's no longer necessary.

841d4127
Community Member

Hi Petra, My client is not responding to my messages and it has been 1 and half month. He has $400 as a Budget(shown in contract stats) and paid me $100 for first milestone and there is $300 shown in "Remaining" for tasks which I have not been assigned yet. I want to ask if I end the contract then would it affect my JSS negatively? my current JSS is 100%.

Thank You!

f3a8ecdc
Community Member

There is a punisemnet for ending your contracts. ie. Job success score, I ave had similar experience recently with 2 clients who seemed to be happy with my job but refused to end the contract even after asking them several times. I don't know why they have suddenly decided not to end contracts.

Oh sole mio!!

 

So...when I have finished the work, uploaded it, and before hitting the 'submit' button, I tell the client...Hi, Joe! Sending you the completed document! Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance! Could you also be so kind as to end the contract if there are no revisions needed? I would really appreciate your assistance.

 

It works MOST of the time. If I get no reply after a week or so, and once my moolah is sitting with me, I might send a follow-up...

 

Hi, Joe! Seeing as you never got back to me on this, I take it all is well! Could you do me a favor and close the contract, please?

 

Nothing further.....I close it. End of the story. Over and out. Move on....

Re: keeping a job open because customers come back every three or so months.

 

Ooooh I have those too!!!! Wonderful to have! Especially since, after each job, they close it and leave a great rating and a great comment!

youngscott
Community Member

FORWARD THIS TO WHO EVER MAKES 
DECISIONS ON CHANGES THINGS ON UPWORK
 
Yes, I am psst!!! And will keep sending these messages through until UpWork gives Freelancers more control of 
projects.
 
Again, Client do not have time to:
โ€ข Close out projects
โ€ข Not Always give feedback even if you did an awesome job
 
Most freelancers know how the site works better then clients, so they should be able to CLOSE out a project and have it pop up on the client's side to give them a push to complete the transaction! 
 
I ASK YOU WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT FIXING THIS!!!???
 
Here is on of many projects, where I emailed the client after completing the project. I said, "Glad the project worked out successfully and feel free to close out the project since it is not completed."
 
see attached image

This is what the client stated. If a freelancer could Close out a project and have window pop up on the client's side where they HAD TO CLOSE OUT THE PROJECT this would work!
 
โ€ข Projects would close out  and not hang on
โ€ข Payment would be completed
โ€ข They could not get out of this pop up window without leaving comments
โ€ข The Freelancer would be helping the Clients with the Admin details of the projects, since Clients are busy with other work, traveling.
 
WHAT IS THE BIG ISSUE WITH UPWORK NOT SEEING THIS AS A POSITIVE MOVE FORWARD!!!!!

 

Scott, you already *can* close the contract. And if you do, the client gets an email notification and a notification on Upwork that the contract was closed and that they can now leave feedback. What you are demanding by shouting at the forum is already in place.

husainaa
Community Member

Is there any negative impact on the profile of a client if he just decides to leave inactive contracts open for long periods of time? If there isn't, would I be wrong to think that freelancers are at a clear disadvantage here?

Hi Husain,

Even though clients do not have profiles and JSS in the same way as freelancers do, the information about a client's completed and in-progress jobs as well as their hire rate and total paid stats is available in the 'About the Client' section of their job posts. We also flag clients with a history of pool collaboration. If a client has been flagged (or has been suspended for Terms of Service violations), then the client's feedback will not count against the score.

~Nina

Nina K wrote:

Hi Husain,
Even though clients do not have profiles and JSS in the same way as freelancers do, the information about a client's completed and in-progress jobs as well as their hire rate and total paid stats is available in the 'About the Client' section of their job posts. We also flag clients with a history of pool collaboration. If a client has been flagged (or has been suspended for Terms of Service violations), then the client's feedback will not count against the score.

Is keeping inactive contracts open for long periods of time considered poor collaboration? and does the freelancer take part in the flagging process, or is it all down to you guys?

petra_r
Community Member

For crying out loud, it is not rocket science.

 

Manage your clients and your contracts effectively, which included managingg the end of the contract.

Get client to end the contract when the work is done. If you fail to do that, you have the ability to end the contract yourself.

Every contract has a handy little button on it which enables you to do just that.

Problem solved.

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