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f22f5c82
Community Member

Client asked to work after she paused the contract

My client paused the contract (per hour) and then sent me a draft (I did it) to revise without resuming the contract. What should I do? As far as I remember, I'm not supposed to work for free. 

17 REPLIES 17
m_sharman
Community Member


Vyacheslav B wrote:

My client paused the contract (per hour) and then sent me a draft (I did it) to revise without resuming the contract. What should I do? As far as I remember, I'm not supposed to work for free. 


I believe the only path to being paid would be to request a bonus payment for the amount of time spent working (if you are hourly manual time would not be protected).

 

You may have to forget about the money.

 

That said, if the client sends you additional work, DO NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL the contract is active again.

 

If/when the contract ends, IF the client doesn't pay you for the time worked "off the clock" consider leaving it in the comments to let other freelancers know. (This advice may not be popular) 

 

 

 

 

That is great advice, Miriam.

 

As long as the client was aware she was asking for work she didn't intend to pay for, every freelancer who considers working for in the future should know about it.

prestonhunter
Community Member

Vyacheslav:

It is a violation of Upwork ToS for a client to ask a freelancer to work for free.

 

Also, it defies common sense, doesn't it? Would YOU ever do something like this?


What if you have a yard with a large lawn. It needs to be mowed every week, or you will be fined by the city. (At last that's what happens in my city!)

 

And what if you paid a teenager from the neighborhood $10 per week to mow your lawn. Would you tell him:

"Robert: I'm not going to pay you any more. I'm putting a pause on that. But you need to keep coming over and mowing the lawn every week."

 

Who would do that?

And do you think that Robert would keep mowing the lawn?

I don't know... Maybe he's really nice and feels sorry for you and keeps coming over.

But he certainly isn't obligated to. And we'll never know if he would mow your lawn for free, because you are not the kind of person who would ask him to.

petra_r
Community Member

Personally, I believe there are two types of "revisions"

 

1. Revisions that mean fixing mistakes made in the original work. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created 4 blue dogs, or 4 pinks cats with 5 legs each, or 7 stick insects. The client asked to get that changed to 5 pink cats.

 

2. Revisions that result from the client changing the scope. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created a competent drawing of 5 pink cats, the client changed their mind and decided they'd rather have 17 green ferrets in watercolour.

 

In scenario 1. the client is not being unreasonable to expect to get what they have already paid for.

In scenario 2. the client is asking for free work.

 

I once translated an article into the wrong language (my fault, wasn't paying attention) on an hourly contract. I obviously didn't expect to log the time for translating into the correct language.


Petra R wrote:

Personally, I believe there are two types of "revisions"

 

1. Revisions that mean fixing mistakes made in the original work. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created 4 blue dogs, or 4 pinks cats with 5 legs each, or 7 stick insects. The client asked to get that changed to 5 pink cats.

 

2. Revisions that result from the client changing the scope. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created a competent drawing of 5 pink cats, the client changed their mind and decided they'd rather have 17 green ferrets in watercolour.

 

In scenario 1. the client is not being unreasonable to expect to get what they have already paid for.

In scenario 2. the client is asking for free work.

 

I once translated an article into the wrong language (my fault, wasn't paying attention) on an hourly contract. I obviously didn't expect to log the time for translating into the correct language.


Good point, I was assuming scenario 2, however I should NEVER assume....particularly not on this forum!

Petra added a great point about 2 different types of "revisions."

 

A professional freelancer SHOULD be willing to fix mistakes (such as the example Petra provided) without logging time. That's good customer service. That is ethical.

 

But a professional freelancer will be able to do that without the client pausing the contract.

 

As far as assumptions about the original poster's situation:
I look at this way: The Community Forum is not the same as a dedicated Customer Support chat session between an Upwork rep and a user. Threads in the Forum are dual purpose: They can be used to answer a specific individual's questions, but also used to inform and educate other people who read them.

 

It is useful to discuss topics in a thread such as this one, even if we don't have all the details. If answers don't fully apply to the writer of a post, that person can provide additional details. But the discussion about the topic is still useful.


Petra R wrote:

Personally, I believe there are two types of "revisions"

 

1. Revisions that mean fixing mistakes made in the original work. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created 4 blue dogs, or 4 pinks cats with 5 legs each, or 7 stick insects. The client asked to get that changed to 5 pink cats.

 

2. Revisions that result from the client changing the scope. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created a competent drawing of 5 pink cats, the client changed their mind and decided they'd rather have 17 green ferrets in watercolour.

 

In scenario 1. the client is not being unreasonable to expect to get what they have already paid for.

In scenario 2. the client is asking for free work.

 

I once translated an article into the wrong language (my fault, wasn't paying attention) on an hourly contract. I obviously didn't expect to log the time for translating into the correct language.


There is a third type that every revision request I have ever received falls into--something along the lines of "These 5 pink cats look great, but I think they'd be ever cuter with eyelashes. Could you add those?"


Tiffany S wrote:


There is a third type that every revision request I have ever received falls into--something along the lines of "These 5 pink cats look great, but I think they'd be ever cuter with eyelashes. Could you add those?"


"Sure! Great idea!! Let's add  eyelashes! That would work out at $ XXX - why don't you release the the funds for the current milestone and then set up a new milestone for $ XXX for the eyelashes?"

 

 If eyelashes are not specified in the original written agreement, then a client asking for eyelashes constitutes asking for free work. Such a request can be handled politely and professionally, as Petra demonstrated.


Petra R wrote:

Tiffany S wrote:


There is a third type that every revision request I have ever received falls into--something along the lines of "These 5 pink cats look great, but I think they'd be ever cuter with eyelashes. Could you add those?"


"Sure! Great idea!! Let's add  eyelashes! That would work out at $ XXX - why don't you release the the funds for the current milestone and then set up a new milestone for $ XXX for the eyelashes?"

 


That's more of a business model question than a right way and wrong way kind of question. I include one round of revisions in my fixed price contracts, and adding eyelashes would definitely fall into that category. Honestly, even if there weren't a revision included, I probably wouldn't charge a client for the ten minutes it would take to add a couple of sentences (or eyelashes on a cat). 

 

I'm all for not working for free, but I think the advice from veterans in the forums goes a little far in the "Sure--on the heels of that complete project that took 6 hours and you paid me well for, please create a new milestone before I invest an additional six minutes in making a tiny change to the work."  There's a point at which making sure you get paid for every millisecond of work no matter how well paid you have been on the project just looks petty and unprofessional.

It's a hypothetical, used to illustrate a point.


A freelancer is welcome to use common sense and offer up great customer service.

 

But a client?

A cilent should feel dirty as sin if he asks a freelancer to work for free.

 

(Never mind the fact that asking a freelancer to work on your project for free is a bad business decision, no matter how wicked you are. Self-serving clients pay the people who work on their project, because they want the best results for the project.)


Tiffany S wrote:

Petra R wrote:

Personally, I believe there are two types of "revisions"

 

1. Revisions that mean fixing mistakes made in the original work. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created 4 blue dogs, or 4 pinks cats with 5 legs each, or 7 stick insects. The client asked to get that changed to 5 pink cats.

 

2. Revisions that result from the client changing the scope. Such as the contract was to draw 5 pink cats, the freelancer created a competent drawing of 5 pink cats, the client changed their mind and decided they'd rather have 17 green ferrets in watercolour.

 

In scenario 1. the client is not being unreasonable to expect to get what they have already paid for.

In scenario 2. the client is asking for free work.

 

I once translated an article into the wrong language (my fault, wasn't paying attention) on an hourly contract. I obviously didn't expect to log the time for translating into the correct language.


There is a third type that every revision request I have ever received falls into--something along the lines of "These 5 pink cats look great, but I think they'd be ever cuter with eyelashes. Could you add those?"

 

And do you?


 

Note that in the real world, most cats do not have eyelashes.

 

So an artist asked to draw a cat might indeed be expected to draw ears on a cat's head. But eyelashes would not be a normal thing to draw.


Preston H wrote:

Note that in the real world, most cats do not have eyelashes.

 

So an artist asked to draw a cat might indeed be expected to draw ears on a cat's head. But eyelashes would not be a normal thing to draw.


(I think) Tiffany was trying to inject a little bit of humor to the thread, that's all, but I'm now no longer sure if I'm in the real world.

Vyacheslav B wrote:

The other questions is - Am I eligible to end the contract that was paused by the client with no particular reason given to me? And how long should I wait before I can do it? I'm willing to finish the revision as it is relatively small.


You can obviously close a contract any time you like.

The client can react to that action in whatever way he or she feels is appropriate.

 

I think talking to the client so a mutually beneficial solution can be found is much better than any knee-jerk reactions.

 

In general, I believe in great customer service. Giving clients a little more than is strictly asked for is great customer service.


This could be sending an edited source text back along with the translation with a note saying "There were a couple of typos and some stray commas in the source text, so I've fixed those for you as I went along" or declining extra payment for a small out of scope task that takes literally a few minutes, when the client has already paid hundreds or thousands to me.

 

There is a fine line between "free work" and "customer service" and that fine line is different for everyone. It also depends on your rates. If you charge higher rates, you may well have already factored in a degree of "freebies" much like my favourite restaurant factors in the cost of the "free" prosecco at the start and the "free" liquors at the end of the meal.

 

I've had some incredibly kind clients and feel that being kind to such clients in return makes for a much more pleasant freelancing experience all round.


Petra R wrote:
Vyacheslav B wrote:

The other questions is - Am I eligible to end the contract that was paused by the client with no particular reason given to me? And how long should I wait before I can do it? I'm willing to finish the revision as it is relatively small.


You can obviously close a contract any time you like.

The client can react to that action in whatever way he or she feels is appropriate.

 

I think talking to the client so a mutually beneficial solution can be found is much better than any knee-jerk reactions.

 

In general, I believe in great customer service. Giving clients a little more than is strictly asked for is great customer service.


This could be sending an edited source text back along with the translation with a note saying "There were a couple of typos and some stray commas in the source text, so I've fixed those for you as I went along" or declining extra payment for a small out of scope task that takes literally a few minutes, when the client has already paid hundreds or thousands to me.

 

There is a fine line between "free work" and "customer service" and that fine line is different for everyone. It also depends on your rates. If you charge higher rates, you may well have already factored in a degree of "freebies" much like my favourite restaurant factors in the cost of the "free" prosecco at the start and the "free" liquors at the end of the meal.

 

I've had some incredibly kind clients and feel that being kind to such clients in return makes for a much more pleasant freelancing experience all round.


I agree, but it makes your reply to Tiffany's post about 'eyelashes'  look rather odd.

f22f5c82
Community Member

The other questions is - Am I eligible to end the contract that was paused by the client with no particular reason given to me? And how long should I wait before I can do it? I'm willing to finish the revision as it is relatively small but this is just a part of the project and, ironically, I'm one of the few specialists who are able to complete this type of project. (it is really that rare type related both to academic research, coding and knowledge of a thousand rules in specific field. 

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