danielmbcn
Member

Client asks me for free work and I want to close my contract

Hi there,

 

This is my situation right now:

 

1) I have an open fixed-price contract but I haven't received any payment yet (I think this might be an important factor to consider upon closing or not my contract).

 

2) At the beginning, client asked me to do some tweaks on his website. I have completed them and I did some other tweaks beyond.

3) Client asked me for some changes over those tweaks and again I completed them.


4) At this point I already knew what kind of client I have here (and I will explain you shortly why). My priority is to close this contract and block this client on Upwork, Skype and Whatsapp (he even wants to call me at night when I'm busy with my personal life; and yes, I already told him that I want to stick to email communication, but he doesn't listen). 

5) At this point my single priority is to close this contract without damaging my JSS, so I invented a silly excuse in order to make him to close my contract by himself this week (and to leave me some review if he was happy with my work, of course) and to open a new one. Of course, my plan was to block him right after he closed the contract and to run away from him.

6) But after my request, now he asks me for other unrelated changes and more additions to his website and I asked him for a new milestone, referring to my hourly rate. His response is "we kindly ask that the additonal charges on this occasion overlooked and therefore waived" (textual words).

7) I'm familiar with this story. He expects me to patiently complete all his requests for the ridiculous amount of money that he offered me from the beginning (and that he hasn't delivered it yet, by the way). And of course I will have to do it if I don't want my JSS to be damaged by a bad feedback, right?

Some context: during the interview, I already didn't like at all this client's attitude; he was trying to trick me for paying me less money (because he wanted to have a "long-term relationship" with me). I was stupid and I accepted his request because "I may be wrong judging someone at first sight", specially when I read all his previous reviews and all them were positive. 

Nevertheless, now when I look at his profile with more detail, I see he has 10 jobs in his history and he has only spent $100+. This should be a hint.

Plus, he has a "Payment Method not verified". How is that possible if it appears that he has paid (a ridiculous amount, by the way) to his previous contractors? Anyway... lesson learned: I won't let me trick that easily the next time and I will look more carefully at the numbers.

Now, what should I do? Can I close the contract myself without harming my JSS (I haven't received any payment yet). I don't care about money: it was a ridiculous amount of money anyway (two-digits number, if you are wondering). On the beginning he told me that it was going to be from two or three hours of work, but of course it has been more than that. And now he wants me to work for free, literally. 

How to proceed? I don't want to work anymore for him. I don't care about his money. I only want to block him and to keep my JSS as if nothing would have happened. What are my possibilities?

 

Moderators, I will deliver any private info about client and emails, if required. Thank you.

14 REPLIES 14
prestonhunter
Member

Daniel: I believe a certain percentage of clients are psychologically incapable of understanding the fixed-price contract model.

 

It does not mean they are bad people. They may not even be "bad clients." But they ARE clients for whom fixed-price contracts are entirely inappropriate. For clients such as these, only hourly contracts will work.

 

I think you are encountering one such client. It is not fun, and it is one of the most difficult challenges Upwork freelancers face.

 

If, as you say, you just want out of this and don't care about the money any more, you could tell the client:

 

"Jerry:

Thank you again for the opportunity to work on this project. I need to move on and it is time to close the current project. If you would like to release payment and take ownership of the work, then you may do so. If you would like to pay nothing, then we can close the contract, refund the full amount to you, and I will retain ownership of the work. I would like to feature this as an item in my portfolio. So I am confortable with either decision you make. Please feel free to take until the end of the day to decide which option will work best for you."

Hi Preston,


As usual I agree with your thoughts, and I also think that the fixed-price contract is misunderstood by many people; that's why hourly-rate contracts are always my favourite option.

Definitely I will send him the text you propose, it's awesome and very clear. Thank you, you are good at writing! 🙂

By the way:

 

  • "Plus, he has a "Payment Method not verified". How is that possible if it appears that he has paid (a ridiculous amount, by the way) to his previous contractors? "

That means his account is suspended.... If it stays suspended the contract will not affect your JSS anyway as contracts from suspended clients are excluded, so you may not even have to use your perk


@Petra R wrote:

By the way:

 

  • "Plus, he has a "Payment Method not verified". How is that possible if it appears that he has paid (a ridiculous amount, by the way) to his previous contractors? "

That means his account is suspended.... If it stays suspended the contract will not affect your JSS anyway as contracts from suspended clients are excluded, so you may not even have to use your perk


Whaaat? 😮  But how could he hire me with a suspended account? Also, you say "if it stays suspended the contract will not affect your JSS"; so if at some moment his account is restored, my contract will count again, or it will be excluded forever, regardless the state of my client's account?

 

(I'm sorry for so many questions)

petra_r
Member

Daniel, seriously...... I mean this with all due respect and much affection.... but 

 

Man the hell up!

 

you need to learn to say no by saying yes to out of scope work.

 

"Hi Jim, those extras sound like a great idea, let's do that. The cost will be $ XXX, why don't you go ahead and finalise the current milestone so you can set up the new one?"

 

Clearly with this client and this situation it is too late, but use that approach next time at the first whiff of out of scope nonsense.

 

do not roll over like a limp dishcloth and let the client walk all over you!.

 

you are top rated. FIRE that client's backside with a nice polite note, wait what, if any impact the whole thing has on your JSS and then use your top rated perk of removing the impact from your JSS.

 

And grow some backbone or you'll get eaten alive...

 

oh and in future, if your gut tells you at the interview that it will end badly, BELIEVE it

Hi Petra,

 

You are totally right. To be honest I have always had some difficulty to say 'no' in general, even outside of Upwork... and I always end up doing concessions. Definitely I have to change that and to be more strict with what I consider right and not.

 

Thank you, you encourage me! 

 

By the way, I didn't know that I could remove an impact from my JSS. How that works? Should I wait he leaves me a feedback and I will be able to remove it manually? And my JSS will be restored back to its previous state? Sounds too good to be real, hehe. Maybe I misunderstood something here.


@Daniel M wrote:

 

 

By the way, I didn't know that I could remove an impact from my JSS. How that works? Should I wait he leaves me a feedback and I will be able to remove it manually? And my JSS will be restored back to its previous state? Sounds too good to be real, hehe. Maybe I misunderstood something here.



If you have trouble outright saying "No" (I get it) then use the "Say no by saying yes" trick I outlined previously.


Yes, if you are top rated (and you are) you can remove the impact and (optionally) feedback of One contract every 3 months / 10 contracts from your profile and JSS. Here is how you do it IF YOU NEED TO!

 

However, it looks like your client is suspended anyway (payment method showing as unverified) and contracts with suspended clients don't count - so wait and see what happens.

 

But fire client anyway. Life's too short for bad wine, bad horses and bad clients.

That's a very interesting perk!

 

Definitely I will fire this client, and I cross my fingers so that I don't have to use this perk, so I can still count on it in the future 🙂

 

So since his account is suspended, is it safe to click the "End contract" button now?

Why don't you try out your newfound brave-pants on him first?

 

If the funds are in Escrow click on the "Submit work and request payment" button and see what happens. Use Preston's email and wait. Do **NOT** do any further work.

 

The client could not fund an additional milestone even if they wanted to (and they don't) because of the payment method hickup...

 

 

Work submitted and email sent. I will come with updates as soon as I have news, and again thank you very much for your help 🙂 Hopefully tonight there will be good wine, hehe.

So he has answered:

 

____

 

(*) This is regarding that cheap excuse I pointed out in my first post, for forcing him to close the contract this same week. But I told him that after I made his tweaks, not before.

Also, when submitting the work I attached a recap of all the requests he asked me to do at the beginning and the ones made later too (screenshots included as well). 

The "following modifications" he refers in his last sentence are the ones which are unrelated to what we agreed on the beginning. 

I think I won't convince him to pay, so I'm not sure how to proceed. Yes, I'm firing him. I just don't know if I should report him or if I just have to close the contract myself (he is suspended anyway, so my JSS shouldn't change for that).

PD: I had a good wine anyway 🙂

Daniel, it depends on what is in Escrow and whether you want that money or not.

 

The client is not able to pay you more money if their financial account is suspended. That also means that **CURRENTLY** whatever they do would not affect your JSS. However, if they subsequently fix their account it will, even months down the line.

 

I don't know how much money is involved, but if it isn't much I'd simply end the contract (with a polite note) which sends the money back and walk away.

 

Then wait if there is an impact and use the perk if it is the case.

 

From this morning he had a verified payment again, but I finished the contract anyway and I basically explained him that I'm not here to work for free.

I guess I will have to use my perk...


@Daniel M wrote:

From this morning he had a verified payment again, but I finished the contract anyway and I basically explained him that I'm not here to work for free.

I guess I will have to use my perk...


Wait and see what, if any, impact it has on your JSS first.....