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Client cancelled the fixed price contract.

Hi Everyone,

I would need some assisstance here from the community regarding the below case.

1) Initially on Monday 21st March i was sent a contract offer which I accepted on Tuesday 22nd March. The client posted a job for 3D model of smart city but then as suggested by me I requested him to break the ongoing project into milestones.
So for the first milestone he created a new job post(because he thought this was easy for him) , for which I was hired.

He asked for the first concept within 2~3 days time and below are some details:
That there should be 5 zones in the city, all his requirements were not documented so I decided to write all of them down in one pdf file.
He did not specified any number of villas , or for any other building. No road rules were provided neither was there any specific requirements from his side, in fact I kept on asking him for details in the first zoom meeting. I even guided him on how to use the Upwork platform. After the discussion I asked him repeatedly for any drawn to scale requirements, on which he said he just wants the concept and not the details. As per his requirements and to divide area into zones and each zone to be circular with an artificial water stream. Considering all his details I came up with the first draft.
Then he added requirements and much more details , I have all of them written:
Total number of villas to be around 30K
Total area for residential buildings
Maximum radius of area without a mosque
Road sizes.
Distance to be left from the main road.
Total area which can be used for construction
Sizes of villa to be divided into two ; A)600 msquare and B) 1000msqaure.
Area for one residential building.
So I even kept on asking for any other and specific requirements which he told me on zoom meeting,
He cancelled the water stream and wanted it to be replaced by another idea, which I provided him with that is to have a cycling path replaced with the water stream, on which He agreed but then he cancelled out this requirement. Since the project was for 2D layout of the smart city, so he added more further details like the road hierarchy. I did not shy away from any of this since I am a professional, I even guided him on how the road linking and networks work, he had no idea about the cost of construction and engineering sense.


2) I did my second submission on 28th March 2022, considering the feedback from our last meeting. For some reason he did not like the work and cancelled the contract, though i agreed to provide him two revisions. All he said was that I wasted his time which is not the case, my time energy and resource have been wasted as well. i could have engaged myself on another project. Instead of providing any feedback on the second submission he ended the contract. All this time he has been changing his requirements and adding details. I never told him that I need more money for adding details or for any revision. I have been very polite throughout my conversations and on zoom. In the end he came up with an idea that the city should not contain any junction(he called it a cross), 4 way roads are a feature of any city in the world. I can not understand what I should do next. Note: I submitted my first and second draft by attaching the files through the message feature of upwork.

Kindly help me out in the above context and I would be really thankful to you. It's not even about the money, sometimes you put in so much effort on a project so did I.

Many Thanks,
Hadia Khalid

Community Member

Obviously the client behavior you are describing is preposterous.


But you can not control what other people do.

You can only control what you do.


You are an honorable person. Perhaps that became a weakness in this situation, because you did not imagine that a client would behave dishonorably.


But now you know what can happen. You should use this experience to help you change YOUR behavior in the future.


In the future:

Make sure every fixed-price task agreement is completely clear. Specify that there will be no revisions, or specify a limited number and total time that may be spent on revisions (e.g., 30 minutes).


Do not agree to do ANYTHING outside of the original task agreement.


If a client wants something done outside of the original task agreement, require the client to release all escrow money, close the contract, and set up an hourly contract. Or require the client to release all escrow money and create a new, fully funded milestone.

Hi Preston,

Many Thanks for your prompt reply, Yes you are right, this is a learning curve for me. Can you suggest me on what to do next since the clients funds are still in escrow. Does the dispute option will help me get funds ? if yes then are there any tips that you can share here with everyone and what about the feedback from the client.

This community is grateful to have guru's like you.

What to do next?


I recommend reading this:



Dispute the non-release of a milestone payment.


It is important to understand that the money in escrow is supposed to go to you (the freelancer). A client can not simply "cancel" a fixed-price contract and click a button to unilaterally get the escrow money back. The freelancer needs to agree to refund escrow money back to the client.


I don't know the details of your situation.

But one possibility is to offer a compromise.

For example, if the client simply wants to end things, then the freelancer can offer to refund half of the money in escrow, and in return the client will not use the work or ask the freelancer to do anything else on the project.

(This is a generic example.)

Yeah this document was of immense help to know how the dispute works, Your suggestion is quite realistic and I hope my client accepts a compromize here. I am positive things will work out for me, and I will share my experience here with everyone so others can benefit from this too.

Community Member

I would dispute this contract. He can't just cancel the contract without any payment. 

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