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Client didn't pay, instead changed the milestone.

Active Member
Abhishek R Member Since: Mar 1, 2017
1 of 23

Hi,

I am stuck with a client. Now I know he is not a good client but doesn't know how to get rid of him. Here is a series of events - 

1. The client hired me with a fixed cost project saying his project is very urgent and created 4 milestones with tight schedules-  Advance, live corporate site, create e-commerce section, and one month support after project completion. I agree with them.

2. We mutually decided a theme for this WordPress project. He bought it and I implemented it. 

3. Now the twist comes, he asked for some changes which even the theme author suggested to get them done from a developer. Since this was impacting project timeline, cost and mobile responsiveness so I suggested him to go with another theme. Again we mutually discussed, decided a theme and then the same story. Somehow I accomplished what he asked for. During this we had a few calls that were as long as 2 hours, he gave me very minute changes that were almost 40 in numbers. I did that too. Later he came with more changes. I did them too. During this, I already told him that because of these changes milestone will be delayed.

Finally, he was okay, and I submitted the milestone. 

After a week of my submission, he clicked change in milestone and now he responds to me when he wants to. I informed him well in advance about my unavailability for 3 days & he was okay with it.
Now I am back, but he is not responding over his so-called urgent project.

I was not saying anything to him thinking that this milestone payment will be released & he will create a new one, however, I realized the milestone payment was not released even after 16 days so today I resubmitted it. 

 

I am worried that I have invested so much time and effort in this project, he can again change the milestone and this way it will be a ping-pong ball. Now I am sure that I don't want to work with him but how to get the money for the work done. Please guide. 

Community Guru
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
2 of 23

Definitely multiple red flags here.  You agreed to the tight timeline but did you both agree on the # of rounds of revisions?  Based on your story, no.  Expectations have to be well-defined upfront or someone (or both parties) will be unhappy.  

 

So now you're in this jam. If you correctly submitted your deliverable on Upwork then you should receive payment with 14 days.  Note the client may request a refund.  Anticipate it.  Try reaching out to the client again and be as respectful and nice as possible.  

 

Worse case scenario you may have to drop this client entirely and accept poor feedback resulting in a hit to your JSS.

 

Good luck and please keep up posted.

 

Best,

Robin

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 23

re: "The client hired me with a fixed cost project saying his project is very urgent and created 4 milestones with tight schedules"

 

if a client is SERIOUS about having a very urgent timeline... if the client is SERIOUS about having a tight schedule... Then the client should use an hourly contract - not fixed-price contracts with milestones.

 

And the client should hire multiple separate freelancers to work on the project.

 

Upwork is not a "magical box" that client can simply dictate "I want X, Y and Z done by Monday, and I'm going to pay $50 for that."

 

Life doesn't work that way. Wouldn't it be great if something like that could actually work? But life doesn't work that way, and Upwork doesn't work that way. Upwork can't guarantee a ton of work done on a shoestring budget on a tight deadline. NOBODY can guarantee that kind of thing. A FREELANCER can not actually guarantee being able to deliver that kind of thing, EVEN IF HE WANTS TO.

 

Sometimes miraculous, amazing work can be done. But nobody can guarantee that.

 

If there is a tight schedule and a lot of work to be done, you may need more than one person to make that happen. And you may need more than a shoestring budget.

 

Screen Shot 2019-08-16 at 9.16.50 AM.png

Active Member
Abhishek R Member Since: Mar 1, 2017
4 of 23

Hi Preston,

 

Thanks, your inputs are very practical and certainly going to help me in the long run especially that diagram Smiley Happy

Active Member
Abhishek R Member Since: Mar 1, 2017
5 of 23

Hi Robin,

Thanks for your inputs, I agree with you that I should have set up some expectations regarding the change request. 

I submitted the milestone by clicking the submit button with my comments. If the client really had any more changes he would have replied in the milestone change however now he is not that active. Is there any other way to submit to get payment in 14 days cycle?

 

If at all, I have to drop this client then what should I do with the work submitted to him over his hosting. I already developed the corporate website on his server & still, I have access to the hosting. What do you suggest in case I make a 100% refund? Should I delete that work with 100% refund or let him go with a full refund &  all the work done?

 

Community Guru
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
6 of 23

I submitted the milestone by clicking the submit button with my comments. If the client really had any more changes he would have replied in the milestone change however now he is not that active. Is there any other way to submit to get payment in 14 days cycle?

 

It's not that black and white.  He may not have replied within the milestone if he wanted a change.  Maybe something happened in his personal life that made him go silent.  You have to wait the 14 days to get paid.  

 

If at all, I have to drop this client then what should I do with the work submitted to him over his hosting. I already developed the corporate website on his server & still, I have access to the hosting. What do you suggest in case I make a 100% refund? Should I delete that work with 100% refund or let him go with a full refund &  all the work done?

 

You should be paid for the work you've done.  Never make a 100% refund unless you made some serious mistakes.  Don'd delete the work.  Again I would reach out another time and if he fails to respond (give it a week) then I would cancel the contract but not before giving him your reasons for the cancellation.  That's how I would handle it.  Maybe others on this forum would respond differently.

 

Robin


 

Active Member
Abhishek R Member Since: Mar 1, 2017
7 of 23

Hi Robin,

He is not responding to me over Upwork however he responded over whatsapp today. So I am sure all well at his end as he said he is busy with work. In addition to that, he gave me a carrot for hiring an admin resource from my team. I asked him to communicate over Upwork to discuss the work & approve the second milestone to which he said that he can't type lines over Upwork while whatsapp is easy. However, he agreed to talk tomorrow ( he didn't confirm the call schedule, as he is "busy"). Anyways, my agenda to share this is that I have given him all the benefits of doubts.

 

In addition to your's, I'll pick important points from Sue & Preston's notes to handle this client. This is how I think I should move forward - Get him over Upwork for a call/ text chat tomorrow & listen to his side of the story for the last time. Ask him to approve the second milestone & wait for another 2 days for him to approve.  Else cancel the contract & file dispute for the money of work done.

 

I am sure, you & everyone on this platform will agree to me that even if he agrees to delete the work that I did, it's of no use to me. I have already lost my time, efforts & energy over the job so why should I remain empty-handed. In no case, such clients should walk away simply saying - delete the work.

Of course, I'll do this in a polite manner. 

Community Leader
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
8 of 23

Abhishek R wrote:

Hi Robin,

He is not responding to me over Upwork however he responded over whatsapp today. So I am sure all well at his end as he said he is busy with work. In addition to that, he gave me a carrot for hiring an admin resource from my team. I asked him to communicate over Upwork to discuss the work & approve the second milestone to which he said that he can't type lines over Upwork while whatsapp is easy. However, he agreed to talk tomorrow ( he didn't confirm the call schedule, as he is "busy"). Anyways, my agenda to share this is that I have given him all the benefits of doubts.

 

In addition to your's, I'll pick important points from Sue & Preston's notes to handle this client. This is how I think I should move forward - Get him over Upwork for a call/ text chat tomorrow & listen to his side of the story for the last time. Ask him to approve the second milestone & wait for another 2 days for him to approve.  Else cancel the contract & file dispute for the money of work done.

 

I am sure, you & everyone on this platform will agree to me that even if he agrees to delete the work that I did, it's of no use to me. I have already lost my time, efforts & energy over the job so why should I remain empty-handed. In no case, such clients should walk away simply saying - delete the work.

Of course, I'll do this in a polite manner. 


The bold section is a red flag to me. Sounds like he's trying to avoid having a record of the conversations and things he's said. I would insist on communication through UpWork and in writing. Maybe that's what you meant by "get him over to UpWork for a call/text." I hope so. 

Active Member
Abhishek R Member Since: Mar 1, 2017
9 of 23

Yes Amanda this is what I want. 

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 23

I really do not understand all that client-chasing that's going on here. I'd leave the client totally alone and wait out the 14 days.

 

Also, do **NOT** cancel (or rather close, no "cancel" possible at this stage) the contract until you have been paid, because that automatically sends all the money in Escrow back to the client.

 

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