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Client disabled manula time

vpuller
Ace Contributor
Vadim P Member Since: Apr 21, 2020
1 of 39

Ihave worked for a client for several months for a fixed weekly salary. It was set as a maximum number of manual hours per week with the specified hourly rate. Such an arrangement was partially justified by the nature of my job, but also because I do not feel like being monitored in real time.

Now the client decided to transfer the project to someone else, so he asked me to document my code and disabled the manual time, saying that this part of the job could be done with a time tracker.

I object such a unilateral change of terms, and I also think that my hourly rate should be higher in this case. Can I simply close the contract? The repercussion is that I will be leaving the client with the undocumented code.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
BEST ANSWER
2 of 39

Clients may allow or not allow manual time.

 

Freelancers may work for clients who disallow manual time, or freelancers may choose to NOT do so.

 

That seems extraordinarily fair.

 

Can you simply close the contract? Of course you can. Freelancers may close a contract at any time.

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vpuller
Ace Contributor
Vadim P Member Since: Apr 21, 2020
3 of 39

Thanks! I also think that I am within my rights terminating this contract.

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
4 of 39
While you're within your rights to refuse this request, you should also be aware that a bad feedback review on a $15,000 project would result in a significant hit to your job success score, once you qualify for one. So you might want to try and come to an agreement with your client instead of just abruptly ending the project.
martina_plaschka
Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
5 of 39

Vadim P wrote:

Ihave worked for a client for several months for a fixed weekly salary. It was set as a maximum number of manual hours per week with the specified hourly rate. Such an arrangement was partially justified by the nature of my job, but also because I do not feel like being monitored in real time.

Now the client decided to transfer the project to someone else, so he asked me to document my code and disabled the manual time, saying that this part of the job could be done with a time tracker.

I object such a unilateral change of terms, and I also think that my hourly rate should be higher in this case. Can I simply close the contract? The repercussion is that I will be leaving the client with the undocumented code.


If you tell the client that your hourly rate is higher if you use the time tracker than if you use manual time - how do you think the client will feel about this?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with using the time tracker if you are working on the client's project, or am I missing something?

vpuller
Ace Contributor
Vadim P Member Since: Apr 21, 2020
6 of 39

@MartinaP I think not every job can be measured in hours. But the point here is that he unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, without my prior agreement. How do I feel about this?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 39

Vadim P wrote:

@MartinaP I think not every job can be measured in hours. But the point here is that he unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, without my prior agreement. How do I feel about this?


The whole point of hourly contracts is that they ARE measured in hours.

 

Manual time is a priviledge, not some kind of god given right.

 

Personally I think walking away from a client who's paid you over $ 15,000 while leaving the client in the lurch with undocumented code is pretty poor behaviour. It is very likely that the client's feedback will reflect that.

 

Christine A wrote:
While you're within your rights to refuse this request, you should also be aware that a bad feedback review on a $15,000 project would result in a significant hit to your job success score, once you qualify for one. 

All contracts over $ 1000 "weigh" the same though, so that $ 15k will weigh the same as the $ 3.5k one.

 

jr-translation
Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
8 of 39

Petra R wrote:

Vadim P wrote:

@MartinaP I think not every job can be measured in hours. But the point here is that he unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, without my prior agreement. How do I feel about this?


The whole point of hourly contracts is that they ARE measured in hours.

 

Manual time is a priviledge, not some kind of god given right.

 

Personally I think walking away from a client who's paid you over $ 15,000 while leaving the client in the lurch with undocumented code is pretty poor behaviour. It is very likely that the client's feedback will reflect that.

 

Christine A wrote:
While you're within your rights to refuse this request, you should also be aware that a bad feedback review on a $15,000 project would result in a significant hit to your job success score, once you qualify for one. 

All contracts over $ 1000 "weigh" the same though, so that $ 15k will weigh the same as the $ 3.5k one.

 


Really, I might as well just ask my clients to close the contract every time I reach $1k and start a new one.
My understanding was that the $1k was only an example.

ivanstrug
Community Leader
Ivan S Member Since: Oct 24, 2015
9 of 39

Petra R wrote:

Vadim P wrote:

@MartinaP I think not every job can be measured in hours. But the point here is that he unilaterally changed the terms of the contract, without my prior agreement. How do I feel about this?


The whole point of hourly contracts is that they ARE measured in hours.

 

Manual time is a priviledge, not some kind of god given right.

 


 I would like to disagree with you there. Hourly contracts, particularly in professional services are more a pricing communication and negotiations tool rather than work measurement tool. At the end of day, client does not care how much a specific professional job (software development) would take, as long as provider meets the deadline. What client care about is the total budget, so provider at the beginning needs to communicate timing expectations.

 

Use of tracking software in this scenario is really not mandatory or frankly not warranted - again in professional services contracts, people tend to spend quite a bit of time thinking rather than performing any activity that can be captured by the software. insistence on the client's part to track activity indicates that the client is ready and willing to dispute time spend on "non-productive activity" (i.e. thinking) and this is why provider would naturally would ask for higher rate to get to the same total compensation.

In some extreme cases you might have a "non-productive" time that takes like 50%-75% of the time. I had a client that wanted a specific Javascript program that could been developed in two ways - traditional way with circa 70-100 lines of code which then required quite a bit of debugging or one-line formula which did not require any debugging as it was mathematically-proven and was probably 1000x faster. If at that time I used a tracker for this specific part of the program, than the client would see an hour of black screen and than 1 minute of code typing. Per Upwork rules, I would imagine that the whole hour of thinking could be disallowed. Obviously I still spent a few hours doing the UI coding, so even if the client would have refused to pay for one hour of thinking, I would still made money, but I would have definetely asked for a higher rate if I new this risk.    

 

Obviously this argument is not valid for jobs that are volume-driven, such as translation. Don't take it wrong, translation requires thinking, but once you read the source, identify key terms and maybe build small dictionary, translation work becomes pretty much volume-driven.  

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 39

Ivan S wrote:

Obviously this argument is not valid for jobs that are volume-driven, such as translation. 


Would you appreciate me lecturing you on financial modelling oder coding? No?

 

Funny that.

 

Of course I wouldn't have the sheer ignorance (or nerve) to try and lecture people on stuff I haven't the faintest idea about. 

 

At the end of the day, my point was that on Upwork, the platform gives the client the right to turn manual time on or off at any given time. 

There is also no protection for manual time. 

 

So yes, on Upwork hourly contracts are measured in hours. I took the trouble of asking someone who does know, and they said that documenting code is not something that requires or would usually involve the freelancer sitting in a darkened corner in deep thought to find a miracle solution-

 


Ivan S wrote:

insistence on the client's part to track activity indicates that the client is ready and willing to dispute time spend on "non-productive activity" (i.e. thinking) and this is why provider would naturally would ask for higher rate to get to the same total compensation.

If at that time I used a tracker for this specific part of the program, than the client would see an hour of black screen and than 1 minute of code typing. Per Upwork rules, I would imagine that the whole hour of thinking could be disallowed. Obviously I still spent a few hours doing the UI coding, so even if the client would have refused to pay for one hour of thinking, I would still made money, but I would have definetely asked for a higher rate if I new this risk.    .  


Nope. A client who is getting ready to dispute would encourage the use of manual time. Because with manual time, the client wins any dispute by default for all of it, EVERY SINGLE LAST MINUTE of manual time, not just the 1 hour of thinking time.

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