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Client meetings during paused contract

Active Member
Sydney W Member Since: Sep 5, 2019
1 of 20

Hi,

My employer just paused our contract until he feels that we have "fixed our communication issue."

While the contract is paused, we have a scheduled call on Friday for two hours and I did work yesterday as well but I cannot log them.

 

Need advice: He gives me a lot of side assignments and if I do not reply, he finds that to be lacking communication. He has limited my hours to only 8 so I cannot complete the big project at the same time as doing as these side assignments. Should I put my big project aside and log hours for side assignments instead to make this client happy? Should I take this client meeting AFTER he has paused the contract? 

 

I feel like he wants more than 8 hours of work after cutting my hours by 70% due to their budget cuts so I don't know how to tell him I cannot "be available" all the time since it is a one day a week contract now. 

 

Please help

Community Guru
Martina P Member Since: Jul 11, 2018
2 of 20

Sydney W wrote:

Hi,

My employer just paused our contract until he feels that we have "fixed our communication issue."

While the contract is paused, we have a scheduled call on Friday for two hours and I did work yesterday as well but I cannot log them.

 

Need advice: He gives me a lot of side assignments and if I do not reply, he finds that to be lacking communication. He has limited my hours to only 8 so I cannot complete the big project at the same time as doing as these side assignments. Should I put my big project aside and log hours for side assignments instead to make this client happy? Should I take this client meeting AFTER he has paused the contract? 

 

I feel like he wants more than 8 hours of work after cutting my hours by 70% due to their budget cuts so I don't know how to tell him I cannot "be available" all the time since it is a one day a week contract now. 

 

Please help


It seems the client is already very unhappy with the collaboration, even so that he felt he needed to pause the contract. Now you have 2 possibilities: you either agree with him that the communication is bad, or you feel he treats you unfairly. In the first case you can try to improve things with him, in the second I see no basis for a good relationship. 

If I were you, I would end the contract and look for other jobs. 

Active Member
Sydney W Member Since: Sep 5, 2019
3 of 20

Thank you Martina!

 

I tried to reach set up a 15 min call with him to find common ground about his perspective about communication problems. However, instead of accepting the request, he has now requested for a refund on the first week of work!  It is my first project so I didn't see that coming. 

 

I am not sure what happens if I choose to close the project but I haven't received any any payment into my bank account since I started 3 weeks ago.

 

any advice?

 

 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 20

It is actually a violation of Upwork ToS for a client to ask for free work. This client is violating Upwork's rules.

 

If a client pauses the contract, this is a good reason for you to CLOSE the contract.

 

The last time a client paused the contract, yet still wanted to communicate with me and ask me to do things for the project, I closed the contract myself.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 20

re: "I feel like he wants more than 8 hours of work after cutting my hours by 70% due to their budget cuts so I don't know how to tell him I cannot 'be available' all the time since it is a one day a week contract now."

 

Below are some of my thoughts, which I do NOT say to the client, but which any intelligent client should expect me to think, without me saying anything:

 

This is preposterous and unacceptable behavior on the part of the client.

 

I am not your daughter, trying to keep the family business afloat during hard times while mom is in the hospital.

 

I am a freelancer, working because you pay me.

 

Your "budget cuts" are not my problem.

 

If you can not afford my services, that is FINE. There is no dishonor in not being able to afford something. But it DOES mean that you stop purchasing it.

 

If "budget cuts" mean you can no longer afford paying for catered lunch at every Friday's department meeting, then you stop ordering catered lunch.

 

And if "budget cuts" mean that you can't pay me to work on everything you need help with, then you stop asking me to work on everything you need help with.

 

If you want high levels of availability from me, then you absoutely do not cut back my hours. You shouldn't even have an hourly limit.

 

I can't work on all the little side tasks AND the main project, and try to guess which things I'm really supposed to do within the cut-back hours that you allow each week.

 

Now you PAUSE the contract AND want to have a 2-hour meeting with me to discuss my "communication issues"?

Active Member
Sydney W Member Since: Sep 5, 2019
6 of 20

Thank you, Preston! I didn't know that actually.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 20

Or you could tell the client that the new weekly limit he has provided is not sufficient time for you to complete all the tasks he wants you to do, so if he could prioritize for you what needs doing you can tell him hwo much time you will need to complete those specific tasks.

 

I'd recommend taking your next planned phone call and use a few minutes to discuss with him his new priorities and how he wants to move forward.

 

If he wants two hours of your time for that call, tell him you'll be happy to do it after he unpauses the project. (I am surprised how many clients have told me they didn't know I'd charge them for my time talking with them about the project on the phone. But nothing like this really surprises me anymore - the quality of Upwork clients is sometimes very low.)

 

If he can't afford to  pay you for your work, it's time to part ways and let him find a less expensive freelancer to continue with the work you have done.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 20

Excellent comments from Will.

 

As freelancers:

We should always be polite, professional.

Communicate with clients. Don't leave them guessing.

 

Clients:

If you limit hours:

MAYBE a freelancer will communicate with you about her frustrastions. MAYBE she won't.

A client who values the work being done by a freelancer is only hurting themself if he limits that freelancer's time in an unreasonable way.

 

If you don't like a freelancer's work, don't pause their contract. CLOSE the contract. Don't continue working with freelancers who are not providing top-quality work. ONLY work with the BEST members of your team.

 

...And ONLY work with the freelancers whose work styles best fit your own project needs. Sometimes the most talented members of your team need to be fired from the team - not due to a lack of ability on their part - but due to scheduling or other reasons. Sometimes a great team member simply lives in the wrong time zone. Or is too busy with other projects.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
9 of 20

And, if at all possible, I'd recommend letting/encouraging the client close a project under these circumstances, if it comes to that.

 

There is no upside for the freelancer if the client to be able to tell themselves that the freelancer closed the project and so it's all the freelancer's fault.

Active Member
Sydney W Member Since: Sep 5, 2019
10 of 20

If I close a project without receiving any payment since the start, I am afraid i would lose the payments prior. I reached out to Upwork support to double check as well. 

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