🐈
» Forums » Freelancers » Client was misleading about the magnitude of ...
Page options
aliharvey
Community Member

Client was misleading about the magnitude of the project

Hello all. I'm not sure what to do about this, since it's never happened to me before, but I'm concerned I may have just been 'swindled' a bit- even though what this client did (I don't think) is technically against the rules. 

 

I'm working with a client right now who needs me to proofread someone's book. It's quite long: nearly 600 pages. This person said that it had already been edited- all ready to be published- and that they just needed a second pair of eyes to go through and check for what little grammar and spelling errors might be left....

 

Considering this information, plus the fact that I haven't had as many jobs on UPWork yet (most of my work was independent before this), I accepted a very low rate- far below what I would normally charge. Kind of a new client, new to upwork, minimal effort involved discount....

 

And this is the face of near-instant regret:   -_-

 

I accept this flat-rate project... for $100 .... stupid

 

 

This thing is FULL of errors! If someone professionally edited this, they should be FIRED! 

 

This client mentioned that the dialogue wasn't grammatically proper, and they wanted it left alone because it was part of the writing style. Fine, fine, understood. BUT THIS WHOLE BOOK IS WRITTEN LIKE THAT. It's basically one, long, run-on sentence! I don't think I've ever had to add so much puntuation in my entire life. 

 

So here's my question: am I screwed? I accepted this proposal. I knew the rate was low. I figured that, since it was already edited, it would basically be like reading a book and picking out errors here and there- something I do in my own time anyway... 

 

😞 Help from more experienced "UpWorkers" is greatly appreciated. I'm not new to editing, by any means, but this is a different platform than me vetting my own clients... 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Client was misleading about the magnitude of the project"

 

This is completely normal.

Usually the client does not even do this intentionally.

As a freelancer, you need to plan for this proactively.

 

Very simple:

For fixed-price contracts, you make sure you receive ALL of the input files, instructions and requirements BEFORE you agree to the contract.

 

Nothing can be added after you agree to the contract. No new data files. No new requirements. No new ideas. If the client wants to add something, then you explain that you are not allowed to do that because this is a fixed-price contract and that was not in the original agreement. But if you would like to add that, he can release payment on the current fixed-price contract, close it, and start an hourly contract.

View solution in original post

18 REPLIES 18
zhon
Community Member

Send an honest message stating that the scope of the work you anticipated from the interview and job posting is not what you found in the book.

 

Ask for additional compensation or to end the contract.

 

I believe if you end the contract before payment is made, there's no opportunity to leave feedback, so it won't show up on your profile regardless of how they take it.

zhon
Community Member

I should add: I ask for samples of the writing, or to sign an NDA and get the full document, before accepting one such job - could save a lot of headache down the road.

petra_r
Community Member

 


@Joseph M wrote:

I believe if you end the contract before payment is made, there's no opportunity to leave feedback, so it won't show up on your profile regardless of how they take it.


 Terrible advice.

If nothing was paid, no public feedback will show on the freelancer's profile, but their private feedback will affect the JSS, and even if the client leaves no private feedback, a "nothing paid" contract will negatively affect the JSS.

 

NEVER, EVER accept a contract without seeing what you will be working on. If you accept a contract sight unseen, you are trapped in a hell of your own making with only the choice of gritting your teeth and completing the contract, or ending up with your metrics taking a hit.

 

zhon
Community Member

Petra, what would you advise instead?  I agree with what you said, but it is useless for the current situation.  You also may not have read my second reply, which gives advice to avoid future similar instances.

 

Edit: Oh, I just re-read your post.  So you suggest just barreling through it?  That's a potential waste of weeks of this freelancer's time.  JSS is calculated periodically - I'd place my bet on finishing several jobs successfully instead, hoping to offset it.  Or seek work elsewhere until it's no longer an issue.  The "all in, no outs" mentality is poisonous.

aliharvey
Community Member

I accepted the terms, so it seems like I have to barrel through it. She told me how many pages it was. That should have been a red flag right there, but I wasn't concerned because I read fast and there 'weren't going to be many errors'.

 

It's a tough way to learn a lesson, to be sure... I definitely won't be accepting flat rate projects like this in the future without seeing what I'm working with. 


@Alisha H wrote:

It's a tough way to learn a lesson, to be sure... I definitely won't be accepting flat rate projects like this in the future without seeing what I'm working with. 


 I do not accept any contract without seeing the material.

I learned the hard way, too.

tlbp
Community Member

I'd probably try to back out gracefully. There is a real cost to spending so much time working on a project for such a low fee. You could be spending that time earning or building your business. 

prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "Client was misleading about the magnitude of the project"

 

This is completely normal.

Usually the client does not even do this intentionally.

As a freelancer, you need to plan for this proactively.

 

Very simple:

For fixed-price contracts, you make sure you receive ALL of the input files, instructions and requirements BEFORE you agree to the contract.

 

Nothing can be added after you agree to the contract. No new data files. No new requirements. No new ideas. If the client wants to add something, then you explain that you are not allowed to do that because this is a fixed-price contract and that was not in the original agreement. But if you would like to add that, he can release payment on the current fixed-price contract, close it, and start an hourly contract.

And don't beat yourself up over this!

You made a mistake, that's true. But it is a mistake that many newbie Upwork freelancers make.

Some clients have a very loose definition of "proofreading". I have recieved blatant google translates and been asked to "proofread" them to perfection for 0.02 USD/word. I just respond that it doesnt match my definition of what proofreading entails and politely decline. Alsways see whatever you will be working on before accepting.

 

Yep. I knew that one already. I was very clear before I took on the project
of the difference between proofreading and editing, because the client used
the terms interchangeably at first. Before I took on the project, I waited
until they specifically said i would only be correcting grammar, which has
been true. There's just been a ton.

I honestly didnt know i could ask to see a document beforehand. My clients
in the past have had very strict privacy rules, so i couldnt do that.
aliharvey
Community Member

I'm not one for quitting. In fact, I've only quit one job in my entire life (aside from leaving a position due to changing locations) and it was because my employer was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive.

 

That is why I want to make sure that when I drop this contract, I do it correctly. 

 

 

I originally posted the following on the forum, and got a variety of replies. It's included here for reference:

 

I'm working with a client right now who needs me to proofread someone's book. It's quite long: nearly 600 pages. This person said that it had already been edited- all ready to be published- and that they just needed a second pair of eyes to go through and check for what little grammar and spelling errors might be left....

 

Considering this information, plus the fact that I haven't had as many jobs on UPWork yet (most of my work was independent before this), I accepted a very low rate- far below what I would normally charge. Kind of a new client, new to upwork, minimal effort involved discount....

 

And this is the face of near-instant regret:   -_-

 

I accept this flat-rate project... for $100 .... stupid

 

 

This thing is FULL of errors! If someone professionally edited this, they should be FIRED! 

 

This client mentioned that the dialogue wasn't grammatically proper, and they wanted it left alone because it was part of the writing style. Fine, fine, understood. BUT THIS WHOLE BOOK IS WRITTEN LIKE THAT. It's basically one, long, run-on sentence! I don't think I've ever had to add so much puntuation in my entire life. 

 

 

So now... here we are today. I did what was advised and discussed this, respecfully with the client. I basically said that I didn't mind doing all of this work, but that the rate we originally agreed upon was based on an inaccurate job description- reading a book and picking out the odd error here and there....

This is full-on proofreading of what I would consider a rougher draft- my rate for which is considerably higher. I typically charge $3 per page (bringing the total for this project to over $1,600), but I was going to offer her a hefty discount for inconvenience = $450 for the whole project. 

 

Unfortunately I didnt get a chance to discuss any of that with the client. Instead, they just said "Okay. I will add more money to the project. you are doing a great job". It was midday, so I figured they were just busy and gave them several days to get their stuff together. Today, I sent her an updated document 122 pages out of 549... seems like im slow, but I've been working nearly 20 hours per week on this project. It's just taking that long because of the writing.... Then I left a friendly note asking if they needed anything additional from me in order to add that extra money. They said, "How much were you expecting? I already added the $100"... They were pretending they didnt have any idea of what I was talking about!!! I was polite and said that I would check again to see if additional funds had been added-- maybe the notification got lost on its way to me, i don't know.

 

Then she says "You're only on chapter 3??? I don't think you're going to get done by my deadline"

 

... mind you, by the time you get to chapter 3, it's nearly 120 pages into the book. Chapter 1 alone is 66 pages.

 

 

Considering all this, I think it's time to cut my losses. I am losing work from other clients because I am working full time for her and squeezing in what I can for my other two clients.

 

My question is. How do I do this and what are the ramifications? I tried to look it up on upwork help center, but it's not very clear what this is categorized under?

 

I'm happy to give her a full refund if it means I can escape to work another day. 

 

P.S. Before you say anything- yes i have learned my lesson! I will never accept a flat rate project without seeing the document first. never ever again... 

 

 

tlbp
Community Member

Cheap people don't get less cheap just because you are nice to them. Sorry. 

Alisha, try chatting with customer service and ask them what the repercussions will be if you end the contract.  Then make the decision what to do.

 

I'm so sorry this happened to you. As you get more experience on the platform, you will learn not to fall into traps…clients who claim their document won’t need much work because it’s already been edited (not to insinuate they are lying; they truly believe this is the case)…or that it only needs proofreading when it turns out to need extensive, more expensive editing…or that they know they don’t pay much, but they can promise to have lots of work for me (the only worse thing than taking one low-paying job is a steady diet of low-paying jobs), etc. Good luck!


Alisha H wrote:

Considering all this, I think it's time to cut my losses.

My question is. How do I do this and what are the ramifications? I tried to look it up on upwork help center, but it's not very clear what this is categorized under?

 


 You can walk away unpaid but the contract will affect your Job Success Score as it will count as an unsuccessful contract.

 

Don't discuss this with Customer Support.

This has nothing to do with them, and there is nothing they can do to make this all better.

 

None of us can make the decision for you.

 

Walking away and refunding any money already received IS an option.

 

It means taking a hit to JSS, but you can weather that.

 

re: "My question is. How do I do this and what are the ramifications? I tried to look it up on upwork help center, but it's not very clear what this is categorized under?"

 

This will count as a zero-pay contract. Too many of these and you will see real negative impact on JSS. But if there are relatively few as part of a generally successful work history, you can still have 100% JSS.

 

This is stressing you out, and really unpleasant. There is no outcome that is really good. Best option:

 

Tell the client:

"Eugene: I think you're right. There is no way that I can finish this by your deadline. So in order to help make this project successful for you, I am closing the contract now and refunding all money you have paid me for it. This way you will be free to hire somebody who is a better fit for this project to do the job. To help move things along, I am giving you the work I have done us far for free. You are welcome to use everything I have already provided to you."

 

Then close the contract.

And block communications from the client in Upwork messenger tool.

You messed up, but he was trying to trick you. You don't owe him anything.

As a client, I have hired over 80 freelancers on Upwork.

 

I either hire people using an hourly contract, paying them their posted rate, or I provide all data files necessary for the job before they are hired. Usually I do both.

 

A responsible client doesn't take advantage of a freelancer's naïveté by manipulating her into working on a project that far exceeds expectations. It is not even good business. I don't want people working on my project who resent working for me and whose work quality may be compromised by that resentment.

This job was a walkaway and take the hit from the beginning. OP should consider the work practice and learn from the pain of doing so much for so little. I have had a few walkaways in my time as well. Yes, the hit to the score is painful but not as much as wasting hours of one's life on an unworthy project. 

Latest Articles
Featured Topics
Learning Paths