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Client went AWOL. I'm looking for advice.

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Active Member
James P Member Since: Jan 24, 2015
1 of 4
Hey there, oDesk community! It's a pleasure to be a part of the freelancing world. I'm looking for feedback, advice, comments, etc. on a current contract.

The contract started about two months ago, and my client is very friendly and knowledgable about the work I'm doing for him, giving me up to forty hours of week and an hourly rate. It was all going very well until my client stopped responding to my status reports, about a month ago.

A little over a week ago I began to feel that it was wrong to continue working without his input and direction. So I wrote him a letter explaining that I would be looking for a temporary position until we could work something out.

The contract is still in effect and I am still getting paid. I know what needs to be done. I am building an app for him.

I am wondering what you would do in this situation. He hasn't told me to stop working, something just feels wrong. I don't know what to do. This has never happened before. Do I keep working and making progress? Or do I pause until he returns from wherever he went?

Your responses will be greatly appreciated.

-James
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Darrin O Member Since: Jan 20, 2015
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That's a tough one.  I think it might come down to how the project was structured and communicated.  That is, they may have specifically set it up so that you could be getting things done when they went off on a long vacation (or whatever), expecting progress to have been made by the time they got back, but maybe forgot to fill you in before they left that that was their plan.  Or maybe they got hit by a bus.

 

Depending on how much you know about the client, you might find other ways to attempt to contact them (e.g., phone number associated with skype account, web site contact, domain registration info).

 

Otherwise, you seem to have done the responsible thing by pausing.  If there was a miscommunication, the client should be understanding of the subsequent delay.  If it was something more severe on their end, your professionalism will likely be appreciated whatever the circumstance, too.

 

I might even be inclined to continue with some of the work in the same circumstance, though.  My reasoning would be this: if there is some part of the project that I would find useful outside the scope of the client, I would do it.  Then, if the client does still want it, everything is ready in a timely manner.  If they don't and I have to refund their money, I now have that bit of code for my own use in other projects/apps/frameworks/etc.

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Isabelle Anne A Member Since: May 19, 2014
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^^ "Or maybe they got hit by a bus."

 

Honestly and unfortunately, that was my first thought.

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James P Member Since: Jan 24, 2015
4 of 4

Thanks for the replies. I've tried his skype and email.  I never got a phone number from him.  I did find him on social media and could ask his friends about his whereabouts and whyabouts, but there's a fine line between being dutifully diligent and breaking privacy boundaries.

I think my best plan of action is to finish what can be done and stay true to the contract, and take a chance that if I need to refund any payment, at least I will have gained more programming experience.

Thanks for the advice.

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