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Clients from hell - Zombie apocalypse prelude?

Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
1 of 11
Is it just me experiencing the proliferation of all kinds of weird client behaviors lately? Its like every week I run into a client who acts up. The following are my recent experiences on this site as a contractor: 1. Clients who tries not to pay once the job is done (giving tons of excuses, like they are on vacation or is getting married soon). Thankfully, I always ask for 50% upfront, or I won't get paid at all. 2. Clients who changes the job scope once a contract is on and it has been going on for a while. This has happened to me twice or thrice (not sure about someone yet) in the past few weeks for contracts with the money back guarantee thing. Its a trap, either you work the way they wanted since you've already invested time or they burn you in the ratings and ask for the money back guarantee thing, ouch! 3. Clients who would post a job looking for an expert and willing to pay for the highest rated and most experienced contractors BUT after a lengthy interview, would say that their budget is only $5/hr (when they know my rate is X times that from the very beginning). I mean, if they are from a first world country, do they really think an expert's rate from a certain field is as little as that? I think its a baiting tactic that they use to see who is desperate enough to bite given the situation here these days. I refuse to bite of course Smiley Tongue I know that I'm luckier than other contractors who may not even get an invite or interview for weeks on end, but frankly, I'd welcome the lull in jobs as opposed to dealing with zombie-virus-infected individuals. We need to fight this zombie apocalypse Smiley Tongue


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Active Member
Russell C Member Since: Jan 25, 2014
2 of 11
[quote=Dianne M.]Is it just me experiencing the proliferation of all kinds of weird client behaviors lately? Its like every week I run into a client who acts up. The following are my recent experiences on this site as a contractor: 1. Clients who tries not to pay once the job is done (giving tons of excuses, like they are on vacation or is getting married soon). Thankfully, I always ask for 50% upfront, or I won't get paid at all. 2. Clients who changes the job scope once a contract is on and it has been going on for a while. This has happened to me twice or thrice (not sure about someone yet) in the past few weeks for contracts with the money back guarantee thing. Its a trap, either you work the way they wanted since you've already invested time or they burn you in the ratings and ask for the money back guarantee thing, ouch! 3. Clients who would post a job looking for an expert and willing to pay for the highest rated and most experienced contractors BUT after a lengthy interview, would say that their budget is only $5/hr (when they know my rate is X times that from the very beginning). I mean, if they are from a first world country, do they really think an expert's rate from a certain field is as little as that? I think its a baiting tactic that they use to see who is desperate enough to bite given the situation here these days. I refuse to bite of course Smiley Tongue I know that I'm luckier than other contractors who may not even get an invite or interview for weeks on end, but frankly, I'd welcome the lull in jobs as opposed to dealing with zombie-virus-infected individuals. We need to fight this zombie apocalypse Smiley Tongue[/quote] 1. I would ask in the interview "do you foresee any issues with your budget?" It is very reasonable for you to inquire about a clients budget. (to me being out of town and not having access to the funds you need to meet your obligations is a problem with your budget!) It is very reasonable for you to expect prompt payment. If a potential client has a problem with this concern, it is best to find out before you work for them. 2. If a client asks you to change the scope of the work, you need to ask them for a "change order" in writing, through oDesk. They must acknowledge the change and that the change effects the scope of the work. A contract is a contract, a change order is a negotiation. If everything is documented, oDesk should be able to see that the client has asked you for more than the original contract called for. 3. This one is tougher to deal with. All you can do is look for a pattern in the clients profile. If you see they always post high pay jobs but end up paying low wages I would say that is the mark of a baiting switcher type person.
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
3 of 11
Hi! To address your comments and suggestions: 1. The problem is that they won't admit that of course. I've always laid my terms down before I accept any fixed price job, 50% upfront, and 50% right after completion. They all agree and this has not been a problem in the past but still, clients who don't pay up in full are appearing on this site like mushrooms these days. You will really have no way of knowing until they do the disappearing and excuses act. Maybe from now on I will only send 75% of the work done, ask for my payment and send the last part of the work...would be difficult to implement for articles though. 2. Russel, I did what you said. I asked these type of clients to change the job scope in writing and that we need to have a new contract. One of them got so angry and gave me the 'I'm the employer, you're only an employee' speech and filed a ticket. Threatened to give me a bad rating and that he will get his money back etc etc. He did it after I've already been working for more than 10 hours on an hourly contract (which has that money back guarantee thing) and the platform was not able to do anything except keep on saying that I have to 'negotiate' with my client who clearly does not want to negotiate but simply wants to get his way because the contract has that money back guarantee thing. I think clients are abusing the money back guarantee program and its really bringing out the worst in clients. Since its still less than a week that I've been working on the job and he has not been billed yet, I just ended the contract and erased my work diary, good riddance. He has stellar ratings btw. Oh one more thing, contractors for some reason can't see what is written by other contractors as feedbacks for clients lately, another bug in the system. We just see the stars and nothing else. 3.I'm very picky with clients. The client has to have at least 5 past contracts and has great ratings plus pay at least a certain amount for hourly jobs in their work history. I think this is about the money back guarantee thing or perhaps clients are getting spoiled by people who cut their rate in less than half out of desperation. Also on hourly jobs, usually the experts and veterans of the field who applied will have the money back guarantee logo next to their name in their application, maybe that is their way of getting access to the best contractors and see who is desperate enough for them to exploit? It feels bad people like them exists on this site and are doing this because they know that someone will bite their bait. I saw a lady whose rate is $33.33/hr got hired by that client at $4.44/hr. Seriously, that's crazy, considering the lady has a PhD and has 4.99 overall rating. Not really sure what is going on here these days. I mean, when I was a newbie, clients like those above only appear like once in every few months but now it is a weekly occurrence. Considering that I have higher standards now and a lot pickier in selecting clients, I'm really not sure what else to do. Oh well, maybe I'm still lucky that I get invites and interviews but really, bad clients are on the rise like an epidemic. With everything going on now I've decided to just stick to my repeat and ongoing clients and maybe build up my presence in other sites until the situation here gets better. Thanks for the input! Smiley Happy


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Ace Contributor
Mark G Member Since: Feb 7, 2008
4 of 11
I want to thank you, and praise you to the Freelance gods. I can only say, "back-at-ya" you have communicated and articulated almost all that I've experienced. It's not that I have nothing to say but you said it so much better... As a business person and a professional, and in life also, to survive I look to these changes as a Great Adventure, and try to embrace them and work towards what has and will come. The business of the internet is growing, that is why all my Freelance brothers and sisters need to stay the course, plan on things changing, prepare and work towards those new possibilities. A good way to look at it is "necessity is the mother of invention", necessity is survival, but the vehicle of invention right now is the internet. Just a thought... I also wanted to give a shout-out to my Freelance brothers and sisters in the Philippines, hope things get better for everyone hit by the typhoon. There are many of us in the world now who personally know what it means to lose your things, furniture, collectables, house, car, community, city, friends, jobs, restaurants, sports teams, and more regrettable your pet's and family. And to those oDesk clients and customers, please be patient with my Philippine Freelance brothers and sisters, it's was and is huge natural disaster. Stay safe and work together, the same for all my Freelance brothers and sisters. Out
Community Guru
Reynaldo M Member Since: Aug 4, 2012
5 of 11
[quote=Mark Goldsmith]I also wanted to give a shout-out to my Freelance brothers and sisters in the Philippines, hope things get better for everyone hit by the typhoon. There are many of us in the world now who personally know what it means to lose your things, furniture, collectables, house, car, community, city, friends, jobs, restaurants, sports teams, and more regrettable your pet's and family. And to those oDesk clients and customers, please be patient with my Philippine Freelance brothers and sisters, it's was and is huge natural disaster. Stay safe and work together, the same for all my Freelance brothers and sisters. [/quote] Indeed many Filipinos were affected by the 3 succeeding major disasters and the worst was that of Typhoon Yolanda that hit Eastern Visayas Region which practically wipeout a progressive City(Tacloban). I just pray and hope that Exploiters and Abusive Clients won't try and take advantage of the desperation and needs of our fellow contractors who are based in those hard hit areas.
Community Guru
Dianne M Member Since: Jul 25, 2013
6 of 11
A friend of mine who also works via this platform was offered by her client a full time job IF she would decrease her rate from $10/hr to $3.33/hr (his job ad says he is looking for the most experienced and highest paid freelancers). The client's reasoning? He said that since she is from Leyte (the place which really got hit by the typhoon), she must badly need the money and that she is 'lucky' he is offering the job to her. She promptly said NO of course. I wonder to who else this client will offer his 'help'.


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Active Member
kathlyn b Member Since: Jan 7, 2009
7 of 11
I worked on this ebook project for a client. It was supposed to have 10000 words for $100. Since I had been having a hard time getting good jobs lately, I took the job. I submitted 13300+ words in total. The client liked the job, gave me a good feedback and ended the contract. He even added a "bonus" of $10 (actually $9), or so I thought. When I checked my pending earnings, I found out too late that he had only given me a total of $100, no bonus. But I guess that what happened was all my fault. I was too excited to be getting the bonus, I did not even bother to check the remaining balance that my client paid to me. Upfront payment: $25 Bonus (NOT): $9 Contract completion:$66 TOTAL: $100 This was after I had already left a glowing review of the client!! Memo to me: Review pending earnings/transactions even when contract is "supposed to be" ironclad! And why does the Odesk System not show contractors whatever feedback has been left by the client at end of contract? The system just says something like "feedback will be visible 14 days after client leaves feedback" or some other thing...
Active Member
Exp U Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
8 of 11
The feedback is double-blind...neither party can read what the other has written until both sets are in. Unusually for oDesk, this is a sensible thing. That means it'll probably change.
Community Guru
Stephen B Member Since: Dec 4, 2012
9 of 11
They might build a new mad robot that randomly (ie based on an algorithm Smiley Happy ) generates feedback and replaces the original feedback with its own version, but without letting anyone know...
Active Member
kathlyn b Member Since: Jan 7, 2009
10 of 11
.. new mad robot... I hope if that mad robot comes, it'll fix me up with some really good clients (pray,pray,pray) Thank you Stephen! God bless!
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