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Clients getting job done without paying on fixed price job

I am on odesk/upwork more then 10 years. So i have worked with many types of clients. As a freelancer i like to do work on fixed price job because of fixed requirements and the payment done quickly after release of milestone where hourly takes 2-3 weeks. Client also like fixed price because they dont have to tensed about over budget for their job.

Doing job on houlry on upwork is risk free for freelancer if he/she is honest with his work. But with fixed price there is risk for freelancers that client may not release the amount after job done, or changes/add requirements. I have faced some bad clients who did this with me. They add more requirements after complete their proposed requirements and upwork dont have any policy for this! means client can demand a cruise ship in a budget of small boat after hire a freelancer.

One of my recent client denied to pay me after i built his website and disputed the job and ask for release the funds from Escrow. i have shown alll proof's of my work on dispute window/chat. but client dont agree to pay me. after upwork support ask several time client agreed to pay me only 30usd! where the job was for 250usd. I denied clients offer and told him to delete my work, i dont need his money. But he did nothing. Then Upwork offered Arbitration,  And The fee for arbitration is $875 and is split three ways, with the client, the freelancer and Upwork each paying one third of the fee. So if i agree with it i have nothing to earn, I may have to pay more to get justice or else, so i skiped that. at the end client get away without paying me. and i cant give him feedback for it.

Sadly, currently i am facing same issue with another client. The job is done as clients requirements, now client is adding more requirements without paying me for previous works. So i request to upwork make a window for clear requirements from client so they cant add more requirements later. Fixed price job should have fixed requirements with some fair revisions.

I want to know from other freelancer do you faced this kind of issue and how you handle this kind of situations with clients?

Although there is other Good clients who value my work, and i enjoy to work with them. Thanks for reading my Thread. Happy freelancing!

Community Member

I am surprised there are so many freelancers on Upwork willing to do low-priced fixed priced projects with new clients.


There is no real protection offered under the Upwork payments system for freelancers who are not willing to pay $291 to send a conflict with a client for resolution by a professional arbitrator.


Upwork would clearly like to see the average dollar value of projects listed by clients increase - both higher-priced freelancers and Upwork make more money if that occurs.


As more and more of the lowest-cost freelancers find themselves at the mercy of unscrupulous clients these freelancers will leave Upwork if they can find other work. Low-cost clients (the scrupulous and the unscrupulous) will find fewer freelancers on Upwork willing to take a chance at working for them.


This whole sector of lowest-value projects on Upwork is going to go away, which is unfortunate for the honest freelancers who need the work and the honest clients who can't afford to engage the services of more expensive freelancers.



I recommend ONLY doing small fixed-price contracts with new clients who you have not worked with before.


No more than about $100 or about one or two hour's worth of work.


This allows a freelancer to "test" a client's ability to use the fixed-price contract model, without investing too much time. If a client demonstrates that they can not be trusted with a fixed-price contract, then freelancer can walk away if necessary.


It is much easier to walk away from a fixed-price contract and stop working with a problematic client if there is only $50 at stake, versus $500.


So (for example) if a cilent has a job that looks like it will take $1000 of fixed-price work, that is fine. But the first step could be a $50 contract, to do the first task in the project.


If the client accepts the work and releases payment, then I will work on increasingly larger fixed-price milestones/contracts.


But if the client shows that they don't know how fixed-price contracts work, such as by asking for additional work that is out of scope of the original agreement, then I can tell them that it is up to them to choose: Release payment for the work that was done. Or pay nothing and I'll keep the work for myself and we can end things now.

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