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adeoluwole1
Member

Contents of a fixed price contract offer

Hello I am new on here. Firstly are offers and contracts the same thin?

 

Secondly, I submitted a proposal and the client has sent an offer. I do not see the 2 milestones I set in the original proposal in the offer I only see one milestone. The client has fully funded the escrow though but only set one milestone with no date of when the milestone payment should be made. Is this normal or will this be set after the contract has started. Should I insist on my 2 milestones being included in the offer. Also should I insist on a fixed start and end date. 

 

Thirdly, the client said we should try for a month at first and promised renewing for 6 months if I perform well. Could that be why there is no end date included?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

So, Ade, there you have it.

 

During your conversations with the client now make sure she understands you'll submit a payment request for half of the project's value halfway through the project.

 

And make sure you client understands before the project begins that after the client releases payment for that partial amount of escrow and creates a new milestone covering the second half of the project and of the remaining amount in escrow, you'll pick up work again and submit a payment request at the end of the second half of the project.

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19 REPLIES 19
mkt400
Member

 

Best thing is clear communication Ade.

I usually send a small summary to the client, like so:

 

Thanks for selecting my bid

Here is what I'll do ______ on x days

Then ____ on x days, receiving 50% payment on first delivery and the rest upon completion.

I'll require ___ (codes, information etc.) to begin.

Is this agreeable to you?

 

The gist of it is that you and the client are on the same page and they know what will be delivered, when and you know when you get paid… remember upworks withholds payments 5 days after funds are released, so you have to wait several days before you get your money.

Thanks Mario. Do I need to insist that they include the end date in the offer so that it is clear the day I need to get paid for delivery of satisfied work.

 

Please note I am still not clear on wether an offer is the same thing as an official contract

wescowley
Member

They aren't the same thing. The offer creates a contract when you accept the offer (clicking the "accept" button on the offer page).

 

There's usually a deliverable associated with a milestone, where you turn in some completed piece of the project, the client approves it and releases the payment, then activates the next milestone (if any).

 

There's a bunch of information in this thread on how Upwork works. I suggest you read through it before proceeding any further.

Thanks Wes for clarifying the difference between an offer and a contract,

 

No one is really getting my questions. Let me try to be clearer. Ok so the job is for an executive assistant role (so basically no tangible deliverables. I just have to perform admin assistant services to client... respond to mails, take meeting notes etc).

 

Client wasn't clear on how long it will run for but when I asked she said a month initially but she may renew at the end of the month if she is happy with my services. The job is a fixed price contract for $xxx.

 

I submitted the proposal and set 2 milestones. Milestone 1 to be paid halfway through the month if client is happy with my services (so 2 weeks into the project) and Milestone 2, to be paid at the end of the month if there is no renewal (2 weeks after milestone 1).

 

She sent an offer now. It shows that the full amount is in the escrow account. On the offer I can only see one milestone. There is also no date anywhere of when I am to receive the milestone payment.

 

Am I being unreasonable to ask that she includes the 2 milestones I originally sent in the proposal. Am I also being funny to insist that she includes in the offer the exact date she needs to pay me the complete amount if happy with my services or will that be detailed in the contract.

OK, I see. I can think of a few ways you could handle it:

 

1) Work the month and at the end, click the submit work button at the end for the full escrow amount, which seems to be how the client has set it up. 

2) Ask your client to redo the offer, splitting the milestones as you suggested. 

3) After two weeks, click the submit work but only ask for half of the escrow, then use the suggest new milestone option to send a new milestone for your client to approve and fund (with the remaining escrow).

 

Whichever way you want to go, you should discuss it with your client first and make sure you are both on the same page. And, I'd suggest keeping a summary of the work you've done in a document you can attach when you use the submit work button.

 

Others who have done this type of contract structure may come along and offer how they've handled it.

 

 

Thank you so much. I understand better now.

If there are no clear deliverables, you'd be better off switching this to an hourly contract if possible. Did you and the client at least set the number of hours you'll work per day/per week? Are you supposed to work exclusively for this client for one month? I wouldn't agree to do an unspecified amount of work for a fixed rate.

I also just saw your similar post in the Nigerian freelancers thread, but in that post, you say that the client agreed to pay you halfway through the month IF she's happy with your services. That would be a big red flag for me, I'm afraid.
Does this client have a good history on Upwork?

If you want a specific date by which you will be paid for your work, then hourly is the only contract option.

 

Fixed-price contract payments can be delayed by clients for many weeks or many months. A determined client can effectively avoid paying you entirely.

If you want to get paid within a certain timeframe, and still use fixed-price contracts, then the way to do that is for the freelancer to be completely in the driver's seat.

 

For example, the freelancer tells the client:

 

"I will work one the project and I will do one module each day. I will send you the module, and you can release payment for the work by noon the next day."

 

First day: Freelancer did one module, and client paid $50 the next day.

Second day: Freelanceer did one module and client paid $50 the next day.

Third day: Freelancer did one module, and client did not pay anything the next day.

 

Then the freelancer closed the contract herself and stopped working on the project.

 

The client sent her a message and asked what happened. The freelancer stated: "The agreement was that I get paid by noon the next day. That did not happen. I am now working on other projects."

 

With this approach, the freelancer is providing an agreement that supersedes Upwork's default terms. A freelancer can do this if a client will agree to it.

 

I don't recommend this. But this is an example of a freelancer requiring fixed-price payments by a certain date. Otherwise, clients have 14 days to review the work, and may request changes an unlimited number of times.

Question: The client wants to pay me $20 per day for a month. After one month, the client will pay $500. Is that a good arrangement?

Answer: No. only a very unwise freelancer would agree to that.

 

Question: What if the client pays me $20 each day, setting up and releasing a new milestone every day?

Answer: Yes, this makes more sense for a freelancer. It will be even better if the client creates a new contract every day. Or uses one contract per week, with daily milestones.

Ok that makes a lot of sense! Because she keeps saying "just basic admin duties" which I know could run into a thousand and one activities. I will make sure to be clear on duties before work commences.

 

Yes sorry, I posted on there too. Haha. "newbie signboard"  Ok so the client is fairly new to Upwork and joined only this month so no rating yet but she has about 8 jobs ongoing. From all your suggestions I will try to see if we can go the hourly route. Thanks.

re: "I will try to see if we can go the hourly route."

 

That would be wise. I see absolutely no evidence of any justification for a fixed-price contract here. This is an hourly contract.

I just reread that earlier post and see the "if the client is happy" part. No, absolutely do not agree to that. It's ok to structure the two-week point as an interim checkpoint for your work, but you should be paid for it regardless.

wlyonsatl
Member

Hi, Ade.

 

The milestones on a project are just guidelines for when you and the client expect you will complete some or, as in your case, all of the project if there is only one milestone. Upwork has no interest in tracking or enforcing milestones in any way.

 

Each submission of work by you (provided escrow is sufficiently funded) starts the 14-day payment clock, during which the client can either release the related escrow or ask for changes to the work you've done. If the client does nothing, you just have to wait 14 days for Upwork to automatically release payment to you.

 

If the work you do is administration, it can't be changed by you in any way after the fact, so I suggest you try to get regular informal feedback from the client during your initial work, so she doesn't surprise you with complaints or delay approving payment when you use the green "Submit" button requesting release of some or all of the escrowed funds halfway through the project.

 

That the client has fully funded escrow for your initial work period seems like an indication of good faith, but trusting clients who are new to you and new to Upwork can be a high-risk thing to do.

 

I suggest you agree with the client that you will "submit" a request for one-half of escrow halfway through the intial work period. And agree that you will continue with the second half of the work after the client has released one-half of escrow for payment to you.

 

If she doesn't release escrow, you should stop workon her project until she does. If she does release that first amount of escrowed funds and you both agree you will do the second half of the project, submit your request for the remaining escrow at the end of the agreed project period. 

 

There are a lot of "ifs" with such a fixed price arrangement. This does seem like a project that's better suited to an hourly arrangement, as others here have suggested, which you can request now (possibly annoying an honest but uninformed client) or after the project is completed.

 

Your payment protection under an hourly agreement is in some ways much better for you than under a fixed price arrangement. The client can limit your allowed hours of work per week and you will receive payment 10 days after the end of each Upwork work week, which ends at midnight Greenwhich Mean Time each Sunday evening.

 

Good luck.


Will L wrote:

 

If she doesn't release escrow, you should stop workon her project until she does. If she does release that first amount of escrowed funds and you both agree you will do the second half of the project, submit your request for the remaining escrow at the end of the agreed project period. 


This is, however, only possible if the client activates a new milestone. There is no way to "submit for" the rest of the escrow funds if there is no milestone, and no way to request funds that are floating in escrow, unattached to an actual milestone.

 

Better to have two milestones in that case, rather than create floating escrow funds which can't be disputed (because they are not attached to an active milestone)

So, Ade, there you have it.

 

During your conversations with the client now make sure she understands you'll submit a payment request for half of the project's value halfway through the project.

 

And make sure you client understands before the project begins that after the client releases payment for that partial amount of escrow and creates a new milestone covering the second half of the project and of the remaining amount in escrow, you'll pick up work again and submit a payment request at the end of the second half of the project.

I still dislike the idea of "admin stuff" as a deliverable... That could be 10 minutes a day, it could be full time. There is literally no sensible way to define "admin stuff" as a deliverable....

Thank you all for the advice. I am super grateful. I have a clearer understanding now and I'll be sure to propose your valuable suggestions. The client might be truly innocent, as she is also new to Upwork and still trying to navigate the platform herself (from communication so far, she sounds honest). I will update the thread with the outcome. Thanks again.

 

@Petra, I know right! the "admin stuff" sounds pretty vague but then again I applied to it without a gun to my head. Hahaha. I'm just trying to cut my teeth in this competitive upwork space. It's my first gig and I am free for the month, so it shouldn't be too bad hopefully. Experience is the best teacher.


Ade O wrote:

It's my first gig and I am free for the month, so it shouldn't be too bad hopefully. Experience is the best teacher.


Enjoy your first contract! Hopefully it'll be a great experience for yourself and your new client. You're a project manager, so make sure you "project manage" this client and the contract you have with them.