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Dealing with clients unwilling to provide enough hours to complete a job

kimmelsa
Active Member
Sari K Member Since: Sep 12, 2016
1 of 16

Hi All,

 

I have a client who recently reached out to me to help her copyedit some long reports for her company. In discussing the specifics of the time schedule and budget, I explained to her my process where she should send me the files so I can review and provide her with an hourly estimate for completion. She explained that while she appreciates my professional opinion, no matter the scope of the project, she is only willing to budget for 25 hours of work. Additionally, she wants me to sign a statement of work now agreeing to 25 hours; however, she cannot promise me the exact length of the documents I need to review (she can only give me a ballpark number).

 

I do not feel comfortable agreeing to this because (1) it is not enough time to actually complete the work up to professional standards, (2) if the scope changes (i.e., they add a lot more pages!), I REALLY won't have enough time to complete the work, and (3) I do not feel comfortable doing a half-assed job just to finish in the alloted time.

 

She indicated that she would rather have some of my help than none of my help, even inferring that they are okay with me doing a half-assed job to finish the whole report. I now feel like my professional ethics are on the line.

 

Have any of you encountered a problem like this before? Have you been able to negotiate with the client to meet somewhere in the middle or do you just walk away? Any advice would be helpful!

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
2 of 16

Just say 'No'

 

It is not worth it!

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
3 of 16

As Petra says. Move on.

 

ETA: You are top rated. The client is trying it on and should have known better than to try and get some kind of low-priced deal.

 

 

ahammed_farid
Community Guru
Farid Ahammed B Member Since: May 30, 2016
4 of 16

Agreed with Nichola, just leave that client

charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
5 of 16

"She explained that while she appreciates my professional opinion, no matter the scope of the project, she is only willing to budget for 25 hours of work."

 

This is a clear sign of an unreasonable person.

 

Would you expect your lawyer or plumber to agree to a fixed number of hours for work of undefined scope?

 

We constantly read stories of freelancers who get in trouble with clients who do this after initially claiming a fixed amount of work was required. Consider yourself fortunate that at least she was up-front about it so you know to stay far away.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
6 of 16

You mean she implied this?

 

I wouldn't trust the client.

 

Once a contract is enacted, your JSS is on the line.

 

Keep on movin' on...

 

Next.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 16

I can excuse a lot of goofy, flakey behavior from clients.

 

But I doubt I would spend any more time dealing with this client. She essentially wants to merge a fixed-price contract with an hourly contract, and I regard that as an attempt to cheat the system.

 

You want me to agree to 25 hours of work, but you won't show me what I'll be working on?

 

No. No way.

kimmelsa
Active Member
Sari K Member Since: Sep 12, 2016
8 of 16
Glad to hear all of your thoughts are similarly aligned with mine!

As an add on question, does it change anyone's opinions that this is for a non-profit org that does not have a lot of money in its budget for this type of work?
charles_kozierok
Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
9 of 16

"[D]oes it change anyone's opinions that this is for a non-profit org that does not have a lot of money in its budget for this type of work?"

 

Not mine.

 

I think it's fine to work for a reduced rate to help out a non-profit -- that's a personal choice -- but it's never, ever a good idea to agree to a fixed price for an open-ended amount of work.

 

Never, ever do it. Just read all the scope creep horror stories here. You dodged a bullet.

 

ETA: I bet a good percentage of the clients who claim to be non-profits around here aren't.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 16

My time with is my time.

 

Your non-profit is your non-profit.

 

It isn't necessarily my non-profit.

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