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Defining "writing only, no research required"

gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
11 of 20

Not really.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
12 of 20

Depending on how out of proportion it's going to be, I might do what you described or I might revisit with the client before getting started and explain how much additional work was required and attempt to renegotiate or to withdraw from the project.

 

If you go ahead and do the work, whether or not you renegotiate, I would keep track of exactly how many hours the unanticipated work takes, and use that information to price the future rounds if you move forward.

 

For future jobs with different clients, if a client tells me the research is done, I ask to see the source materials before finalizing a price/timeline.

busanitoday
Ace Contributor
Busani M Member Since: Oct 13, 2016
13 of 20

Hi Phyllis 

 

I think you should inform the client that this is not your understanding of  "writing only--the research is already done.". Tell them what you propose a job such as this one will cost them and allow them to make a decision whether you guys will go on with the job or not. If they do not agree with your proposal, apologise and ask them to get someone else to do the work.

 

I think the client knew that they were being dishonest. I avoid dishonest clients because the relationship does not usually end well.  This is not the only thing they are being dishonest about. They will just mess up your profile and leave you with a bitter taste in the mount. Oprah Winfrey once said. "When someone tells you who they are for the first time, listen." 

 

Regards

Busani 

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
14 of 20

Well, that's not my definition of a "writing" only job (and probably the same goes for *most* writers in this forum). 

 

When they say some version of "more work might be to come" (as Jenn M pointed out), this is a huge red flag and signals to me they are going to be a PITA in some way, shape or form (for me it's been 100% the case...yes 100% so I'm unmoved by this "promise").

 

You've got a few choices if you still want to keep the contract going:

 

1. Suck it up, do the work, and hope the client doesn't pull something similar with the next milestones (that's if they follow through). This isn't my method but then again, I have no qualms with telling a client "no thanks."

 

2. Discuss with the client that your definition of "write only" is "x" and this will take you more time, and then move ahead with #1.

 

3. #2 but add that it will cost them more. 

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
15 of 20

That's a tough one. On the one hand, I understand that it is a lot more work to find the exact data within the source and then reference it in your document. On the other hand, I don't think I could force myself to not confirm the data by reading the source material. So the only real time saving for me might be if the client had flagged specific sections of the document that she wanted to use. 

 

If you ask to cancel the contract, there may be limited JSS consequences. But you can always request to exclude the contract since you are top rated. If you do the work without comment, the client may be surprised when it is time to negotiate the next contract. It might be better to introduce the issue sooner rather than later. Would your decision change if you knew that the client would not be willing to meet your higher price for future projects? 

 

 

gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
16 of 20

Thank you all for the input. I could be wrong but I don't think the client is being deliberately dishonest. I suspect this may be the first time she has farmed out part of her work, and she doesn't know how to dismantle the entire process into discrete parts and delegate. At least, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt for now.

 

It's a good-paying project if not for the extra work. That turns it into a medium-paying project, but it's sizable enough that I'm not inclined to sneeze at it. If it turns out to be a one-shot deal, it will still be worth my while. I just want to (1) optimize my chances of getting future work, and (2) make sure I am fairly compensated for the future work.

 

I think this was a misunderstanding without malice, so I'm disinclined to either cancel the contract and leave her high and dry or try to hold her up for more money. But I intend to have a very direct and specific conversation before embarkign on another project with her. So I'm mainly looking for confirmation (or not) that this was not fairly characterized as "writing only." And suggestions about avoiding this pothole in future. I love the idea of asking to see the source material before committing.

 

BTW I am tracking teh time. I use a tracker called Manic Time that records everything I do, all day long. I keep my own timesheets for all projects, whether they're flat fee or hourly. Makes it a lot easier to make intentional pricing decisions.

 

Thanks, everybody!

cupidmedia
Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
17 of 20

I'm not a freelance writer but I found this topic interesting based on the initial premise alone. I don't want to derail the topic, but I'm curious - is this a common thing? That someone gives a writer research material and the writer pulls it together? I'm just thinking about, as an example that's easy for me to picture, writing a university report (I know, I know, these jobs aren't allowed on Upwork - it's just a parallel I'm familiar with). I don't see how I could take research I've done for a university report, including highlighting key paragraphs from academic articles, and then give that to someone else and expect them to make a report out of it.

 

Also, I know how unpopular a tactic it is around here, but I am a client who *does* do the "promise of future work" thing whenever I am looking for a new long-term freelancer - I start with a small paid trial of several freelancers and pick the best one. I *have* to be up-front that its a trial because I need to know that the freelancer I choose is going to be happy to commit to a long-term, ongoing hourly contract with me. So I just have to rely on my client "profile" to speak for itself. So, not *every* client who promises future work is dodgy Smiley Happy

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
18 of 20

@Jennifer D wrote:

I'm not a freelance writer but I found this topic interesting based on the initial premise alone. I don't want to derail the topic, but I'm curious - is this a common thing? That someone gives a writer research material and the writer pulls it together? I'm just thinking about, as an example that's easy for me to picture, writing a university report (I know, I know, these jobs aren't allowed on Upwork - it's just a parallel I'm familiar with). I don't see how I could take research I've done for a university report, including highlighting key paragraphs from academic articles, and then give that to someone else and expect them to make a report out of it.

 

Also, I know how unpopular a tactic it is around here, but I am a client who *does* do the "promise of future work" thing whenever I am looking for a new long-term freelancer - I start with a small paid trial of several freelancers and pick the best one. I *have* to be up-front that its a trial because I need to know that the freelancer I choose is going to be happy to commit to a long-term, ongoing hourly contract with me. So I just have to rely on my client "profile" to speak for itself. So, not *every* client who promises future work is dodgy Smiley Happy


 I had it happen when I was a noob. That was back in sad days for sure, but now I position myself as an expert so people mostly just let me do my thing and figure I know what's needed anyway.

 

Also, the promise of future work usually comes with "can you work cheaper" and then I LOL and say no. The OP seems to have taken on a "well paying" gig from her words but thinks there is more coming. She wouldn't think this if the client didn't throw it at her. Good clients do sometimes say there is other work, but the ones to avoid are the ones that want you to work for cheap because promises.

 

This is why I like new people to the platform. They have no idea and don't play these stupid games. They pretty much just say "can you do this and how much" and I take it from there. I work much better with freedom rather than what most people here seem to need, which is a boss and someone to tell them what to do.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
19 of 20

Jennifer, in most instances, I agree with you. One exception in writing is when you're writing something like a white paper for a technology provider. In that case, the provider will typically have an outline or list of key points they want to illustrate, and will provide a demo or product specs along with compiled research that explains why each of their key points matters, or what the industry norm is. 

 

That's a different (and less expensive) process than when the client simply provides product information and the key selling points and leaves it to the writer to gather supporting industry data, competitor information, etc.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
20 of 20

oh yeah true, in those cases I ask for an outline. I ask for an outline for ebooks and whitepapers, although tbh I try not to do whitepapers because I really don't like doing them. For ebooks, I ask for an outline and they can leave references if they want to.

 

I took the OP's thing as she has 40 different PDFs that are several pages long and that's just ridic.

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