Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Difficult client

Active Member
Reshma B Member Since: Jan 9, 2018
1 of 8

Hello,

 

I started a  fixed-price contract with a client way back in June.  We agreed to a price for the first milestone and decided to revisit the price after the 1st milestone was completed.  Unfortunately, this conversation was via skype and not recorded anywhere on Upwork.

 

After the first milestone was completed, he asked for a revision in which I had to do about 50% rework. I incorporated all the changes and after submitting the changes, he did approve them and I got paid.

 

However, after delivering the first milestone, I realized that the price we initially agreed upon was less and compared to the effort and the rework involved. So I asked him to revisit the payment structure for the second milestone as discussed earlier on Skype. However, he is not agreeing to increase the price and wants to continue at the old rate.

 

So I was wondering what are the options left with me. If I do not agree to continue on the old terms, will it be considered as a breach of contract from my end?  Also, if he leaves me a negative review for not agreeing to continue on the old terms, Can I get Upwork to remove it or at least mediate?

 

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 8

You are under no obligation to do more work than expected.

 

If you have been paid for the first milestone already, then you should NOT agree to do a second milestone at a price that you now know won’t reflect the work necessary.

 

You should be firm about the price for the next milestone.

 

If the client does not agree to the price you ask for, then thank him for his time and close the contract.

 

Is it possible that he marks you down in a review?

 

Yes.

 

Can you appeal or dispute his review?

 

No.

 

Does Upwork mediate reviews?

 

No.

 

Your alternative is to agree to the milestone at the original price. Is there a way you can do that but NOT do extra work?

 

Maybe you learned a lesson about pricing your fixed-price contract quotes.

 

You also probably learned about how to specify in your agreements that you will not do revisions, or limit the number of revisions.

 

Or do not do milestones that are so large. Make them smaller. When they are smaller, you will get paid sooner, more frequently. And it is easier to define each task, and easier to point out when there is a request that is OUTSIDE of the agreed-upon task.

 

Or do not agree to multiple-milestone contracts. Click on my name and look at my recent work history. You will see many separate fixed-price contracts for the same project. Each is separate. If things go bad or if I don’t think the client is paying me fairly, then I don’t need to agree to the next single-milestone contract.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 8

Preston H wrote:

You are under no obligation to do more work than expected.


You have a most peculiar understanding as to what a contract is. (Why am I not surprised...)


She is (strictly speaking) under the obligation to do the work she contractually agreed to do. Nobody will sue her if she doesn't, but that does not change her obligations under the terms of the contract.

 

What she "expected" is utterly irrelevant. All that matters is what she contractually agreed to.

 

It sounds like she seriously underestimated how much work a contract entails and is now sorry she ever took the contract.

It happens to all of us at some point or the other, I know only too well it's happened to me and every. single. time. it was my own fault because I did not pay attention / did not do my homework before accepting a contract.

 


Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 8

Reshma B wrote:

 

I started a  fixed-price contract with a client way back in June.  We agreed to a price for the first milestone and decided to revisit the price after the 1st milestone was completed. 


That is where you went very, VERY badly wrong.

That is not how to set up a contract. Essentially you have a contract that say X deliverables for Y pay. That's it.

You revisited the pay after the first milestone and the client, after revisiting, would like to stick with the binding contract entered by both of you.

 


Reshma B wrote:

However, he is not agreeing to increase the price and wants to continue at the old rate.


As is his right.

 


Reshma B wrote:

If I do not agree to continue on the old terms, will it be considered as a breach of contract from my end? 


Sure. But you won't get taken to court or anything like that.

 


Reshma B wrote:

Also, if he leaves me a negative review for not agreeing to continue on the old terms, Can I get Upwork to remove it or at least mediate?


No. The client has every right to leave feedback that reflect on how they feel about the experience of working with you.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
5 of 8

What Petra said. Also...

 

When neither the client nor the FL has a good sense of how long a project will take/how much it will cost (or the FL knows but the client needs it demosntrated), it can work to complete a representative portion for either a fixed fee or an hourly rate (with a mutually acceptable cap). When that is completed and paid for, the two parties then re-negotiate based on what they learned about the scope and begin a new, separate contract.

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
6 of 8

I agree with Petra and Phyllis, but also want to add that you will get a poor reputation as a freelancer if you cannot complete work or decide you don't want to complete work because you made a mistake bidding on a project. You agreed on a price to do this work. You want to renegotiate, the client does not. If I were the client, and you closed the contract without completing, I would likely leave a bad review simply because to me it would seem like you were trying to hijack the price on me after the fact. 

 

Why is your mistake in bidding now the client's problem? 

 

We have all done this - underbid and regretted it later. But it's better to complete the work and keep your word, in my opinion, be a freelancer of integrity, than to leave the client in a lurch because you're unhappy with the rate that you proposed. 

 

Obviously you don't want to work endlessly at a rate that is lower than you anticipated. So I would at this point be clear with the client on how many revisions can be expected, and if they aren't happy with that, then they could close the contract or increase the price to cover additional revisions. Even if the scope of revisions wasn't clear at the outset, you can clarify it now. The thing with re-negotiating is that the client can choose to walk away, and it could, and very likely will, affect your review and JSS. For me it would really depend on a number of factors whether or not I'd want to close the contract myself or complete it as promised, such as if I expected repeat business from them, if this was my first job on UpWork, if I didn't need the JSS hit right now, or if I am top-rated and could just remove it... If you're early on here at UpWork, it may be worth it to complete the job as promised and get the good review. Not saying it doesn't suck, but it is what it is. I'm sure you'll be much clearer with scope of work next time. 

Active Member
Reshma B Member Since: Jan 9, 2018
7 of 8

Thank you, everyone, for your replies. In hindsight yes, I should have been careful and laid out the terms clearly before creating the contract. But it just doesn't seem fair to me that a client can ask for an unlimited number of revisions. Also, we had agreed on Skype that the first milestone would be a trial basis and we would renegotiate the price after the first milestone. This is a big lesson for me.

Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
8 of 8

You've completed milestone 1 and been paid? Just tell the client that you don't want to continue the relationship and end the contract. Each new milestone should be agreed to by both parties. The client can add the milestone but that doesn't mean you have to do the work. Yes, the client may leave negative feedback but if you don't want to work for them anymore, you don't have to. 

TOP KUDOED MEMBERS