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Do Clients ask you for a follow up proposal? How do you handle?

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Ace Contributor
Bronson L Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
1 of 10

Ok,

so I applied for a project with my standard proposal and the client replied back with a word doc outlining his project and asked for feedback. 

 

I provided feedback and my opinions on what needs to be done and that I can handle the job.

 

The client then replies back asking for a proposal with activites, timelines, budgets, and estimates on ROI for the next 3 months.

 

Basically he is asking for a project outline which would require more research and time spent on my part. 

 

Client does have a 65% hire rate but a much lower hourly average than my rate. They are also interviewing 10 other candidates. 

 

I don't want to invest time in preparing a detailed proposal only for him to hire someone else at a lower rate to do the job. 

 

How would you handle this situation?

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Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
2 of 10

That sounds like free work to me.

 

Almost every PM job I have taken to this point required some sort of "getting started outline", because though the client SHOULD have done this first, they usually do not.  So I have a template for this, and after the first post-hire call, I will write it up, save it, and send it the client. This is usually just a page or 2. If I was asked to do anything larger, it would take longer, for sure.

 

I would NOT provide this to the client unless I was already hired.

 

It sounds to me like your prospective client is trying to get a free project outline out of you. If I was in this position, I would say something like this:

 

"Thank you for your interest in hiring me for this position. If your unsure of how to proceed with this job and need this outline ahead of your final hire process, I'd be happy to do this for you as a fixed price project priced at $150.00 (or whatever price works for you). Once that outline is sent, I would be pleased to continue discussion regarding the primary job."

 

At least this way, you get paid for the outline, even if you don't get the other job.

 

Edit: Preston has written some nice tips about additional aspects of fixed-price jobs that you should consider. I don't offer fixed price services right now, and Preston knows more about them than I do.

 

 

 

 

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Ace Contributor
Bronson L Member Since: Jul 28, 2015
3 of 10

Thanks Pandora, 

 

I wasn't sure if I was being unreasonable in my thinking. 

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

A few months ago a client paid me nearly $1000 for writing a proposal. It took a lot of my time to write the proposal. The client paid me for my time. That was a good client.

 

I agree with Pandora. If a client is asking you to write a proposal beyond your initial job proposal, the client is asking for free work.

 

If I had a client ask me that, I would simply ask if the client if she wants to set up an hourly contract immediately, and I'll be able to start writing the proposal, or if she wants me to provide her with a specific amount she can plug in for setting up a fixed-price contract for writing the proposal, and I would say that I would need 50% of the amount funded and released before I started.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 10

Preston H wrote:and I would say that I would need 50% of the amount funded and released before I started.

 Why would you try and force a client to waive all rights to getting anything at all?

 

The whole point of Esrow is to make sure that freelancers can not run off with upfront payments without providing anything, and clients cannot run away with work done without payying.

 

When a client releases a milestone they sign away their rights to a refund in case nothing is received. They sign that they have received "the work" connected with that milestone.

 

This is clearly not the case with an "up-front" without anything having been provided.

 

Should that client contact Upwork they would be told in no uncertain terms that releasing any funds without having received the respective work associated with that milestone would be inadvisable at best, a superbly bad idea at worst.

 

In the case of a dispute ir would also make the freelancer look seriously suspect.

 

This is very, very bad advice.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 10

Petra, I actually agree with everything you said here about Escrow and up-front payments.

 

You're right, generally.

 

Personally, I never ask for any upfront payment at all, and I never did even when there was no escrow.

 

My advice was for this specific situation, in which a client demonstrated they may not be a good client and may be trying to get free work from the contractor because the client asked the contractor to submit a very detailed project outline for free.

 

There is a high probability that this specific client, who asked for the detailed project outline for free, can't be trusted to pay for it. So I suggested the contractor at least get half of it paid for up front. So that if the client decides to take the project outline and then complain about it or dispute paying for it, the contractor can just accept whatever the client does and at the very least will have received half.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 10

@Preston H wrote:

 

My advice was for this specific situation, in which a client demonstrated they may not be a good client and may be trying to get free work from the contractor because the client asked the contractor to submit a very detailed project outline for free.


 Then the correct response would be to decline and walk away, or, preferably, communicate with the client how what he is asking is beyond the scope of a proposal.

 

Educating clients is a skill that really pays off for a freelancer.

 

Asking for something that is at best unneccessary considering there is Escrow, and at worst potentially able to cause trouble because it looks dodgy is not the way forward.

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Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
8 of 10

Petra,

I am surprised that as a writer you have never encountered the practice of advance payments. It is not universal; it is not uncommon. There is nothing "dodgy" about getting advance payments before a finger is lifted; it depends on the industry's practices, the contractor's and client's practices, the nature of the contract, and specific circumstances such as those described by Preston.

Best,
MIchael

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 10

@Douglas Michael M wrote:

Petra,

I am surprised that as a writer you have never encountered the practice of advance payments. It is not universal; it is not uncommon. There is nothing "dodgy" about getting advance payments before a finger is lifted; it depends on the industry's practices, the contractor's and client's practices, the nature of the contract, and specific circumstances such as those described by Preston.

Best,
MIchael


 Before Escrow, absolutely!  I almost always did get an advance payment before Escrow.

 

Escrow means the funds are there, committed, protecting both client and freelancer.

 

With Escrow there is no need.

 

When releasing funds from Escrow the client states that they have released the funds because they received the deliverables. If no deliverables were produced this makes a nonsense of the concept.

 

Up front payments are super where there is no Escrow. Where there is Escrow they ARE "an issue"

 

 

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
10 of 10

Petra,

 

Escrow and advance payments are two quite separate issues. One really has nothing to do with the other.

 

Providers and clients may have their own contracts, including—as Garnor has informed us—terms that supersede the default Upwork contract (which, by the way, an advance does not).

 

The deliverable for milestone one, for example, can be defined as acceptance of the contract by both parties. This is exactly how advances work in the traditional publilshing industry.

 

Best,

Michael

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