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Duration of pre-contractual engagement

psych101
Active Member
Heather N Member Since: Nov 13, 2020
1 of 9

Happy New Year!  

 

I'm curious how much time, effort, and energy you invest in pre-contractual conversations with prospective clients.  

 

EDIT: Removed potentially identifying info

 

Does anyone ever feel like this?  If so, how do you deal with it internally and, if at all, with the client?  

 

Thank you in advance.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
BEST ANSWER
2 of 9

The "interview" period is only so that the client can verify that you are who you say you are and you know what you are doing. The "interview" period is NOT meant for you to provide free consultation to the client.

 

You don't need to work for free for clients!

 

But you need to be the one who takes charge of this. Upwork can't do it for you.

 

I have plenty of clients who are quick to ask that I accept a contract before any conversations about their project take place, because they know it is the right thing to do and they also know that doing so ensures that everything discussed belongs to them.


But some clients may not be so adept at doing this. You may need to guide them.

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psych101
Active Member
Heather N Member Since: Nov 13, 2020
3 of 9

Thank you so much, I really needed to hear this.  I feel kinda silly, but I certainly won't make that mistake again.  🙂

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
4 of 9

Every day on this board we see examples of the problems created by poor client/freelancer communications.  

 

I never agree to a contract with a new client without talking to them first. The type of work I do requires extensive communications with each client throughout the minimum 4 - 8 weeks I work with them, so if a client can't communicate well, including verbally, a project is unlikely to end well. 

 

Every client, every freelancer and every project are unique, but I'd guess I usually invest about 2% - 3% of the total time I expect to actually work on a project interviewing the prospective client (while letting them think they are only interviewing me).

 

But my average hourly work time per project is probably about 20 - 30 hours. So, while I doubt there are many Upwork projects so small that they don't warrant at least an initial 10 minute conversation with a prospective client. I'm guessing some freelancers think they don't have the luxury of being selective in accepting new projects and have to put their JSS at great risk with every new, unvetted client, which is why so many of the problems we see freelancers post on this board are largely based on poor commuications between freelancer and client, including little or no clear setting of expectations before their projects began.

 

This situation could also be at least somewhat, maybe largely, eliminated if Upwork provided any information about each client's history of dealing with their freelancers (such as number of cancelled projects, number of projects that ended in mediation or requests for refunds, etc.), but that is not going to happen. 

 

 

 

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
5 of 9

In the past, I've had a few clients who took absolutely ages to hire me - sent me multiple questions, asked to interview me, then asked me to interview with somebody else at their company, then asked more questions, then took a few more weeks (sometimes months) to make a final decision. And in every single case, once they hired me, their projects took ages to complete as well; they weren't bad people, but they were excruciatingly indecisive, requested lots of revisions, had to consult multiple other people to get sign-off at each stage, and wanted to have hour-long video conferences over every little thing. Nowadays, I bail out at the earliest indication that the interview stage is going to drag on - it's just not worth it.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 9

There is nothing wrong with a client who wants to have three hour-long meetings to decide which shade of blue they want to use for the sub-headline on the "Choose Timezone" page...

 

...as long as the freelancer has been officially hired and is paid for all time spent attending those meetings.

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
7 of 9

Preston H wrote:

There is nothing wrong with a client who wants to have three hour-long meetings to decide which shade of blue they want to use for the the sub-headline on the "Choose Timezone" page...

 

...as long as the freelancer has been officially hired and is paid for all time spent attending those meetings.


I was trying to say that I'd rather not work with clients who require 3-hour long meetings to decide on a colour, regardless of whether I'm being paid. But to each his own.

prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 9

Christine: That's cool. Yours is also a valid sentiment.

audrey1111
Active Member
Audrey S Member Since: Sep 26, 2020
9 of 9

Following. I've been trying to find a good rubric for this for myself, and I'm wondering if Project Catalog may help with streamlining pre-contract conversations for smaller projects, even if someone's not actually hiring directly through the catalog.

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