I wanted to pick your brain about this topic since it became relevant recently for me. If you develop a front end website for example on a fixed contract, how do you handle the client nitpicking the site if it's not pixel-perfect? For instance, asking for the font size to reduced on this screen, the color to be changed on another, shadows on that screen, margins, etc.
Do you design the website and submit it regardless of those issues? How many times do you accept making those minor modifications? Or do you state up front you are not going to do any of that, as in, you design, submit and you're done?
Logo design and other types of design might be more straight-forward but web design is a bit different I believe. Things like fonts, responsiveness (on mobile), animations, etc can be picked on and sometimes can be up to personal preference.
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Eihab, a freelancer needs to put an end to that kind of nonsense as soon as possible.
If a client does what you describe, then he is abusing the fixed-price contract model. Whether he is doing this out of ignorance or because he is a dishonest person, it doesn't matter. Regardless of the reason, he is stealing your time.
So you need to make it clear in your contract/milestone description what it is that you will do, and then stick to it. Don't do anything beyond that.
If a client asks for something beyond that, then you need to move things to an hourly contract.
If the original agreement does not SPECIFICALLY say anything about the font size, then you are not obligated to fulfill a request about the font size.
You may want to specify in your contract language that the agreement includes no revisions. Or that it allows for one round of revisions and changes as long as the total time does not exceed fifteen minutes.
But you need to be in charge and stay in charge of the process.
You can never know ahead of time if a client is going to understand the fixed-price contract concept. A certain percentage of clients are not capable of understanding or abiding by the principles of fixed-price contracts.
So start small. No more than an hour or two of work. And if the freelancer doesn't pay you as agreed when you finish the task, then you have not invested so much time. You can walk away if necessary.
If a client demonstrates that she can be trusted with a fixed-price contract, then you can agree to increasingly larger contracts.
re: "Or do you state up front you are not going to do any of that, as in, you design, submit and you're done?"
That is what I do.
I agree to do a task, and when I have finished the task, I submit it. It is done.
I am the expert that the client hired to do the task. I know when it is done.
Keep in mind that I am hired to do specific, technical tasks. That is something that a fixed-price contract with me is appropriate for. For example: Create a web page that can import this complex data file into an optimized database.
There is no "design." It is not acceptable for a client to ask me to change the font size.
If the client wants additional design done, then the client will hire a designer. Or the client will pay me using an hourly contract.
I am certainly not a person who is going to agree to a fixed-price contract that involves satisfying all of a client's wishes with regards to aesthetics and design.
If there are freelancers who do something like that using a fixed-price contract, then you will need to talk to them to get their ideas. Personally, I don't think that is a reasonable use of fixed-price contracts.
re: "If the client is paying x amount of money, isn't it natural to expect to be delivered the exact same thing they're paying for? Wouldn't it be dishonest if me to say 'nope, I designed a website for you. It's not an exact match to the wire frames you suppiled. It's not my fault you don't like it as it is. Now pay up.'?"
A client could very well see things that way.
A client could very well think you are being unfair or dishonest if he provided you with visual wireframes and then you don't do everything he says to make the website match those exactly as he envisions.
That is why it would be very unwise for a freelancer to accept a contract that stipulated he would do so, yet provide a quote based on the time he needs to do something different, such as create a site which is simply functioning, but doesn't necessarily match all of the aesthetics.
Or, even more wise for the freelancer, would be to accept the contract only as an hourly contract.
My basic rule of thumb - and remember, this is for me and not a universal Upwork rule - is that a fixed-price milestone does not involve communicating with a client in order to finish the milestone. That means I have all the requirements up front. Then I do the task. Then the task is over and I get paid. If communication with the client is involved, such as if the client may ask for things to be changed, then it means it is an hourly contract.
Eihab S wrote:
I wanted to pick your brain about this topic since it became relevant recently for me. If you develop a front end website for example on a fixed contract,
One trick that may work in the future is to use hourly contracts instead and if they want a fixed price for a task and if you are happy with this, you can agree to cap the number of hours billed for the said task.
During the initial negotiation, you tell them that once this task is delivered, any further changes would then be billed on the clock.
Most of the answers on this thread are in sync with what I had in mind, still, I wanted to add a personal experience. This happened during my new days on Upwork when I accepted a designing job with a fixed price.
The client was good, but their requirements weren't; they continuously used to change how the screens looked like, and me being a new freelancer, a bit afraid of getting a negative review kept on complying. Those were the worst initial days of mine on UpWork because I was doing quite extra work then I had originally committed on doing. According to them, these minor revisions were a part of the contract and I was obliged to do them.
Anyways, after around a month of providing them the support for free, I decided that I have had enough and ended the contract, the client never gave me public feedback, and hence it never affected my profile. But that was the last designing fixed project that I picked on Upwork.
Since then, I have worked with some really cool people, also on some hourly designing jobs and I have learned it the hard way; either you gotta create some solid boundaries of what you are willing to provide, or you might get overworked and end up leaving Upwork altogether.