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Re: Ghosted by Client

thejoshwillis
Active Member
Josh W Member Since: Aug 28, 2017
1 of 6

I have a client right now who I am producing a short theme song for his podcast introduction. He was very urgent and eager to start, so I started immediately and sent a first draft same-day. I did two more drafts and got a pretty nice mix in place that was a lower-quality mp3 file as opposed to a high-quality, mastered wav file that I was saving to submit until the end (I do this with the intention of preventing work from being stolen). He disappeared after I sent the last draft of the song (that he said was "sounding really great,") and it's been about a month and a half since he asked for revisions. I reached out about once every other week, just to check in and ask if he needed anything else done before mastering the final audio file. He kept saying things like "Hey I didn't forget," "I have two more busy days at work and then I'll get to this," and finally, "I'll take a look at it now" before disappearing for another two weeks. 

 

Only $175 of the $350 fixed-price was funded, so I submitted the first milestone for "half down," a week ago which triggered him to say "You have been so great to work with!" but then he did not approve the milestone, and stopped responding again when I thanked him and asked if there's anything else I can do to the song before submitting the final audio. So I'm silently waiting out the 14 days before automatically receiving half, and have just resolved to take this as a loss and use it as an opportunity to learn a lesson. Although he's walked away with a lower-quality, unmastered audio file, something tells me that he either doesn't notice and/or care.

 

What I'm here to ask is how to avoid a dent to my job success score if I end the contract after securing the $175. After taking a look at his profile, it appears as though he's pulled this on every other client he's worked with, as there are three other jobs that are "in progress," that have been open for anywhere from 9 months to over a year and a half, and he does not have a single job that has been completed. 

 

I suppose from here on out, I need to take a better look at client's profiles and histories before walking into a potential mess, and only perform the amount of work that has been funded. Maybe I'll start water-marking my audio files too to avoid another scenario like this. I think I'm just frustrated because I've been nothing but enthusiastic, respectful, and polite, treating this project as seriously as I do with all of my clients, but it's better to learn the hard way now as opposed to during a bigger project where the loss could have been much more significant.

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

Josh:
I can assure you that a client is not obligated to reply to a freelancer's questions.

 

If you are commissioned to do some work, then do the work, submit it, and you will get paid automatically.

 

If the client promised additional milestones, maybe those will materialize, and maybe they won't.

It may be annoying, but clients are not actually obligated to continue setting up milestones.

 

Your client said this was "very urgent."

Well maybe it isn't so urgent after all.

 

He knows where you are, and you're on top of things. That's all you can take responsibility for.

If I have done all of my assignments, and it is the client's turn to do something for the project to go further, then it really doesn't matter to me if the client is slow-going. I have other things I can work on.

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

re: "Maybe I'll start water-marking my audio files too to avoid another scenario like this."

 

Please don't do that.

If the client hired you to provide files and funded escrow for you to do the work, then you need to submit the files to him completely as promised. Not limited in any way. If the client does absolutely nothing, then you get paid in full. The client deserves the files he paid for.

 

If the client did NOT fund a milestone, then you shouldn't be doing the work at all. So there is nothing to 'watermark."


The work on a given task doesn't starts until the milestone is fully funded that is set up to pay for that task.

jessicasimko
Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
4 of 6

Josh W wrote:

I have a client right now who I am producing a short theme song for his podcast introduction. He was very urgent and eager to start, so I started immediately and sent a first draft same-day. I did two more drafts and got a pretty nice mix in place that was a lower-quality mp3 file as opposed to a high-quality, mastered wav file that I was saving to submit until the end (I do this with the intention of preventing work from being stolen). He disappeared after I sent the last draft of the song (that he said was "sounding really great,") and it's been about a month and a half since he asked for revisions. I reached out about once every other week, just to check in and ask if he needed anything else done before mastering the final audio file. He kept saying things like "Hey I didn't forget," "I have two more busy days at work and then I'll get to this," and finally, "I'll take a look at it now" before disappearing for another two weeks. 

 

Only $175 of the $350 fixed-price was funded, so I submitted the first milestone for "half down," a week ago which triggered him to say "You have been so great to work with!" but then he did not approve the milestone, and stopped responding again when I thanked him and asked if there's anything else I can do to the song before submitting the final audio. So I'm silently waiting out the 14 days before automatically receiving half, and have just resolved to take this as a loss and use it as an opportunity to learn a lesson. Although he's walked away with a lower-quality, unmastered audio file, something tells me that he either doesn't notice and/or care.

 

What I'm here to ask is how to avoid a dent to my job success score if I end the contract after securing the $175. After taking a look at his profile, it appears as though he's pulled this on every other client he's worked with, as there are three other jobs that are "in progress," that have been open for anywhere from 9 months to over a year and a half, and he does not have a single job that has been completed. 

 

I suppose from here on out, I need to take a better look at client's profiles and histories before walking into a potential mess, and only perform the amount of work that has been funded. Maybe I'll start water-marking my audio files too to avoid another scenario like this. I think I'm just frustrated because I've been nothing but enthusiastic, respectful, and polite, treating this project as seriously as I do with all of my clients, but it's better to learn the hard way now as opposed to during a bigger project where the loss could have been much more significant.


I had a client wallk away with a rough draft for a half-funded job a couple years ago. Since then, I have never done half price milestones for "rough drafts" (which is similar to what you are describing). I do everything that needs to be done  - including all edits - within one milestone and I tell the client to set it up this way as I don't mind waiting until the end to get paid. This way, if he or she disappears after submitting it, I will get the full payment after 14 days. 

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 6

Josh W wrote:

What I'm here to ask is how to avoid a dent to my job success score if I end the contract after securing the $175.


Nothing to worry about.That will not hurt your JSS at all in any way.

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 6

Always assume that the amount that is funded is all that you will be paid for the work you do. So, if the funding was for a draft version, make sure it covers the amount you want to be paid for the time and effort it takes you to complete the draft version. 

 

e.g. If 90% of your effort goes into the draft and only 10% into the final, then your first milestone should be for 90% of the total you wish to be paid. 

You could have clients who are happy with the draft and don't want to proceed with the second milestone or you could have clients who are unhappy with the draft and don't want to work with you any further. Either way, you want to make sure you have been adequately compensated for your efforts.




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