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sydneyjowie
Community Member

How to approach clients that message you months later requesting more work?

I started on Upwork back in December of last year and had tons of free time on my hands. I had one client that I did work for, was paid for, but the contract was never closed. They said they needed to look it over and then would re-send for final editing. I started the project back in December, and they are just now getting back to me. I get a message today (5 months later) requesting the final edit. Technically, I did agree to a final edit. My question is, how is this allowed 5 months later? My schedule now compared to then is completely the opposite. I have almost no time on my hands and haven't been active much on Upwork besides one super easy client that I do work for every once in a while. What is the best way to approach this? They're asking for some work I didn't realize was part of the description, and work that isn't part of my expertise, but they've already paid and I don't want a low rating. I did already tell them to send the draft over, so I can't really say no.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Sydney:
You have already been paid.

They aren't trying to get their money back. They're trying to get a project done. And you don't have time to work on it.

 

So at issue for YOU here is feedback from the client... because the contract is still open.

And at issue for the client is the project.

 

You have 7 completed jobs on your profile, with 100% JSS.

 

You don't want to just blow this off. You want the client to be satisfied.

 

Could you try this:

 

Close the contract now.

 

Then send the client a message:

 

"Harold,

I would like to help you with this, but my situation has changed and I will not be able to do this, even if you set up a new contract to pay me for the new work. If you want to work on this yourself or hire another freelancer, I will be able to help provide advice and guidance - at no cost."

 

The client's goal is to get the project done. You are offering to help do that.

 

If the client wants your help, they know they will need to leave positive feedback, or not leave feedback at all. If you close the contract now, then in 14 days, the client will have left feedback (which you can view immediately after they leave it) or they will have no ability to leave feedback.

 

If you offer to provide some guidance and advice, then you can help them achieve their goals... but you don't have to do the work yourself. If you see their feedback to you, then you can offer an appropriate amount of guidance and advice, without needing to worry about spending the time it takes to complete the project, and without needing to worry about future feedback.

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8 REPLIES 8
a_lipsey
Community Member


Sydney W wrote:

I started on Upwork back in December of last year and had tons of free time on my hands. I had one client that I did work for, was paid for, but the contract was never closed. They said they needed to look it over and then would re-send for final editing. I started the project back in December, and they are just now getting back to me. I get a message today (5 months later) requesting the final edit. Technically, I did agree to a final edit. My question is, how is this allowed 5 months later? My schedule now compared to then is completely the opposite. I have almost no time on my hands and haven't been active much on Upwork besides one super easy client that I do work for every once in a while. What is the best way to approach this? They're asking for some work I didn't realize was part of the description, and work that isn't part of my expertise, but they've already paid and I don't want a low rating. I did already tell them to send the draft over, so I can't really say no.


Simply explain that since you haven't heard from them in 5 months that the period for edits has long since passed, and your schedule is quite full right now. Tell them you will squeeze in this edit as a courtesy by X date (you pick when). Say specifically what will be included in this edit. If they ask for anything more, tell them they will have to fund a new milestone. Be polite and courteous. Hopefully they can understand that it's been 5 months since you sent the materials. 

prestonhunter
Community Member

re: "I had one client that I did work for, was paid for, but the contract was never closed."

 

Now they want help?
Five months later?

As a freelancer, you made a mistake by not closing the contract immediately after you were paid for your work.


If the client is asking for a final edit, and you DID agree to a final edit... and you never closed the contract... Then is there a reason why you don't simply do the final edit and be done with this?

 

==============================

 

[Below: Not directly related to the original poster's specific situation, but hopefully helpful for other people:]

 

If a former client wants your help again, and you have no open contracts with them:

 

First of all: Keep in mind that these clients need you far more than you need them. (In fact, you don't actually need them at all.)

 

You are not obligated to help them. They are clients. A former client is not your ailing aunt who raised you since you were a baby and now needs a somebody to look after her dog while she is in the hospital. This is a business decision. Your decision whether or not to help a former client needs to be based on sound business principles.

 

Any former client who contacts you to ask for help without also making it clear that he wants to pay you... is making a mistake. Of course a former client must pay you if he wants your help again. Smart clients make that clear from the first sentence. Smart clients do this because they don't want to risk you thinking that they are asking for free work. A smart client doesn't want to lose the opportunity to secure your services by making such a silly mistake.

 

If a former client contacts you, then the first thing to do is to decide if you are interested at all in working for them again. If you are not intersted, then help them out a little bit by quickly letting them know, so they can search elsewhere for help.

 

If you ARE open to working for them, then the simplest thing for you to do is let them hire you using an hourly contract. You don't need to negotiate anything or discuss anything. Just tell them:


"Joseph, thank you for your note. I have some availability at this time. You may hire me using an hourly contract. Go ahead and send a Hire offer. I will accept, and after that we can continue discussing what you need done now."

My issue is that I sent a "Draft 1" edit 5 months ago, so they think I owe them more drafts (which technically I do), but the new document I was sent is all out of order, has pages added to it, etc. and is going to be a ton of work and time that I don't have. I thought the document would be the one I had sent in Feb. but requesting a few minor changes (ie proofreading, etc.), but now they are asking for formatting which I already did back in Feb. 

Sydney:
You have already been paid.

They aren't trying to get their money back. They're trying to get a project done. And you don't have time to work on it.

 

So at issue for YOU here is feedback from the client... because the contract is still open.

And at issue for the client is the project.

 

You have 7 completed jobs on your profile, with 100% JSS.

 

You don't want to just blow this off. You want the client to be satisfied.

 

Could you try this:

 

Close the contract now.

 

Then send the client a message:

 

"Harold,

I would like to help you with this, but my situation has changed and I will not be able to do this, even if you set up a new contract to pay me for the new work. If you want to work on this yourself or hire another freelancer, I will be able to help provide advice and guidance - at no cost."

 

The client's goal is to get the project done. You are offering to help do that.

 

If the client wants your help, they know they will need to leave positive feedback, or not leave feedback at all. If you close the contract now, then in 14 days, the client will have left feedback (which you can view immediately after they leave it) or they will have no ability to leave feedback.

 

If you offer to provide some guidance and advice, then you can help them achieve their goals... but you don't have to do the work yourself. If you see their feedback to you, then you can offer an appropriate amount of guidance and advice, without needing to worry about spending the time it takes to complete the project, and without needing to worry about future feedback.


Preston H wrote:

Sydney:
You have already been paid.

They aren't going to get the money back.

 

So at issue here is feedback from the client... because the contract is still open.

 

You have 7 completed jobs on your profile, with 100% JSS.

 

Could you try this:

 

Close the contract now.

 

Then send the client a message:

 

"Harold,

I would like to help you with this, but my situation has changed and I will not be able to do this, even if you set up a new contract to pay me for the new work. If you want to work on this yourself or hire another freelancer, I will be able to help provide advice and guidance - at no cost."


I'm with Preston on this one. If they are sending you back a whole bunch of extra work expecting it done for free, that's not cool. 

 

How much was the milestone they paid and how much is it in comparison to the rest of your projects? If it's a smaller amount then it will have less weight. If it's larger, then it will be weighted more heavily. 

 

Are you top-rated yet? If so you could wait and see what impact it will have then remove it. 

They paid the full amount- no milestones. I went ahead and closed the contract as suggested and messaged the client. I feel it’ll negatively affect my ratings, but I’m also not too active on Upwork anymore so not sure it matters much. I believe I just need to add a video to get top-rated status. This will probably bring my scores way down though because I don’t think the client will be happy.

Closing the contract won't impact JSS.

If the client does not leave feedback, there will be no impact on JSS.

If the client leaves positive feedback, that's a good thing.

 

Only thing that would negatively impact JSS is negative feedback from client, which I don't anticipate. But, yes, that is possible.


Sydney W wrote:
They paid the full amount- no milestones. I went ahead and closed the contract as suggested and messaged the client. I feel it’ll negatively affect my ratings, but I’m also not too active on Upwork anymore so not sure it matters much. I believe I just need to add a video to get top-rated status. This will probably bring my scores way down though because I don’t think the client will be happy.

A video does not give you top rated status. You have to keep 100% for 13 of 16 weeks, and have 12-month earnings of $1000 or more. You also must have a complete profile. 

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