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How to deal with scope creep after accepting a contract?

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
11 of 33

I should cover this specifically since it actually does matter:

"So you use manual hours, meaning "no protection" (if the client doesn't want to pay, you don't get paid) - potentially "free work" and "not getting paid" and STILL have the risk of a negative effect on your JSS.

How in the world does that sound smart to you?"

- Yes, I use manual hours.   Always.  Meaning "no protection".  My delivery is my protection.  Never, in 7 years on this platform, across all of the profile hours you see, has a client refused to pay me.  Has not getting paid been a problem for you?

- Yes, I would, if need be, cede potentially free work to protect my JSS.   'Have not had to, but if a first week's work, which I bundled to enter on Sunday, went south.  I'd end the contract myself before I got the client into a position where they could affect my JSS.  I protect that 100% JSS you see above all else.  Perhaps this is a policy that would be helpful to your JSS.

- No, there would not be a risk to my JSS.  I am speaking of a week of work, with hours bundled to Sunday, to make sure the scoping is correct and there are no jiggy circumstances.  There is case to be made: this tactic does not work for projects that are.... a week long.


petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
12 of 33

John B wrote:

Perhaps this is a policy that would be helpful to your JSS.


What makes you think my (honest; not created by ducking, diving, asking for good feedback and working for free in fear of honest client feedback) JSS needs any help at all?

 

And, again, any contract with nothing (ever) paid will hurt the JSS except in the circumstances previously outlined.

 


John wrote:

- Leaving open jobs on the books is obvious a negative potential impactor.


Wrong again. Open contracts only affect the JSS if nothing was ever paid. It makes no difference if an open contract is paused or not. Open contracts with money paid are neutral and have no impact.

 


John B wrote:

I'd end the contract myself before I got the client into a position where they could affect my JSS.  I protect that 100% JSS you see above all else. 


You would do no such thing. If you close a contract before anything has been paid, your JSS will take a hit (because Upwork has long wised up to sneaky stunts like that, done to artifically boost or protect the JSS) because it is a "nothing paid" contract.

 

Also, the client can still leave private feedback, and private feedback is what affects the JSS. You might want to take a look at your "private JSS" on your "My Stats" page...

 


John wrote:

Has not getting paid been a problem for you?


No, it hasn't been (yet), but it *is* for a hell of a lot of people, many of whom can ill afford to take the hit, so throwing about advice like that without the proviso that manual time means you are only ever one failed credit card charge or a client getting run over by a bus or fired or disputing or going bankrupt away from not getting paid for 2 weeks worth of work.

 

It also means that in case of fraudulent use of a payment method you could lose much more than just a week's worth. Having seen someone battle over a $ 4k chargeback, for example, was not pretty.

 

I also use manual time, but to universally advise it is irresponsible.

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
13 of 33

Apologies on this one, too.  In 2500 work hours, about 70 projects now, I have never had a client dispute hours.  Not once.  Here's the bottom line as I see it.

- Work with high quality clients.  If they 'don't want to pay you', (a) the work was done poorly or (b) the client was chosen poorly --  and both of those are mistakes made the by the contractor.

- If scope is an issue, do some upfront work, keep it off the books for a couple days, to make sure the client will behave.  Log them in on the weekend when it is clear the first week will go well.

- Leaving open jobs on the books is obvious a negative potential impactor.  Don't start a contract until work is ready to start, and if a contract work set stops, have the client put it on pause. That is incredibly simple to do.

 

These are simple things to do.

feed_my_eyes
Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
14 of 33

John B wrote:


- If scope is an issue, do some upfront work, keep it off the books for a couple days, to make sure the client will behave.  Log them in on the weekend when it is clear the first week will go well.


The rest of your advice is good, but why should anyone do upfront work and "keep it off the books"? If you're telling people that they should do several days worth of work before even accepting a contract or asking for payment, then this is very bad advice. Also, projects can go wrong even after working with a client for weeks or months, let alone a few days; some clients will "behave" right up until a freelancer sends them the finished work, and then the trouble begins.

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
15 of 33

John B wrote:

Here's a tactic I use with prospective-then-actual clients who I think maybe creepy with my scope.  Hence, scope creep.  This also applies to work that is extensive enough where we cannot estimate total scope until some N period of hours is completed.

First, to note: until hours are entered, the project can be cancelled without reflection on ratings or impact on JSS.  With that in mind.

If I am in a circumstance where it appears things might get a little 'jiggy' -- and I am not totally certain the client is going to be partnership-quality.  I will physically work through the scoping work, just as if they are billable hours.   And keep track of them, perhaps even send emails so there is no 'surprise'.  But I wait until the end of the N-needed-hours period before I log them into Upwork.  Characteristically, I simply say, "I will bulk load the hours in on Sunday, let's get through this week of work, make sure we totally agree on scope, and when we do, then, I can log the hours with good accord.


Now, this does imply that 'work might be done' that ultimately 'does not get paid for'.  Yes, there is that risk.  Impactful ratings on our JSS are the lifeblood of our business.  I will -- and on a couple of occassions have -- happily sacrifice three or four, or five of whatever hours to get project work started, get through exact scoping -- then input hours.

Summary: just keep in mind.  Until we log hours, we are still in control of our JSS and ratings destiny. We can use a technique to bundle first week hours to the Sunday listing period, bulk load them in, and -- win the project.  But -- give one's self a week to make sure a potentially sketchy client is going to play ball fairly.  The potential cost.  A few hours of work, not billed.  The gain.  Sounder sleep.


heyyyy aren't you that boomer who did a boomer thing and posted his private pic on here and then ranted that you got hacked and had the mods clear your posting history? Are you the one who claims to have clients sit on the phone with him and you tell them what to type in feedback? Are you the same dude?

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
16 of 33
Nope. I am the 57-year-old management consultant and writer. And the one
who spends, by practical nature. all my time working to deliver results for
my clients. This should be self-evident. Either that, or helping my two
specially chosen Upwork contractor young'ns to go five-for-five in project
delivery success and in so doing: increase their billing rate in 2019 by 4x
what it was when we started our work together, beginning of the year. That
went well. Have a nice day! I guess we all contribute in our ways. Let's
meet up again next year and compare notes on efforts such as this.
lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
17 of 33

John B wrote:
Nope. I am the 57-year-old management consultant and writer. And the one
who spends, by practical nature. all my time working to deliver results for
my clients. This should be self-evident. Either that, or helping my two
specially chosen Upwork contractor young'ns to go five-for-five in project
delivery success and in so doing: increase their billing rate in 2019 by 4x
what it was when we started our work together, beginning of the year. That
went well. Have a nice day! I guess we all contribute in our ways. Let's
meet up again next year and compare notes on efforts such as this.

ok that's cool, I just went and looked you up and yeah, you're the boomer I'm thinking of. lol

bizwriterjohn
Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
18 of 33
Well, as you wish. What people chose to believe is what they chose to
believe. Personally, I don't let Upwork social media/blogs rent space in
my head. If I want to go look something up, it would be a former client,
to call or email and say thank you again for the 5-0. Try it some time.
It is both positive, useful and can have wondrous effects. Does for me.
Ciao.
lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
19 of 33

John B wrote:
Well, as you wish. What people chose to believe is what they chose to
believe. Personally, I don't let Upwork social media/blogs rent space in
my head. If I want to go look something up, it would be a former client,
to call or email and say thank you again for the 5-0. Try it some time.
It is both positive, useful and can have wondrous effects. Does for me.
Ciao.

So many words here, but all I'm sayin is you said in previous posts that you sit on the phone with the client and tell them what to write in your feedback. idk why boomers have to tell us all about their Dr Evil levels of income, but I just asked if you were the one who posted their image here and then claimed to have been hacked. I can't help if your advice was unforgettable. I always remember lolcows because I love them very much.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
20 of 33

Jennifer M wrote:

idk why boomers have to tell us all about their Dr Evil levels of income

Especially when they claim $ 275k when it's less than half that

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