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dsmgdesign
Community Member

How to protect yourself from disputes and arbitration

I currently have a client with multiple very large fixed-price contracts. There are several deliverables but each deliverable is on it's own contract. And they are all very large numbers.  How do you recommend I protect myself from possible disputes? We've done alot of work so far and documentation of our progress, but recently we've been having difficult conversations regarding scope creep and the impact on timelines. I see some red flags that the client may feel they are compromising too much, and I am having difficult conversations with a team member who wants to drop out of the project which may have very large ramifications. So I just need to know how to best protect myself.  

14 REPLIES 14
lysis10
Community Member

Hourlyyyyyyy

lysis10
Community Member

with time tracker not manual time

Yes, I love hourly contracts, too, for that very same reason. Unforunately, these are fixed price contracts. They had to be for the type of deliverables, and because I am subcontracting work. For the number of deliverables needed in the amount of time needed, both the client and I immediately realized a team approach as well as the fixed-price model was the only approach.

Small fixed-price contracts.

 

Rather than one contract for $1000...

Use ten contracts for $100 each.


Preston H wrote:

Small fixed-price contracts.

 

Rather than one contract for $1000...

Use ten contracts for $100 each.


This really doesn't protect you from the client at the end saying they want all their money back.

Yup, too late for that, too. These are currently open contracts. Also not possible. Each deliverable is on it's own contract. But, one deliverable can't be broken up into different contracts. No client will ever go for that. Not in my line of work. 

tlbp
Community Member


David S M wrote:

Yup, too late for that, too. These are currently open contracts. Also not possible. Each deliverable is on it's own contract. But, one deliverable can't be broken up into different contracts. No client will ever go for that. Not in my line of work. 


Better work on your diplomacy skills. You've signed on as an agency/project manager but all the contracts are in your name so it's your reputation on the line. If someone is talking about dropping out, hire their replacement now. If the client is engaging in scope creep and is going to hold your feedback hostage if you don't comply--good luck. 

dsmgdesign
Community Member



all the contracts are in your name so it's your reputation on the line. 


Actually, I've assigned a number of contracts to a team member. But you're right, my agency reputation is on the line for anything it takes on. 

petra_r
Community Member


David S M wrote:

I currently have a client with multiple very large fixed-price contracts. There are several deliverables but each deliverable is on it's own contract. And they are all very large numbers.  How do you recommend I protect myself from possible disputes? 


To be honest, the only protection is to make sure the work is done to the required standard and to keep the client on board.

 

I'd never (again) have several contracts open with any client at any given time, not so much because I'm worried about disputes, but because I'd rather not give one client the power to tank my metrics with poor outcomes on several contracts. 


I'd never (again) have several contracts open with any client at any given time, not so much because I'm worried about disputes, but because I'd rather not give one client the power to tank my metrics with poor outcomes on several contracts. 


So, I tried to do them consecuctively, but this is good feedback for next time. 


To be honest, the only protection is to make sure the work is done to the required standard and to keep the client on board.

 


It will be done to the required standard in terms of getting everything the client is looking for, and we have no plans to abandon the client. We're professionals and we bring projects to the finish line. We just may have to set the expectations along the way that with the continued scope creep we may have to move the finish line out a bit. That is really my only concern right now. Just really looking for anyone who may have had the same or similar experience. 

tlbp
Community Member


David S M wrote:

To be honest, the only protection is to make sure the work is done to the required standard and to keep the client on board.

 


It will be done to the required standard in terms of getting everything the client is looking for, and we have no plans to abandon the client. We're professionals and we bring projects to the finish line. We just may have to set the expectations along the way that with the continued scope creep we may have to move the finish line out a bit. That is really my only concern right now. Just really looking for anyone who may have had the same or similar experience. 


It's an unusual combination of factors. Have you asked in the Agencies subforum?

dsmgdesign
Community Member

Thanks everyone for the advice on what to do next time. Thought there might be some suggestions for this time (proper documentation on work progress, how to document the work progress, thoughts if paid milestones mean anything to Upwork....like why would the client pay milestones if they weren't happy with the work that was done for that milestone period, or other thoughts/suggestions). 


David S M wrote:

Thanks everyone for the advice on what to do next time. Thought there might be some suggestions for this time (proper documentation on work progress, how to document the work progress, thoughts if paid milestones mean anything to Upwork....like why would the client pay milestones if they weren't happy with the work that was done for that milestone period, or other thoughts/suggestions). 


Upwork wouldn't take sides, but I should think that proper documentation would help if you need to go to mediation. 

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