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Looking to End Contract with Non-Responsive Client

Hi all, I recently began a contract with client with a 10-day turnaround time for the first milestone (presentation of logo concept work).

It has been 3 days since the start of the contract with no response - I first said thank you, then two days later when I heard nothing back I asked her to revise the contract due date as I need further information in order to begin working. Still nothing - It has actually shown that she has been "online" since then, but perhaps it's a glitch or perhaps she is ignoring me, there's no way to be sure. My last message to her was today, saying that I was getting concerned at the lack of communication and asking for a different contact that could be more convenient for her where she'd be reachable (email, phone, whatever). It's only been a couple hours since sending that last message, but I want to figure out what to do in case I don't hear back for another day.

At that point I have two options:

1. Cancel the contract (I have not begun any work yet). In this case, I am somewhat concerned about preserving my JSS as I'm 9 weeks into the 16 weeks required for top rated, and more concerning would be the fact that the client can still leave me feedback, I think? As much as I do think Upwork protects freelancers well, it is pretty concerning that I could get a crappy review for someone who just decided to disappear before the project even began.

2. Proceed with the contract and submit the first milestone through the official button, potentially really miss the mark on this (I usually do a moodboard and project discussion kickoff meeting for logos, but she hasn't been around), and then have to rework everything if she even bothers to respond. Although, if she doesn't, the milestone $ will still be released in 2 weeks. And also my feedback really could still be in danger at that point anyways.

Although there's no surefire way to know how the client will react in terms of feedback to either situation, what would you do in my situation? Something to keep in mind is I care more about whatever I can do to save my feedback than the money, as I have no shortage of work (if anything I'm overbooked) - but if I am to start the project, I'd better be compensated for what I do complete.

Community Member

Hi Gina,


I think I've been in a similar situation where you feel kind of beholden to the client due to the potential of receiving negative feedback. My advice would be to go with the 2nd option but with confidence and get paid. Here's why, in the unlikely event that this job turns into a negative review, you should have the opportunity to have it removed from your profile once you become top rated.


See https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/219801228


I hope the job ends up working out. Sometimes bad clients turn into good experiences!



Community Member

Basically your mistake was to accept the contract before you had everything you need to complete the first milestone.


Gina H wrote:

 I want to figure out what to do in case I don't hear back for another day. At that point I have two options:

No, you have a third choice, which is to wait. It's also the weekend. What is the rush? The client knows where you are. 


Gina H wrote: I asked her to revise the contract due date

That is impossible. However, the due date is between you and the client


I mean, the rush is that I specifically told her I needed 10 days (doesn't literally take 10 days of work but I'm a graphic designer so creativity doesn't always just come on a whim, I have to allow myself time in case I end up with a mental block or something) and I lost 4 to her non-responsiveness... we had agreed we would discuss the mood board the next day when I accepted the contract, and then she disappeared. I suppose it's possible she had an emergency or something 😕 

As far as editing the date see attached for another client who changed a date for me - I guess Upwork does allow it now? What I don't like, is that I have to get changes to the contract approved by my client (they get that notification that says I made an edit) but yet they can just make a change and it's somehow binding. I did not get any notification to approve it, it just went into effect and said "these are the changes that were made to your contract". seems strange...


Oh, I forgot about the new "edit milestone" thing. 


But at any rate, there is no rush to "either close the contract or submit something" - The 10 days will just have to start if and when the client re-appears. 

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