Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Managing client expectations

Active Member
Mark B Member Since: Oct 16, 2017
1 of 5



I recently started a contract with a client that doesn't have the time to project manage. This in itself is fine however i am now stuck in a dilema since it means i cant charge time to the client since there is nothing to do since they don't have time to assign or agree on work. I would like to take another contract but am worried that if this client suddenly does free up their time then they will expect me to work full time as was originally agreed. Normally i wouldn't worry so much but i dont want to end up with an uncompleted project or a bad client satisfaction.  I'm just looking for advice of how to manage the client's expectations.





Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
2 of 5

Hi, Mark.


You will find that some clients come and go over the course of a project.


I've had many clients who were unresponsive for months on end and I spent 6 - 8 months working a total of only, maybe, 50, 50 or 60 hours because my work on their project was so sporadic. However, I have never had one complain that their project wasn't finished quickly enough. They knew the problem was on their end and were often apologetic for their absence.


There is nothing you can do to hurry a client along. I recommend dropping them a quick note every week or two telling them you are ready to pick up work on their project and asking if there is anything they'd like you to be working on. Anything more than this will probably just annoy them.


Keep finding new work here on Upwork to keep yourself busy - I usually have 15 - 20 projects going at any one time, with 5 or 6 actually active and, occasionally, a very busy few days period if more than the usual number of clients want me to work on their projects during a short period of time. 


If a new client contacts you and insists on a very short time line for completion of their project, tell them your rate for urgent projects includes a 25% premium to your usual rate. You know what's typical in your industry and any special requests require special pricing from you.

Active Member
Junko S Member Since: Feb 2, 2019
3 of 5

Hi, Will,


  This is something similar but what should I do if your actual work to be done for your contract was different from what you signed up for? Also, I would like to know if there is any place to share "bad client" info so that another fleelancers like me won't get a trouble with this type of company/client. 


  Is it possible for us to give feedbacks about clients at Upwork?



Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
4 of 5

Hi, Junko.


Both you and your client have an opportunity to leave feedback for each other when the client closes the project for any reason. The many elements of feedback are explained pretty well in Upwork's support section, as in these examples:


If a client doesn't or won't close a project you are working on, after a month or more of waiting you might decide to close the project yourself. That process also allows you to leave feedback, which, in my experience, many clients don't bother to do when the freelancer closes a project. Many clients don't know, or couldn't care less, how important good feedback is for a freelancer. And just as many won't pay any attention to feedback you leave for them unless it adversely affects their ability to hire new freelancers. Clients and freelancers are not equals on Upwork.


You won't be able to see a client's feedback, or even know whether they have left feedback, until you leave feedback for them.


Keep in mind "14 Days" - that's how long you have to leave feedback after a client closes out or cancels a project. Once you see a client's feedback, you can leave a response, if you wish. (I rarely do, other than to say "Thanks again for the work and good luck with your project." on the best of my clients. It's the nature of what I do that I rarely get repeat business from Upwork clients. They typically only need my services once.)


In both your initial feedback and response feedback do your best to be professional and factual. That doesn't mean you need to be complimentary for a clown of a client, but this is your chance to calmly and clearly warn off freelancers about the probems you have had with with a client, so other freelancers will know what they may be in for with a bad client.


Good luck.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 5

When it comes to dealing with clients who want to add significant new work compared to what the two of you agree to in the original contract, there are probably three most important things to deal with this:


1) In your pre-conract discussions with a potential client, be crystal clear defining the exact tasks for you to perform, the amount you will be paid and the timeframe for your work to be completed and for you to be paid. The Upwork systems deals pretty well with these issues, if you use the tools Upwork provides to you.


2) As soon as you see a client asking for a significant addition to your work load that is not in your contract but should be paid for, start a conversation with the client about how (s)he wants to implement this additional work as a new milestone on a fixed price project or how much additional time it will likely require under an hourly contract. Present this as a reality for them - it needs to happen and your are not going to them hat in hand asking them if they'd mind paying more for more work. Be nice about it, but be firm. If they don't agree to extra pay, you should not agree to do extra work.


3) Make sure all the points of your work are covered in conversations here on the Upwork message board for each project. If the client wants to talk by phone or insists using outside email to communicate, that's fine. Just also put all the pertinent information you have discussed or agreed to in a message to the client here on Upwork, so any future "misunderstandings" can be discussed in light of what the two of you already agreed to. (Some clients tend have poor memories about facts that don't suit them.) When you write those comments in the message board, start the post with something like, "Hi, Joe. Just to confirm our conversation earlier to today it is my understanding..."