aleksandrhovh
Member

Need advice on an unresponsive client.

Hey everyone,

 

I started working with one of my current clients in late August, and they sent me a good amount of work. They said they'd have more work for me to complete, but they haven't assigned any tasks since September 5th.

 

I followed up with them on the 19th asking if they still needed my services; they responded saying they'd have some work for me soon. But I still haven't heard anything from them. Essentially, the contract's been idle for three weeks straight. Considering idle contracts are factored into the JSS algorithm, I'm concerned that this will affect my reputation.

 

So, I'd like some advice from the veterans around here. Should I kindly ask the client to close the contract and remind him that he can still reach out to me later to start a new contract if something comes up?

 

Thanks!

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petra_r
Member

3 weeks is no problem at all, even a month or two won't affect you.

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13 REPLIES 13
petra_r
Member

3 weeks is no problem at all, even a month or two won't affect you.

Really? Good to know—thanks!

r2streu
Member

Particularly if the client has been a consistent source of income previously, I really wouldn't worry about this at all. 

 

Depending on the size of the projects I've had clients do both. A few will create new jobs and close out with each completed project. One of my biggest and most consistent clients keeps the job open. We had about a month where they didn't have work for me, but now we're back at it. My JSS is still at 100% even with the break, and even with a couple other clients in there I've been less than diligent about closing contracts on. 

 

barronrandall
Member

I'm going to have to disagree with some of the posted comments here.

 

I had a client that I've been working for about a full year now, about 6 months into it however, the client disappeared for about 5 weeks. The contract was automatically put on hold and my score dropped a few points as a result. Then the client showed back up, apologized and got the contract re started. The points that dropped off my score never came back, even after working non stop for the client for months. So be warned.

 

I was actually going to post about this very issue. I currently have 4 open contracts and 2 of them haven't had much activity over the last month or so. One says there's a new project coming, the other doesn't respond after the initial "there's nothing right now". I'm inclined to end a contract with a client that doesnt' respond to my emails anyway, but of course I'll take a hit to my score.

 

Upwork, you need to address this as it would seem the preferred way of doing business with a lot of clients, keeping an open contract as opposed to going through the process of signing up a freelancer every time they need work done.

 

At a MINIMUM, Upwork should reach out to these clients before suspending the contract, but as usual, the freelancer ends up with the short end and has to make do.

Upwork facilitates project labor and freelancer/client networking. It's not their responsibility to keep up with your clients. 

 

I actually just went through and did a purge of my own still-open client list, and for those with whom I've established a regular working relationship, I've made contact on my own to be sure they still wanted to keep the job open. It's not hard to do, and only takes a couple minutes. If they remain unresponsive and don't seem to have any more work for you, then close the contract yourself and mark it Job Completed Successfully. 

 

That said, it WOULD be handy if there is a pause function or something a client or teelancer could engage to leave a job open without penalty. I don't know if there is; I'm not on the client side of things. 

Agreed, Randy, a pause option would definitely be handy

Absolutely need a pause button.


@Randall B wrote:

I'm going to have to disagree with some of the posted comments here.

 

I had a client that I've been working for about a full year now, about 6 months into it however, the client disappeared for about 5 weeks. The contract was automatically put on hold and my score dropped a few points as a result. Then the client showed back up, apologized and got the contract re started. The points that dropped off my score never came back, even after working non stop for the client for months. So be warned.

 


 The drop in your JSS was categorically NOT caused by a contract being idle for 5 weeks. First of all it does not happen that quickly and secondly it would have gone back up when the contract started being active again, so it was 100% certain something else.

 

two things happening at a similar point in time does not mean one caused the other. 


@Randall B wrote:

I'm going to have to disagree with some of the posted comments here.

 

I had a client that I've been working for about a full year now, about 6 months into it however, the client disappeared for about 5 weeks. The contract was automatically put on hold and my score dropped a few points as a result. Then the client showed back up, apologized and got the contract re started. The points that dropped off my score never came back, even after working non stop for the client for months. So be warned.

 

I was actually going to post about this very issue. I currently have 4 open contracts and 2 of them haven't had much activity over the last month or so. One says there's a new project coming, the other doesn't respond after the initial "there's nothing right now". I'm inclined to end a contract with a client that doesnt' respond to my emails anyway, but of course I'll take a hit to my score.

 

Upwork, you need to address this as it would seem the preferred way of doing business with a lot of clients, keeping an open contract as opposed to going through the process of signing up a freelancer every time they need work done.

 

At a MINIMUM, Upwork should reach out to these clients before suspending the contract, but as usual, the freelancer ends up with the short end and has to make do.


 Upwork no longer pauses inactive contracts. This changed mid-August, as you can see from this thread.

 

It's also just as easy to rehire a past freelancer as it would be (and was previously) to restart a paused contract.


@Jennifer D wrote:

Upwork no longer pauses inactive contracts. This changed mid-August, as you can see from this thread.

It's also just as easy to rehire a past freelancer as it would be (and was previously) to restart a paused contract.


 

And once again Upwork can't be bothered to inform freelancers of something rather important - I have a client I bill for 10 minutes every 30 days to keep the contract active between projects, but now I don't have to do that! That's extremely good news!

 

I absolutely hate that inactive contracts are part of JSS. I shouldn't have to bother clients to close contracts, and I try to avoid it. I should just be able to do it for them and not take a hit. If they don't want to leave feedback because they've moved on to other things, they shouldn't have to! It's not an indication of how successful the job was, but rather a measure of how annoying those administrative tasks can be when you have a thousand other things to do. But then the problem of leaving too many contracts open is that other clients think I won't have time to work on their projects, even when I explain. UGH.

tlbp
Member

If you are considering ending a lucrative contract with a happy client because of the fear that your JSS will drop a point or two, you are chasing the wrong metric. The reason to maintain a good JSS is that it helps you obtain paying clients. Eliminating a paying client to maintain a good JSS would entirely defeat the purpose. 

Well, yeah. However, the client in question isn't 'lucrative' by my standards, and we've only worked with each other for about a week, so that's why I was concerned that this may not be worth the potential drop in my JSS.

lysis10
Member

I just purged 5 contracts a couple weeks ago. One was a year old. Usually I'd say I leave them open for 3-5 months.