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Community Member

Need help dealing with a client

Hi, all - 


I need some help. I have a client who initially agreed to one article a week; payment is 50% after finishing the first draft and 50% after the second draft. However, the topics of the articles changed and now I only get a new article every three weeks or so. To make things worse, I have only completed/been paid for one complete article and three drafts; the drafts have been outstanding for almost eight, six, and four weeks. 


How do you go about talking to clients about providing timely feedback and revising the payment terms? I have asked for a deadline on feedback (I usually work with two weeks), but I was told that I cannot push them. I've now asked for 75% for the first draft and 25% for the second draft, but I have not heard back. I am finding that this project is not very sustainable for me anymore due to the lack of predictability. 

Community Member

I do not do drafts. I do articles. Then send them and press submit - and this is for the fully funded article. Why should someone pay for a final article if the 'draft' is good enough? AND...if they WANT things changed>they have two weeks to ask for changes after 'submit' has been pressed. I think you are being taken for a ride.

Community Member

Your idea of having initial and final drafts makes sense, but so does front-loading substantially more of your total fee for the first draft rather than having to wait an indeterminate amount of time to get paid the second half of your fees.


Writing is also a substantial part of my work on Upwork and I usually leave not more than one-fifth of the total fee for final edits. Edits shouldn't take more than one-quarter of the time and effort of the original work and if the client decides (s)he can do the edits themselves, I've gotten the lion's share of my fee anyway.

I get my whole fee...every time.

@Irene B wrote:

I get my whole fee...every time.

 Absolutely. Whole milestone funded.

No "draft" nonsense. That is what the "request changes" button is there for if needed.



For this project drafts are a necessity as they are close to 10 pages and require industry knowledge. These are not blog posts.

@Heather V wrote:
For this project drafts are a necessity as they are close to 10 pages and require industry knowledge. These are not blog posts.

 Who is talking about "blog posts?"

The main point is that each article should be fully funded (be it in one or several milestones) before doing any work on it, or you end up in the kind of situation you have ended up in: With parts of the work unpaid and unable to submit for payment...


@Will: Front loading is good.

Community Member

OP, you are dealing with a few problems. The pricing issue is probably the easiest to address.


As Irene suggested, in future contracts you can require full payment and remind clients that they have a 14-day period in which to request revisions. I believe that most freelancers who use this model also limit the total number of revisions they are willing to perform for that base price. (Offering unlimited revisions is a recipe for trouble unless you trust the client not to abuse the privilege.)


If you want to split the fee between original and revisions--which some clients are more comfortable doing--make sure that the fee you receive for the draft is enough for you to consider yourself fully paid. In effect, the second milestone becomes a pre-agreed revision fee that you may or may not collect. (Again, this depends on your relationship with the client.  Some will pay the second milestone even if no revisions are necessary.)


Now, in your current situation, it doesn't "sound" like the client is keen to compromise. They may simply prefer the way they've always done things. Or, they may have a practice of failing to pay second milestones. If you are uncomfortable with the contract, now is the time to begin working on a strategy to extract yourself while suffering the least damage to your JSS. (I recommend backing out of the room quietly while smiling and thanking them profusely.  Until you get that precious feedback, your situation is precarious.)



Community Member

Anyone who says drafts should not be part of the milestones for a project is only used to doing small projects. Large projects (10 pages or more), can reasonably be expected to first be structured in a draft form with multiple sections under multiple milestones, any of which can be addressed and improved in cooperation with the client. It is not reasonable to expect any large project can be finished to the total satisfaction of the client; little projects need little room for improvement, large projects can be expected to equire multiple revisions.


Just do what you can to collect as much of your total fees as early in the process as possible. One size doesn't fit all when it comes to structuring your payments for every project you are involved in.

"It is not reasonable to expect the first draft of any project can be finished to the total satisfaction of a client...."

No, it is not reasonable. However, the client has FOURTEEN DAYS in which to hit the REQUEST CHANGES button. In effect, the WHOLE milestone is funded.


To the OP> this does not deal only with 'blog posts'. I do not only write 'blog posts'. As a matter of fact, I seldom write blog posts.  Once again - fully funded milestones are the way to go, with the client being able to ask for changes by hitting the request changes button when and as changes are needed. This ensures you do not lose out when they do not ask for that 'final' draft.

Community Member

Have you checked to see if they are using your drafts they haven't finished paying for yet? I bet you my bottom dollar they are.

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