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Stuck in a Contract

I am currently stuck in a fixed-price contract. I was informed originally that the project was going to be $80 and there would be a couple of hours work. I took the job as the changes that were requested were small and I believed the time frame was correct.
After making the changes, the client made corrections to my drawings but then has continuously added more changes. I have revised the project over 5 times now.
I have worked over 24 hours on this project and when I asked to renegotiate the client would only increase the price if I agreed to continue further with the project.
I am afraid of receiving an incomplete or bad rating as my profile is still young but the work continues to grow and the client refuses to negotiate and continues to make changes beyond the original scope of work.

I can no longer continue working on the contract for what is hardly any money at all. The client refuses to close the job and continues to add more revisions after each submission.

 

I have attempted to file a dispute but the system brought me to this page.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

I can imagine that many freelancers have taken on working with a client that gave them a bad vibe only to regret it later. Especially if they were new to Upwork and their bank account was running dry.

 

But at some point you will have to decide that you've had enough. Only you can decide when you've reached that point.

 

And I wouldn't assume you would never get another job on Upwork if you slam the door on this one. If your specialty on Upwork is highly competitive, it might be harder to get new work. But if you are already working for this clown for free, that certainly isn't what you came to Upwork for.

 

And be sure to leave clear feedback for this client detailing why you stopped working for him. Clients are people too, and anyone with any experience in the the workplace has worked with and for their share of idiots, freeloaders, cheap bosses, etc., etc. If you are professional in your appraisal of this guy, Upwork might pay attention and the kinds of clients you want to work for will pay attention, too.

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12 REPLIES 12
1993vikask
Member

Hi Jeffery,

In my opinion, you should report this to Upwork team ASAP. I am not very sure about the way of reporting it.

 

 

I unfortunately cannot find any way to contact support. When I hit the button to file a dispute it took me to this page.


Vikas K wrote:

Hi Jeffery,

In my opinion, you should report this to Upwork team ASAP

 


What do you think are they going to do about it?

wlyonsatl
Member

Hi, Jeffrey W.,

 

You can't let the tyranny of the Job Success Score system keep you working for 12x as long as was originally agreed. 

 

Just stop working and tell the client you want him to precisely define any further work that he will require and you can then tell him what you will charge him for that work. Be professional and courteous, even if he doesn't deserve it.

 

Keep in mind that Upwork has said feedback from consistently negative or hard-to-work-with clients will not be included in freelancers' JSS. If you are lucky, this client is one of those clients.

 

And consider only doing hourly contracts in the future, which would mean you don't have to deal with this sort of scope creep.

Thank you Will,

 

I have attempted multiple times to be professional and courteous and continue to do so. Unfortunately, I am so new that this would lower my job rating to a 50% completion as it is only my second job. I do not believe many clients will even consider someone with such a low percentage.

 

I learned my lesson with doing fixed-rate jobs after this one. Things seemed off from the very beginning and I should have listened to my gut on it. Unfortunately, sometimes the empty wallet speaks louder.

I can imagine that many freelancers have taken on working with a client that gave them a bad vibe only to regret it later. Especially if they were new to Upwork and their bank account was running dry.

 

But at some point you will have to decide that you've had enough. Only you can decide when you've reached that point.

 

And I wouldn't assume you would never get another job on Upwork if you slam the door on this one. If your specialty on Upwork is highly competitive, it might be harder to get new work. But if you are already working for this clown for free, that certainly isn't what you came to Upwork for.

 

And be sure to leave clear feedback for this client detailing why you stopped working for him. Clients are people too, and anyone with any experience in the the workplace has worked with and for their share of idiots, freeloaders, cheap bosses, etc., etc. If you are professional in your appraisal of this guy, Upwork might pay attention and the kinds of clients you want to work for will pay attention, too.

Thank you Will greatly for this response.

 

It is reassuring to hear these things. Unfortunately, I am in a highly competitive area so it may hurt my chances. You are correct though, it is better to do no work for free than to continue working my butt off for free.

 

I think my goal is to try and stick it out just a little longer. See if the changes that are requested are managable. If not, I will go forward and end the job.

 

Thank you


Jeffrey W wrote:

Thank you Will,

 

I have attempted multiple times to be professional and courteous and continue to do so. Unfortunately, I am so new that this would lower my job rating to a 50% completion as it is only my second job. I do not believe many clients will even consider someone with such a low percentage.

 

I learned my lesson with doing fixed-rate jobs after this one. Things seemed off from the very beginning and I should have listened to my gut on it. Unfortunately, sometimes the empty wallet speaks louder.


If you close the contract and nothing is paid, it will not show on your profile. The client will still be able to give private feedback (which impacts your eventual JSS) but no other clients will ever see this client's job or their opinion. Your JSS won't appear until you have at least 4 paying gigs, so that gives you a minimum of three more chances to work with someone more reasonable before any score will be visible. If you continue to have good scores from other clients, after 6 months, the impact of this contract will fall out of your calculation window. (This assumes your 6-month window includes sufficient new contracts for a JSS to be calculated).

So, worst-case scenario is that this contract is one that affects your first JSS. Best-case, you pull the bandaid off now and by the time you get a JSS it is nothing but a bad memory. 

Bonus: If you are not paid for the work it belongs to you. Remove any proprietary or confidential information related to the non-paying client and use it as a profile sample. 

Thank you for your reply! This is very helpful. I will definitely rip off the band aid now.


Jeffrey W wrote:

Thank you Will,

 

I have attempted multiple times to be professional and courteous and continue to do so. Unfortunately, I am so new that this would lower my job rating to a 50% completion as it is only my second job. I do not believe many clients will even consider someone with such a low percentage.

 

I learned my lesson with doing fixed-rate jobs after this one. Things seemed off from the very beginning and I should have listened to my gut on it. Unfortunately, sometimes the empty wallet speaks louder.


You seem to misunderstand how the rating system works. Get up to speed on that, it will really help you to not prolong these situations unnecessarily.

1. There is nothing like 50% completion or similar that has any effect on your rating. I don't even know what you mean. 

2. You don't have a rating yet and will not have one for quite some time. Worry about it later once it applies.

3. Being more careful and less enthusiastic when hitting the accept button is definitely a good strategy. 

 

Cut  your losses. It's doubtful you will get decent feedback from this client regardless of what you do. It's not going to tank your JSS forever. When you're just starting out, every contract weighs more including the next half dozen you take. Also, contracts are now weighted by dollar value in the JSS calculation which can help bury this one even more if your next several carry higher fees.

 

The lesson is here is not to avoid fixed-price contracts. IMO that limits your opportunities unnecessarily. The lesson is to set very specific terms including how many rounds of revisions are included in the fee. That way, if a client starts with endless changes and tweaks, you are on rock-solid ground to give them a choice of adding a milestone or setting up an hourly contract for additional work. If a client balks at reasonable and specific contract terms, let them self-select out of your pool. Cheapskates are impossible to please and nearly always end up costing more than they are worth in attention and aggravation.

 

If this client closes the contract (after you put your foot down), you'll have a chance to leave feedback. Be honest but very concise and with a completely neutral tone. Facts only, no commentary. If he doesn't bother to close the contract, then leave it open. Closing it will remind him and he still might leave bad fb whereas letting it sit idle will have zero effect on your JSS which is the best you can hope for.

 

Finally, a bit of unsolicited advice about your profile: drop the promise of delivering for a low price. You don't want to compete on price, you want to compete on quality. You want clients who understand value.

 

Good luck!

Thank you so much! This advice is really helpful and thank you for taking a look at my profile! I will make this update.
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