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Uncooperative client

Active Member
Sharyn E Member Since: Aug 18, 2015
1 of 14

I started writing a cover letter for a client, trying to work with the 17 (!) examples he sent, but I quickly found it impossible to wade through such a pile of information without any guidance from him on what he wanted. I've written to him several times asking to speak with him and he keeps putting me off and telling me to do what I think is best. I don't work this way, and I told him that I would have to back out if he couldn't make the time to meet with me.

 

I don't mind losing the client, but I would like to be paid for the time I put in, even though no work product has been delivered. Is this realistic, or should I just drop it?

Sharyn E
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 14

Is it flat rate or hourly? If I work on anything for a customer and it's hourly, I add the time to the contract. If it's flat rate, I don't think you'd win a dispute without submitting some kind of draft or product to the milestone. 

 

I've refunded people before when I just see that it's not going to work. You have to eat the time, but it's better to just **bleep** it in the bud if you see that it's going south early. Just return the money and say "I'm not the right writer for you."

Community Leader
Peter G Member Since: Aug 1, 2015
3 of 14

If the client won't provide adequate instructions or the information needed to generate content, cancel the project. Consciously or not, this client is setting you up for failure.

 

I once had the misfortune to work with a client who wanted me to ghostwrite a book about a proprietary leadership program that his firm had developed.  Problem was, nobody on the team would spend any time discussing the program. When I pointed this out, I was told to "string some words together."  So I strung some choice words together and fired the client.

 

Clients who believe that writers can create good content by magic - or who don't care about the content - are nothing but trouble.  GET.  OUT.

 

 

Active Member
Sharyn E Member Since: Aug 18, 2015
4 of 14

 

 I was told to "string some words together."  So I strung some choice words together and fired the client.

 

Clients who believe that writers can create good content by magic - or who don't care about the content - are nothing but trouble.  GET.  OUT.

 

 


 Delightful!

Sharyn E
Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
5 of 14
It's only a cover letter. It's not that hard to do when you have his resume. What's wrong with the client just asking you to handle it? I just don't see a problem. He's not comfortable or does not have the time to speak, so if I wanted to get paid I'd spend the hour and do the cover letter. On the other hand, you're my competition and if you back out your JSS is going to drop and I guess that benefits me Smiley Happy
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
6 of 14

For a project this small, I'd just write something up quickly and send it with a note saying that since I hadn't had much guidance, I expected he would want to make changes and to let me know.

 

For what it's worth, I've never had a bad experience working that way. Either the client accepts and pays without further comment or once he sees something on paper it gels what he wants and he offers clear feedback.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 14

re: " I don't work this way, and I told him that I would have to back out if he couldn't make the time to meet with me."

 

You are correct in realizing that you need to back out of the situation and part ways.

 

You don't work this way.

 

But many contractors do work this way. This was simply a situation in which there was a bad fit between contractor and client... Neither of whom did anything wrong.

Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
8 of 14
He's already given you instructions by saying "do what you think best". So that's what I would do. I wouldn't bug him anymore but just do a decent cover letter. I'm not sure of the problem here.
Community Leader
Peter G Member Since: Aug 1, 2015
9 of 14

Aside from the fact that writing is (or should be) a cooperative venture, there are at least two problems with the "just do it and see what he says" advice:

 

1. If the client doesn't like what the OP thinks is best, he'll force her to rewrite the deliverable (at a minimum) or threaten a dispute to obtain a refund. And precisely because this project is so small, most freelancers would be tempted to give away the work for free instead of submitting to the hassle of a dispute. For all we know, this might be the client's true intention.

 

2. I don't believe for a minute that the client doesn't have time to offer some instructions and advice. If he has time to replly to emails, he has time to offer a little guidance.  If the OP is seeking long-term relationships with repeat clients, this guy's behavior doesn't bode well.  My clients are business executive/owners who travel as often as the secretary of state, and they manage to make time to offer instructions and guidance.

 

Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
10 of 14

@Peter G. wrote:

Aside from the fact that writing is (or should be) a cooperative venture, there are at least two problems with the "just do it and see what he says" advice:

 

1. If the client doesn't like what the OP thinks is best, he'll force her to rewrite the deliverable (at a minimum) or threaten a dispute to obtain a refund. And precisely because this project is so small, most freelancers would be tempted to give away the work for free instead of submitting to the hassle of a dispute. For all we know, this might be the client's true intention.

 

That's not how it works with resume writing. I'm often asked to just put together a cover letter based on the resume and if I want to be paid that's exactly what I would do. If the client didn't like it I would tell them it will be extra for a "FULL" rewrite of the cover letter and small changes I don't charge. A cover letter is not rocket science.

 

2. I don't believe for a minute that the client doesn't have time to offer some instructions and advice. If he has time to replly to emails, he has time to offer a little guidance.  If the OP is seeking long-term relationships with repeat clients, this guy's behavior doesn't bode well.  My clients are business executive/owners who travel as often as the secretary of state, and they manage to make time to offer instructions and guidance.

 

He may not have time or simply figures an experience resume writer knows what they're doing. Most clients don't have a clue what to put in a cover letter and simply ask me to put something together as I am supposed to be the expert. 

This guys behaviour is perfectly normal in this category. There is no "guidance" needed unless it is to address a specific job description. In this case he's not asking for that. 

Repeat clients in this category are very very rare so that's not really a concern. In this case if there was more work I would not take it but I would at least do the cover letter to get paid and to leave the client happy with a good experience on the platform. 99% of them are one off clients. 

 

If you take the job, finish the job. She's quite capable of doing that based on just the resume. Her JSS is already low, probably due to this type of behaviour in the past as she admitted doing.

 


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