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madbanditroy
Community Member

Unresponsive Client

I recently got a job editing and proofreading a novel. Eighty-one chapters make it up. It needs much work (prose, pacing, grammar, etc.).

 

The problem is that the client gave me a milestone, and he hasn't told me how many of the chapters he wants me to work on to meet the milestone. Should I end this arrangement or work on my amount?

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wlyonsatl
Community Member

Leroy,

 

One of the things you've experienced is common on fixed price projects by new freelancers - accepting a contract without knowing the exact amount of work to be done.

 

This can be very dangerous, not least because once you agree to a contract on Upwork a client has a permanent ability to leave feedback for you, potentially putting your Job Success Score at risk from someone who hasn't paid you any money.

 

If I were in your position I wouldn't wait more than a total of two calendar weeks of no contact from the client.after the contract was put in place before I closed the project on Upwork's system. You can tell the client you're still interested in working for him (whether or not that's actually the case, especially if you want to negotiate more pay for the amount of work you now know will be needed).

 

If he then contacts you, great. Align your new contract's work schedule and periodic payments with the setting up of multiple milestones on Upwork's system. After Upwork tells you the client has funded Milestone One, complete the work and formally submit it to the client using the "Submit" button on the Upwork project paid. Ask the client to fund Milestone 2 and tell the client you'll get to work on Milestone 2 after he has released full payment to you on Milestone 1. (Upwork will automatically release payment after 14 days and no objection from the client.)

 

If he doesn't contact you after you close the contract on Upwork's system don't give him another thought other than to check whether he leaves feedback for you within the next 14 calendar days. If he leaves no feedback during that period, give him no more thought. If he leaves negative feedback, leave a response that is short and sweet, noting that you only closed the contract because the client was completely unresponsive. Then give him no more thought.

 

By the way, disappearing clients is not unusual on Upwork. I've been here for at least 8 years and I'd guess about 20% of my "clients" have just stopped communicating, rarely leaving any feedback for me. These are usually entrepreneurs who, I assume, see that their new company idea isn't going to work so they just think there's no reason to let me know that. It's what passes for etiquette for young entrepreneurs, which is fine with me. I don't wait to move on to clients who will be paying me for my time.

 

Good luck!

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11 REPLIES 11
sajal36
Community Member

You need to put across the scope of work for the milestone. From your explanation it appears to me that client have put a milestone for all 81 chapters. You need to do the estimate based on the milestone size and let client know what you are going to deliver for this milestone. 

The work scope clarification must be done before accepting the contract. Otherwise there are fair chances of disputes at later stage. Now as you have already accepted the offer so it is better to bring clarity with client on what you are going to deliver in this milestone. Good Luck.

The thing is that he never bothered to tell me how many chapters there are in his novel BEFORE I signed the contract. The novel needs much work. That's why I've been trying to contact him about a reasonable amount of chapters that can be edited and proofread. The only thing I can do is reduce the amount from 81 to 20 chapters.

You can't unilaterally reduce the amount of work by more than 75%. 

 

What did you actually agree to do? For what price?

You misunderstood. This is an editing job. I'm going to take the 81 chapters and turn them into 20.

spectralua
Community Member

Reject current contract. Ask new one with full amount and full requirements declared.

Do not accept contracts without requirements in future.

wlyonsatl
Community Member

Leroy,

 

One of the things you've experienced is common on fixed price projects by new freelancers - accepting a contract without knowing the exact amount of work to be done.

 

This can be very dangerous, not least because once you agree to a contract on Upwork a client has a permanent ability to leave feedback for you, potentially putting your Job Success Score at risk from someone who hasn't paid you any money.

 

If I were in your position I wouldn't wait more than a total of two calendar weeks of no contact from the client.after the contract was put in place before I closed the project on Upwork's system. You can tell the client you're still interested in working for him (whether or not that's actually the case, especially if you want to negotiate more pay for the amount of work you now know will be needed).

 

If he then contacts you, great. Align your new contract's work schedule and periodic payments with the setting up of multiple milestones on Upwork's system. After Upwork tells you the client has funded Milestone One, complete the work and formally submit it to the client using the "Submit" button on the Upwork project paid. Ask the client to fund Milestone 2 and tell the client you'll get to work on Milestone 2 after he has released full payment to you on Milestone 1. (Upwork will automatically release payment after 14 days and no objection from the client.)

 

If he doesn't contact you after you close the contract on Upwork's system don't give him another thought other than to check whether he leaves feedback for you within the next 14 calendar days. If he leaves no feedback during that period, give him no more thought. If he leaves negative feedback, leave a response that is short and sweet, noting that you only closed the contract because the client was completely unresponsive. Then give him no more thought.

 

By the way, disappearing clients is not unusual on Upwork. I've been here for at least 8 years and I'd guess about 20% of my "clients" have just stopped communicating, rarely leaving any feedback for me. These are usually entrepreneurs who, I assume, see that their new company idea isn't going to work so they just think there's no reason to let me know that. It's what passes for etiquette for young entrepreneurs, which is fine with me. I don't wait to move on to clients who will be paying me for my time.

 

Good luck!

I'm not really a new freelancer because I've done this kind of work before when it comes to milestones. A previous client gave me an assignment in three parts and he paid me after I completed working on said parts. This is different. Knowing the size of the project, the client should have talked to me about how many chapters he wanted completed.

"The client should have" will get you nowhere. It's up to you to take responsibility for your business. That means knowing exactly how much content there is and what depth of editing you'll be doing and agreeing to a price based on your shared understanding of the work to be done. Failing to do that always leaves you vulnerable. 

I realized that, but if I give more leeway to the client, why bother working for that person? Should I have asked how long the novel was? Maybe, but that doesn't mean he can't or shouldn't tell me how long the project is out of good faith and business.

tlsanders
Community Member

Did you not agree on a total price for the project?

Yes.

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