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Unresponsive clients

captain1715
Ace Contributor
Chelsea F Member Since: Jan 15, 2018
1 of 13

Hi,

 

I am just starting out on UpWork and have some questions about dealing with unresponsive clients.  I have "completed" five jobs so far, but two of my clients have yet to pay.  My first client started our contract as hourly, but the number of hours I was working on the project quickly exceeded her budget.  As I didn't want to go over budget with my first client, I entered my hours manually to reflect a lower amount. I sent her a final product and she thanked me and said I did a great job, but has yet to pay me.  I have contacted her twice, but have had no reply in over a week. Do I just need to cut my losses and learn from this experience?

 

My second client was a fixed-price contract and I think I fell victim to "scope creep." The client kept asking for more and so I ended up sending many more revisions than initially agreed upon. After I sent her the final product, she said she "needed a few days to review it" before she approved the payment. She has not responded to my messages since then (3 days ago).

 

I am a scientist and (almost!) doctor and so provide quite a niche service for non-native English speakers looking for editors for scientific publications prior to submission.  My rate is approximately 5X less than that offered by most academic journals for similar services. I enjoy the work and love helping people communicate science effectively, but I want to make sure I am not getting ripped off. My second client now has a very well-edited manuscript that took me hours of work and I have no money... 

 

My guess is that these two particular cases may be lost causes, but if anyone has advice about how to avoid such situations in the future, please let me know. 

 

Thanks!

Chelsea 

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
BEST ANSWER
2 of 13

It sounds like you need to take a little time to educate yourself about how payment works on Upwork.

 

Hourly clients don't initiate payment--that happens on a regular weekly schedule, and it takes a bit of time. The week ends on Sunday and then the client has until Friday to review the "timecard" and dispute if there is a problem. Assuming there is no dispute, the payment is processed and becomes available to you on the following Wednesday.

 

However, you should be aware that payment protection does not apply to manually entered hours. if your client disputes, he/she wins pretty much by default when the hours are manual, and Upwork does not offer protection for manually entered hours.

 

In the future, if you should choose to give your client a break of this kind, you would do better to lower your hourly rate, or to run the time tracker for all of your work and then delete some time before the end of the work week.

 

Fixed price clients have 14 days to review and request revisions after you submit using the "submit work/request payment" button. The client can manually approve payment earlier, but it's not necessary--if the client does nothing, the payment auto-approves in 14 days.

View solution in original post

bassemabdelsayed
Active Member
Bassem A Member Since: May 31, 2020
3 of 13

That's important information actually,

but what if the client took the first milestone and didn't respond anymore but actually the contract still has two more milestones which they are only revisions, so I did most of the job at the first and took the first milestne and didn't respond

Should I submit the next two milestones even if he didn't reply?

Or he should approve the first milestone first so that I can submit the next one?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 13

Bassem A wrote:

That's important information actually,

but what if the client took the first milestone and didn't respond anymore but actually the contract still has two more milestones which they are only revisions, so I did most of the job at the first and took the first milestne and didn't respond

Should I submit the next two milestones even if he didn't reply?

Or he should approve the first milestone first so that I can submit the next one?


How long ago did you submit the first milestone? Are the other two milestones even funded? How would you do "revisions" when you have not been told what to "revise?"

 

Did you submit the first milestone properly through the "submit for payment" function?

cylver1z
Community Guru
Ryan C Member Since: Feb 3, 2017
5 of 13

Hello Chelsea,

 

 

Manually added time does not qualify for Hourly Payment Protection. Regarding your Fixed-Price contract, the client has 14 days from the most recent submission on a milestone to review and approve or request changes. Approval releases the payment from escrow to you. If your client doesn't respond to any milestone submission within 14 days, the deposit is automatically released to you.

 


Untitled
gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
6 of 13

Tiffany gave you a great overview of how payment works on UW. You still need to review the information available in the Support Center and be sure you understand it in detail.

 

On any hourly contract, be sure you discuss specifically with the client how many hours/week you anticipate the work will take. I recommend making it clear that if you hit the cap of allowed hours and the job isn't done, you will stop work until they raise the cap or a new work week begins and the counter starts over. That doesn't have to be an adversarial conversation at all, just making sure everyone is on the same page and nobody is making assumptions. Sometimes a client needs to spread their expenditure over more than one week; sometimes they are just trying to stay within a certain budget on the project.

 

Re. scope creep on fixed-price projects: It's especially difficult to hold the line when you're first starting out here. You want to do a great job for all the right reasons, and are putting out all kinds of positive energy to help the client succeed and help yourself succeed, and so you do a little more and a little more... And then the client says, "Great job, terrific!" and goes dark. Maybe she'll appreciate what you did, maybe she won't. The only thing that matters is whether she pays for it. If you are charging a rate that represents goodeliver value for what you do, then you shouldn't give anything away. Be specific about the level of editing that will be done, and how many rounds of revision are included, and hold the line. The clients you want are the ones who will respect that professionalism.

 

Good luck!

captain1715
Ace Contributor
Chelsea F Member Since: Jan 15, 2018
7 of 13

Thank you all for your helpful replies!!!

That was exactly the information I was looking for. 

I sincerely appreciate your guidance.

 

Best,

Chelsea 

kat303
Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
8 of 13

Chelsea - I want to expand a little on fixed rate jobs. Make sure the client's account is verified (for both fixed rate and hourly jobs.) Make sure escrow is FULLY funded BEFORE you start work, no matter what the client may tell you. And make sure you submit the work by clicking on the Submit Work/Request Payment button. If the client doesn't approve the work but instead,disappears, Upwork will automatically release whatever is in escrow in 14 days.

 

Hourly jobs, require that you use tracker to record your hours AND annotate the screen shots it takes. Entering manual hours is risky because the client doesn't have to approve manual hours. They can dispute it and will automatically win.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
9 of 13

One addition to what Kathy explained--although fixed price jobs involve escrow, the escrow doesn't actually provide the freelancer any protection unless you are willing and able to pay $291 for arbitration.

 

That doesn't mean that you'll have to--most clients pay without problems, and those who don't can often be resolved through negotiation. But, the fact that funds are escrowed doesn't provide any actual security unless you can and will pay for arbitration. If there's a dispute and you can't reach an agreement with the client, the escrowed funds will be returned to the client unless you pay to initiate arbitration.

ferhatolcum
Active Member
Ferhat O Member Since: Mar 21, 2018
10 of 13

Hi all,

 

I have a client who is unresponsive for a while. Last week I've got an e-mail from Upwork:

 

"

Hi Ferhat,

We recently contacted your client, XXX about YYY, which has been idle for over 76 days. Per the escrow instructions for fixed-price contracts and for your security, we notified your client that they need to take action on this contract in order for it to remain open. If no new milestone updates, payments or refunds are made in the next 2 weeks, this contract will be closed on Upwork. If the contract is closed, you will receive a refund request for $ZZZ (the funds still in escrow). You will have 7 days to dispute this request.


If you feel this contract should remain open, please contact your client. Should the contract be closed due to inactivity, your client will still be notified in product of the option to leave feedback.

Thanks,
Upwork Support

"

I'm not sure what that means. I don't want to affect my job success score because of an unresponsive client. I did what I need to do in the process and I didn't submit work for payment. So what do you suggest? What should I do? Thank you

 

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