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canceling a contract

I was awarded a project that I now would like to cancel. It was my first project (I've gotten two since then and am close to getting two more).
 
The reasons being:
1.The project is for branding a medical clinic. Unfortunately the client was unable to register his name and thus can't legally use it.  I actually saved them from a potential lawsuit as they thought they could go ahead without registering it I also suggested a modification to their name which would enable them to register it but they rejected that idea.  The want me to design the identity without a name which is not impossible but pretty unusual and not best practices.
 
2. Since getting these other clients, I'm too busy to do their project now. 
 
3. This being my first project the budget is so low that I would essentially be doing it for free.
 
The project is on a milestone basis. They put money into the escrow account but since I've not done anything, no money has changed hands.
 
Question: Will this have a negative impact on my "JSS" score? How important is this? Please advise
19 REPLIES 19
m_sharman
Member

A contract with no earnings is a problem.

As you performed some work in the form of discovery, I recommend requesting a nominal fee from the client and requesting that amount via the submit work button.

 

I believe you have to wait until you recieve the funds (i.e. client approves or 14 days pass) before you can close the contract and ensure it's a contract WITH earnings.

Getting paid for the nominal work I did is not a problem I don't care about the money. I just don't want my JSS to be dinged as there are issues on the clients side that have made it difficult to do the project.


Jeffrey M wrote:
Getting paid for the nominal work I did is not a problem I don't care about the money. I just don't want my JSS to be dinged as there are issues on the clients side that have made it difficult to do the project.


Yes, as long as the client pays you something, it shouldn't ding your JSS - although I don't know what will happen with feedback. That's why i suggested the nominal payment. 

 

I understand your frustration that you are unable to complete the contract because of poor client requirements (for lack of a better word), unfortunately that's not a defense when it comes to private feedback.  The client may still leave poor feedback, but there is nothing you can do.

 

 


Jeffrey M wrote:
Getting paid for the nominal work I did is not a problem I don't care about the money.

You need to care, because contracts that end without earnings count as unsuccessful and this would seriously slam your JSS.

 

If the client pays some nominal amount both sides can leave feedback.

Obviously if the client leaves poor feedback (public or private) the contract will count as unsuccessful either way.

 

so even if the money is in the escrow account and I haven't started the project, I need to get a nominal amount?

 


Jeffrey M wrote:

so even if the money is in the escrow account and I haven't started the project, I need to get a nominal amount?

 


Well, if you close the contract the funds in Escrow go back to the client = "Nothing paid contract"

If the contract ages out at 90 days the funds go back to the client = "Nothing paid contract"

= "Nothing paid contract" = Unsuccessful outcome = bad hit on JSS.

So the first UpWork project that I was awarded, was way way way underbid. I'm really not sure how it happened as I was bidding on a lot of jobs initially. It is a brand identity including brand strategy and identity design, for a new business. Not wanting to start with a bad mark, I've been moving forward on the project. I've saved the client from possibly being sued because his new company's name infringed on another company's name. I've completed a brand strategy deck,  which normally would cost twice as much as the whole budget. The client keeps taking trips and is extending the project while saying that we need to get it done because of his upcoming lease. And we still don't have a name. I have been paid a grand total of $50 so far. I want to cancel the project  but I don't want to screw up my record as I'm fairly new. I have one 5 star review so far and have worked on 3 projects to date. What should I do?


Jeffrey M wrote:

So the first UpWork project that I was awarded, was way way way underbid. I'm really not sure how it happened as I was bidding on a lot of jobs initially. It is a brand identity including brand strategy and identity design, for a new business. Not wanting to start with a bad mark, I've been moving forward on the project. I've saved the client from possibly being sued because his new company's name infringed on another company's name. I've completed a brand strategy deck,  which normally would cost twice as much as the whole budget. The client keeps taking trips and is extending the project while saying that we need to get it done because of his upcoming lease. And we still don't have a name. I have been paid a grand total of $50 so far. I want to cancel the project  but I don't want to screw up my record as I'm fairly new. I have one 5 star review so far and have worked on 3 projects to date. What should I do?


Is this still the same job you asked about and got advice for in October?: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/canceling-a-contract/m-p/656332#M397489

 

If you really want out, sometimes you just have to "cut bait and run".

 

ETA: You should be aware that it is against TOS to include your web address on your profile if there is a way to contact you through the site.

It is.

This brings up a real issue, that I have experience with. If I cancel, he could theoretically sue me (or upWork) for lost income because he would have to start over. That's why I have a liability clause in my personal contracts.

So he's paid me a little money. Does that help my record if I cancel and what exactly happens when I cancel.

I thought I would go back to the client and tell them that I made a mistake in the fee and I can't afford to do the work and give him the opportunity to pay me more.


Jeffrey M wrote:
It is.

This brings up a real issue, that I have experience with. If I cancel, he could theoretically sue me (or upWork) for lost income because he would have to start over. That's why I have a liability clause in my personal contracts.

So he's paid me a little money. Does that help my record if I cancel and what exactly happens when I cancel.

I thought I would go back to the client and tell them that I made a mistake in the fee and I can't afford to do the work and give him the opportunity to pay me more.



I can't speak to whatever contract you had with him outside of the contract in place when you're hired on Upwork (did you have one?). You were given some advice in that first post, and if you do a forum search for "ending a contract", you'll find tons of posts on this subject matter and what to expect. *You can try and have a conversation re more pay - that may or may not have a good outcome.

*If the client is asking for work that is outside of what was discussed and agreed upon in the contract (is he?), then you can address that "scope creep" by simply stating that you'll be happy to do more work, as soon as he funds a new milestone.

If you don't want to work with him anymore, you were advised (By Petra in your first post) what will happen if you cancel.

It is.

This brings up a real issue, that I have experience with. If I cancel, he could theoretically sue me (or upWork) for lost income because he would have to start over. That's why I have a liability clause in my personal contracts.

So he's paid me a little money. Does that help my record if I cancel and what exactly happens when I cancel.

I thought I would go back to the client and tell them that I made a mistake in the fee and I can't afford to do the work and give him the opportunity to pay me more.

Re: Web Address

There more projects on my site then on my profile. I put my web address on my cover letters too. Is that againt the rules?

re: "I put my web address on my cover letters too. Is that againt the rules?"

 

No.

 

You can put anything you want in your cover letters.

Web address. Email address. Phone number. Skype handle. Etc.

If you agree to do a project for a certain amount of money and there's no change in scope on the client's part, then IMO, you should do the project. It's not the client's fault that you underbid and now you want to get out of working for them because something better came along. If they pay you a nominal fee then they'll be able to leave you a bad review, and if they don't, you'll take a hit since it will be a zero-payment contract. So if you're asking if there's a way to get out of this without any consequences, the answer is no. Best case scenario, the client might acknowledge their own failures in moving the project forward, and not rate you too harshly.


Christine A wrote:
If you agree to do a project for a certain amount of money and there's no change in scope on the client's part, then IMO, you should do the project. It's not the client's fault that you underbid and now you want to get out of working for them because something better came along.


*IMO = Work ethics ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are three separate areas of consideration that are relevant here:

 

a) What does the Upwork user interface physically allow me to do with regards to cancelling a project?

 

b) What considerations are there with regards to cancelling a contract in terms of how it will impact me, my Upwork profile, and my JSS?

 

c) What is the "right" thing to do with regards to ethics and professionalism?

 

It is helpful to not confuse these, and to understand that they are separate.

 

With regards to the mechanics of Upwork's user interface, a freelancer can cancel a contract at any time. Moreover, Upwork's ToS rules allow a freelancer to contract a contract at any time.

 

That is a simple fact.

 

Understanding that you CAN cancel this contract immediately, the next thing to consider is: Should you?

 

There is a price to pay for a zero-pay contract. Such a contract is detrimental to a freelancer's JSS.

 

That is something to consider, and others have given you advice on this topic.

 

Other posts have referenced the 3rd consideration: What is ethical, professional?

 

Let me speak from the perspective of a client, NOT for the original poster's project, but of a hypothetical project that has nothing to do with this thread:

 

What I really want is for my project to get done. I don't actually care if YOU do it. I didn't know you before I hired you. You are not my wife's nephew. I don't owe you anything.

 

So if you can help me get my project done quickly and efficiently, that's really what I want. It is VERY POSSIBLE that the BEST way you can help me is to cancel this contract immediately. Because then you will no longer be wasting my time, dragging out a process that would be better handled by somebody else who is actually excited about doing it.

 

If this project is one that you can only do in a half-hearted way, in between your other commitments, then you are not helping me by staying on.

 

We have hardly begun. If you cancelled the contract and let me work with other people, then I hold no animus toward you. My appreciation for you helping me to accomplish my goals will be evident in my feedback.

Thanks for your thoughtful email. Greatly appreciated. Couple of notes;

I have been paid a whopping $50.00. so maybe that will help my score

I have not been the one holding up the project, so far. Client's been taking vacations and not getting back to me etc.

What has thrown a huge wrench into this project is that the client did not think to register the new company's name, and it appears that the name is being used by a similar company. It take 4 months for the USPTO to come back with a yea or nay on a new name that we don't yet have.

So while there are other considerations for wanting to cancel the job, my thinking is to use this delay due to the naming, as a way to back out as graciously as possible.

Thanks again for everyone's input.









Christine A wrote:
If you agree to do a project for a certain amount of money and there's no change in scope on the client's part, then IMO, you should do the project. It's not the client's fault that you underbid and now you want to get out of working for them because something better came along. If they pay you a nominal fee then they'll be able to leave you a bad review, and if they don't, you'll take a hit since it will be a zero-payment contract. So if you're asking if there's a way to get out of this without any consequences, the answer is no. Best case scenario, the client might acknowledge their own failures in moving the project forward, and not rate you too harshly.

Exactly ... that's why I asked the OP if he was experiencing "scope creep".  Because if that's not the case, he should honor the contract.


Jeffrey M wrote:

Re: Web Address

There more projects on my site then on my profile. I put my web address on my cover letters too. Is that againt the rules?


You just cannot have a direct link on your overview or in your portfolio.