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Client who calls for every little thing

Active Member
Anna T Member Since: Mar 21, 2019
1 of 12

Good Morning, 

 

This is my first job on Upwork and as thankful as I am for the job I would prefer to discuss assignments over email or text. Once in a while a phone call to check in, fine. But everytime I submit an assignment she calls me to "go over it" and then yesterday I put that I could not answer the phone all day as I was in meetings and anything she needed please email me and I would do my best to help. Well, she called me immediatly following the email, then apologized saying she just read through my email. But, then called me around 4pm the same day. She emailed me saying "wanted to discuss how many hours you worked" it's in my time log and please stop calling me for every little thing. How to handle this, and is it normal to have a client that always wants to chat on the phone about the work? Why can't I just be emailed the assignment? Like this morning she emailed me at 6am saying when are you free to chat in the am for your next assignment? Well I am on call at work from 9-5, so at any moment I could get a phone call from work then have things to do in my office at home. I would much prefer she gave me assignments over email but is this unprofessional of me?

 

Guidance!!!! PLEASE 

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
2 of 12

Anna T wrote:

Good Morning, 

 

This is my first job on Upwork and as thankful as I am for the job I would prefer to discuss assignments over email or text. Once in a while a phone call to check in, fine. But everytime I submit an assignment she calls me to "go over it" and then yesterday I put that I could not answer the phone all day as I was in meetings and anything she needed please email me and I would do my best to help. Well, she called me immediatly following the email, then apologized saying she just read through my email. But, then called me around 4pm the same day. She emailed me saying "wanted to discuss how many hours you worked" it's in my time log and please stop calling me for every little thing. How to handle this, and is it normal to have a client that always wants to chat on the phone about the work? Why can't I just be emailed the assignment? Like this morning she emailed me at 6am saying when are you free to chat in the am for your next assignment? Well I am on call at work from 9-5, so at any moment I could get a phone call from work then have things to do in my office at home. I would much prefer she gave me assignments over email but is this unprofessional of me?

 

Guidance!!!! PLEASE 


Try to tell your client that it is in the longrun quicker and more efficiant if she sends you the tasks to check and then schedule a call. If she expects you to be available 24/7, she has to be willing to pay for the time as well. She might not be aware of it and is one of the people who think it is much quicker to just discuss something on the phone because it is convenient for her. Send her a message that it is easier for you to take notes etc when you are at your desk when talking to her and not grocery shopping, cooking, washing your hair ...

Ace Contributor
Syed Ebad H Member Since: Jan 14, 2019
3 of 12
Hi Anna,
Tell her your available timing of working on Upwork and tell her if she would like to call you then she can ask you before the call. Otherwise you can't receive her call because you will be busy.
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 12

Make sure you always track and bill the phone time... That will soon train her to minimize it...

 

Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
5 of 12

Anna T wrote:

Good Morning, 

 

This is my first job on Upwork and as thankful as I am for the job I would prefer to discuss assignments over email or text. Once in a while a phone call to check in, fine. But everytime I submit an assignment she calls me to "go over it" and then yesterday I put that I could not answer the phone all day as I was in meetings and anything she needed please email me and I would do my best to help. Well, she called me immediatly following the email, then apologized saying she just read through my email. But, then called me around 4pm the same day. She emailed me saying "wanted to discuss how many hours you worked" it's in my time log and please stop calling me for every little thing. How to handle this, and is it normal to have a client that always wants to chat on the phone about the work? Why can't I just be emailed the assignment? Like this morning she emailed me at 6am saying when are you free to chat in the am for your next assignment? Well I am on call at work from 9-5, so at any moment I could get a phone call from work then have things to do in my office at home. I would much prefer she gave me assignments over email but is this unprofessional of me?

 

Guidance!!!! PLEASE 

__________________________________________________________________________

Anna, it's your own business. Therefore, as long as you abide by Upwork's TOS, you can run it as you see fit.

 

If you prefer email or text, tell your Client that's what it needs to be.  Why is frankly none of their business.

 

I agree with Jennifer regarding scheduling calls although it sounds that that may be difficult at times with your on-call work situation.  Of course I also agree with her regarding you being paid for your time. 

 

It appears that your project is an hourly one so you should be using the Time Tracker. If there's times she calls you; and you speak with her when you're not "on the clock" or not in a position to be so, you're not getting paid for that time. One way to assist with this is for the Client to allow for Manual Time in the Contract.  However, tracked time and manual time added together can't exceed weekly maximum hours the Client has allowed for.  Also, you're not guaranteed you'll be paid for manual time.      


 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 12

Petra provided the information you need to know.

 

I always log time when I communicate with clients.

Via Upwork messaging tool.

Skype.

Phone call.

Exchanging emails.

 

Log time. Bill the client for the time.

That's what you're supposed to do.

 

Aside from that:

The client behavior you describe? THERE'S NOTHING WRONG with it.

Contacting you at all kinds of crazy hours, and contacting you repeatedly, that is just fine for a client to do.

 

BUT: It might not be just fine for YOU as a freelancer.

 

YOU need to have your own rules and policies. Upwork has no prohibitions against a client contacting you at 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning to discuss the project. But YOU might.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
7 of 12

You are in charge of your own availability to clients. That means you need to be clear about the parameters and you need to set each client's expectations. You also need to make it possible for the client to achieve a level of comfort and confidence in you, such that she doesn't feel the need to be in touch constantly.

 

A good start would be to stop with the eye-rolling (it's coming through in your post). What you experience as her calling you about "every little thing" is, from her perspective, taking responsibility to closely monitor a relatively green FL on whom she's depending to complete important tasks perfectly.

 

What transpires in the conversations after you review submitted assignments? Are you sure that you're delivering exactly what she is looking for? Is it possible she's trying to offer additional guidance about her own expectations and thinks speaking directly is better than email or text?

 

It's generally safe to assume when a client is tending to micro-manage, it's because they are not confident the work will be done to their satisfaction unless they stay on top of it (and you). Your job is to cultivate that confidence. If a client emails at 6am wanting to chat that morning and you will be unavailable starting at 9am, then make yourself available before that. If you are always unavailable between 9am-5pm, then identify a window of time when you ARE available to her. Others are correct that you should bill for the time you spend on the phone with her, reviewing/clarifying assignments. But don't spring it on her without discussion.

 

If you only want projects in which you can interact with clients by email or text, with extremely limited phone availability, then you need to make that clear from the start. And understand that constraint will, more than likely, severely curtail your available opportunities. You are relatively inexperienced and anyone who needs a personal assistant is going to want 100% confidence that they're getting what they're paying for. You have to earn that confidence.

Active Member
Anna T Member Since: Mar 21, 2019
8 of 12

Stop with the eye rolling ? I am simply asking for guidance on this. Your input is great besides the rude comments throughout. Every piece of work she has given me has been completed with 0 errors, she calls about hours I have worked, times she will be in meetings, ect. and this is after I have told her I am not available to talk over the phone. Things she can easily email or text. I will update my profile as well. Again, thanks for the input but also thanks for assuming I am the issue here. 

 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 12

You should throw her a curve ball and tell her you sleep until 2pm and then pooppost on the internet until you're ready to work at 8pm.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
10 of 12

Anna T wrote:

Stop with the eye rolling ? I am simply asking for guidance on this. Your input is great besides the rude comments throughout. Every piece of work she has given me has been completed with 0 errors, she calls about hours I have worked, times she will be in meetings, ect. and this is after I have told her I am not available to talk over the phone. Things she can easily email or text. I will update my profile as well. Again, thanks for the input but also thanks for assuming I am the issue here. 

 


You asked for guidance. The guidance I am offering is that a client wanting to stay in constant touch and/or micromanaging the work is a clear indication that she doesn't feel comfortable leaving you alone. It doesn't mean--nor did I say--that you are not doing a good job. It simply means she isn't ready (yet) to stay out of your hair. Some people are just difficult, and this client may be one. BUT it's also possible--and more likely, IMO--that she just needs a little bit of breaking in. I know from experience it can be really hard to delegate and truly let go of stuff when you've been doing it yourself, especially client-facing tasks. Many of the people who can benefit the most from hiring someone like you, have the most difficulty actually doing it. Small, growing operations could be a great niche for you right now IF you cultivate some client-whispering skills. Doing a good job on all assignments is not enough (in any freelance context). You also have to be sure the client feels comfortable and confident. 

 

I'm just trying to help you out. If you accuse me of being rude again, I'm done.

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