I read the post the other day about the advice you gave concerning when to send an invoice to clients. I have a similar question about when to “abandon” a contract. You see, I have come across many a client (I freelance on ODesk often and other sites as well as on my own) who will request a first draft for approval before continuing with the remainder of the contract. However, some of the clients take sometimes weeks to get back to me with instructions on what to revise, if anything, and how to proceed.
I am currently working on a contract for two web pages and the client seems to have disappeared on me. It has only been two days, but until I sent him the first draft, he was consistent on getting back to me, usually within an hour or so. So I guess my question is, how long should I wait to scrap a contract and how to do so gracefully? Most times, depending on the contract, I will receive something up front, but not always. I did not with this one, since it was a sub contract, so to speak.
The client specifically asked to send a first draft of the first page before proceeding with the second one, which is supposed to be due today. Now I am left to wonder if I should proceed anyway to meet the deadline, should I wait for a response even if that means letting the deadline expire, or should I do nothing at all and scrap the contract?
Anything you can advise would be much appreciated.
I’m going to be a bit harsh here and suggest you quit letting these so called employers take advantage of you. While two days isn’t very long at all, if you haven’t gotten up front pay or at least a signed contract, you’re working on spec and when it comes to web pages and SEO articles all too often your work will be used and you’ll never get paid.
When a client quits communicating, even for a couple of days, for heavens sake put that project on hold and work on something else. I can’t think why you’d hesitate a moment to do so.
A disappearing client may come back or they may be gone forever. Things happen. Clients get busy, have family emergencies and who knows what. When the crisis is over they’ll probably get back in touch with a reasonable explanation. Meanwhile, you’ll have been working on other projects and your cash flow won’t be interrupted. But some clients are just vague and distracted. Those often fade away and you’re better off without them.
If you don’t hear from a client there is no need to bow out gracefully or otherwise… the end has already happened. If, however, a client continually fails to make phone meetings or provide you with what you need to do the job, there’s nothing in the world wrong with ending the relationship yourself. A simple “this isn’t working” is enough – along with an invoice for any unpaid work.
It is, in my opinion, totally unprofessional to let a client mistreat you. The client has must as much responsibility to be professional as you do. You need to be flexible, but that doesn’t mean letting a customer walk all over you. They aren’t always right, particularly when they fail to hold up their end of the deal.
Stand up for yourself. Your income will increase and you’ll feel better about yourself.
What do you think about this?
Write well and often,