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#1 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Dealing with bad clients

Posted 13 October 2011 - 08:09 PM

As most freelancers, I got into it because I could choose my own hours while picking and choosing the work I decide to take on. That part is great but sometimes you deal with people of different backgrounds, different areas and different definitions of what freelancing is. Iíve been freelancing close to month now and in that time have taken projects from Malaysia, Australia, the US and New Zealand. I hadnít had any issues as far as project scope, payments or communication, nothing at all. The other day I took a job from a guy in Las Vegas for some PHP fixes on his website. We talked for a good 30 minutes to ensure everything was understood and it was my responsibility to resolve his PHP issues which in reality turned out he had changed hosts and didnít re-upload everything correctly. After I accepted the project he refused to fund the escrow account but I had begun fixing some of his errors. He got very rude and thought I was just messing his site up more because he then began getting MySQL errors. After trying again and again to tell him that my bid wasnít for setting up a MySQL database he began calling me a crook and even filed a dispute with the service we used. He just kept trying to squeeze whatever he could out of the fee I had bid for the PHP issues. We eventually got it resolved amongst ourselves and didnít have to use the service or an arbitrator to resolve it for us.

The lesson I learned from this is always, ALWAYS have your payment agreements lined out. The service I use allows buyers to add their escrow funds immediately after the freelancer accepts the project but this was definitely a wake up call and depending on the amount a project is, escrow will be funded and released at certain milestones in the project after the client approves it. The second lesson is to not let anyone take advantage of you. I fixed his PHP issues and uploaded his new website but you have to have a point where you say no to a client. The client I worked with expected me to do the PHP code fixes, upload his site, setup new MySQL databases and setup a payment gateway so he could accept Credit Cards on his site. Sometimes even if a client is threatening with negative feedback or filing a dispute be sure you have everything in writing and agreed upon before starting. Otherwise as in my case youíll be taken for a ride and the frustration of working with someone like that wonít be worth it.

I've started up a blog on my website from my signature below, just click on blog. I'm hoping to make decent posts on doing solopreneur/freelancer and being a fulltime student. So I might even start a blog on DIC too.

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Replies To: Dealing with bad clients

#2 fromTheSprawl  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with bad clients

Posted 13 October 2011 - 08:18 PM

"Learn to say no."
I hope everyone learns that. Very valuable in life.
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#3 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with bad clients

Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:39 AM

I wished I learn to say no earlier, now I'm in arbitration with an employer, not fun.

make sure you know _EXACTLY_ what your client wants. You must also make sure you know what his hosting environment is and to plan for the worst, because a lot of clients do not know what their hosting environment is.

Also, don't be nice. I'm not talking about yelling at him, but just don't throw in extra features just cause he's your first client or you're real happy to have some work.

But it's sorta unavoidable. You are going to get a bad client sooner or later. all you gotta do is keep your cool and stick to the contract.
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with bad clients

Posted 15 October 2011 - 05:38 PM

I think the key mistake to this entire mess is that you began work before it was under moderation.

Though this situation sounds horrible, imagine if you were not doing it under a freelance website, but for someone face to face. You'd be totally effed & this psycho would probably start assaulting you. Some clients simply are not worth your time.
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#5 Sethro117  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with bad clients

Posted 16 October 2011 - 02:04 PM

Very true, I've only been contacted two or three times from my website for work and I always try to push them to create on Elance since thats where I've gotten most of my work. Unless they're local, I'll try to get them to go through that and it better protects us both. Since this has happend I've added payment terms to my profile and am sticking to them and making sure the buyer understands them and agrees before accepting a project.
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