I have a particular client who hired me a few months ago to take over a very large project. He had a huge amount of work for me at first, and I made plenty of money in the first few weeks.

Once we had completed all of the outstanding bug fixes and other basic improvements, he put things on hold while he planned new features and gathered assets for them. He acted like this would only take a few days, but it took several weeks, during which he didn't communicate with me unless I asked him what was happening.

During this waiting period, his account (on the freelancing site he found me on) was suspended because some of his information went out of date. This is fixable, but he has not fixed it.

Finally after a few weeks, he got back to me that the assets were ready. It's been several more weeks and he has never actually sent me the assets or fixed his account. He told me a while back that he was spending some time with his girlfriend; since then he hasn't said anything or responded to reminders that he needs to fix his account.

I'm not sure I want to keep working for him if he isn't going to be professional. I have plenty of work with my other clients. At what point is it better to just close out a project and move on? Should I just cancel the contract through the freelancing website?

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No, don't ditch him yet, he does not cost you anything. He may actually have some other plans, but it does not look too bad. Unless (!) he owes you money. Does he? Since you said that his account was locked and he was too lazy to open it.

If he owes you money, then of course, you will stick to him. If he does not, I would stick to him. Do your other work as you do not owe him anything.

I would also send him a polite and friendly message saying something like "Hi XYZ, I have seen that there is no activity in this project so I cannot reserve any more of my free time for it. I have taken other assignments as I have to make a profit. Once you decide how you want to proceed with this project, please contact me so that I can estimate the scope of the work and can make an execution plan". You've got the point.

My rule is that I cannot be a cry baby in business. If the client's laziness does not hurt my business, I do not ditch him.

Since you mentioned you're using a freelancing website (odesk I suspect), you can ask him to close the project and rate you. And then again, he can reopen project. This however has bad side as once he closes the project, he may forget about you (unless you two contact by other means).

  • why I think the email is the polite way to handle things and the professional way (in which you wanted) you could just pick up some more work from other clients. Then when x person comes back saying here are the assets then add in your current client commitments to the time scales you return to them. – Luke Franklin May 29 '15 at 13:24

I'd hang onto him, just don't overstretch yourself trying to fit him in when he does come up with the goods. Juggling various open contracts is certainly one of the challenges of using the on-line freelancing sites. I put aside three days to commit to jobs, one day that I use for overflow or whatever comes up that week and one day for my 20% time. So I'd hold onto him and when he's got something for you slot him in if you can or tell him you'll give him a time-scale once you've got the space. Who I let have my spare day depends on who's the best customer and is paying the best.

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