I have done freelance work mostly related to graduation level problem solutions, but in one of my case I failed to provide the right solution, even after working quite good on it, so I refunded back the amount.

My question: what policy should one follow while doing some online work that, even though you work on that for at least some reasonable amount, should pay back to you for your efforts taken? Does anyone have the same situation where the final work goes wrong, even working hard on that?


3 Answers 3


It is customary in service industry work, where final outcome is an unknown until some research, investigation, or initial diagnosis us required -- to charge a non-refundable deposit to cover the initial work that is required. You need a contract or agreement for this before you start any work at all.

This is along the lines of a "repair shop" charging you $x to diagnose a problem. Then if you wish to continue, you would pay for the full service.

If you had no agreement before starting, then it would not be acceptable to try and collect "diagnostic" or "research" fees after the fact.

Also, be aware business has a concept of a "loss leader". This is the concept that you perform some service without payment merely in teh hopes of achieving the bigger project. Sometimes you'll get that larger paying job, sometimes you won't and the initial effort is a loss.


Most freelancers work through websites like upwork and elance which take out all the hassles of getting paid for the work. Just play by the rules set by the platform and you will get good reviews. Of course, they take a commission for providing you all the convenience. There many more such websites you can try depending upon the exact work you do. There are some websites dedicated to homework assignments too!

  • I would disagree that "most" freelancers use third party platforms. They aren't really required and they focus on only specific tasks or projects related to web development in most cases. That's not all freelancing is.
    – Scott
    Oct 28, 2017 at 23:29
  • I agree freelancing is much more than doing small graduate level assignments. Just that these websites are really popular for such jobs. Oct 30, 2017 at 0:06
  • @Hustlepreneur i quite disagree on that, yes freelance is depend on goals you focused in life and the path you choose as career. but as university or graduation assignment are big deal, mini projects always open doors to free thinking and imagination but only obstacle is that resource material is you have to decide as an beginner or intermediate member. Oct 30, 2017 at 11:58
  • Such assignments are a great way to learn. Once I had a student project which ran for whole year, so yeah they are a big deal for sure. What kind of obstacles are you facing exactly? Which website do you use ? Oct 31, 2017 at 12:18
  • @Hustlepreneur there is Freelancer, Fiverr are good lancing websites, you will get some advance level university assignments well only you are solving problem to get reasonable solution so whatever data,info you collected from web are based on your own thinking if you are solving by yourself. I had one assignment it was related with physics,math but somehow my assumptions got wrong as i only dependent on data available and info what i got while searching and there was large margin of error as there is no any other solved problem which will be similar so at least you can match your answers. Nov 3, 2017 at 11:38

It is always bad to take on work you can not finish. The better way to handle a request in an area you are not too certain you can help, is to let your client know from the beginning that is new ground for you, and if they are willing to go forward with you.

But sometimes it happens you discover some obstacles you did not foresee. In these cases it is crucial that you communicate this right away and help the client to find alternative solutions. IT is also important that you make them aware of the effort you already put in. Maybe there is also some value in what you did so far. You have to reach an agreement with them, on how to adapt to the situation and what a fair compensation for you could be.

Best is, you have a contract that pays by the hour. So you are in a strong position. For example, you give them 50% off because you did not achieve the goals, but still get some compensation. If you are paid for the finished product, you are at their mercy.


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