I signed a contract to produce technical training content and videos at a time when I was available to complete it.

I have about 10% of the work completed.

Due to circumstances that I cannot control, I now do not have time to produce quality work and complete the promised items in a reasonable amount of time.

Is it proper to let the client know and give the client a chance to cancel?

Do I produce less than quality work to complete the contract?

It seems to me that it would be unprofessional to just tell the client that I can no longer complete the items due to my new time constraints.

What are my options?


2 Answers 2


"Do I produce less than quality work to complete the contract?"

I would never do this. Not just because it feels shady, but as a freelancer, your reputation is hugely important. It's often how you continue to get work. It seems to me this client would be unlikely to hire you again if you provide them with work you deem to be of poor quality.

In my experience, it's always best to communicate with the client as soon as something like this comes up. They will probably not be happy about it, but make it clear you aren't happy about it either.

Of course it would depend on the nature of the circumstances that are out of your control, but you might also consider sharing those with the client. Maybe they are willing to extend the deadline for you. Maybe they are willing to let the contract go.

  • 1
    Thanks for the feedback. I did communicate with the client and we came up with a suitable compromise. I will continue with the written technical content and send those to the client. The client will then look for someone who can create the videos and edit them. He also agreed to pay 50% of the original contract because I will not longer be creating the videos and is willing to include my name as co-author. Nov 8, 2019 at 20:08

This is going to depend on your contract. Is there an exit clause for you?

If not, inform the client right away so they can make their decision. You understand, thankfully, that you can't accept the entire payment for only 10% of the work. Come to an agreement, and be open with your communications. That will appear much more professional than just ghosting your client.

If the customer gets upset, that's not unreasonable. Make sure you have a plan going forward - is there another company or freelancer you trust to complete the work for the original (or lower) price? Maybe you can get a referral fee for passing on the work.

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