Would You do Work Your Employer is Not Paying for?

22 replies
I've noticed that even if you sign an agreement (especially as a freelancer) employers are quick to try to get you to do things that were never spoken about when your first start off. Here's an example: you sign an agreement to write your employer's monthly newsletter now they're telling you that you personally have to include 10 high resolution photos that you took yourself, edit their articles and write new posts when they have no plan to pay for the extra labor.

Thoughts?
#employer #paying #work
  • Profile picture of the author BuzzBrudda
    To be honest, employers will always try to get over on you in any field. I think what you mean is that the employer tried to pressure you into doing more than you signed on for. If they aren't paying then don't do the work. This is a huge problem in the freelancing world.

    I know it's tough especially if you get one of those people who try to threaten not to pay you unless you do xyz. I say demand payment and stop working for the person. Better safe than sorry. There's a lot of scammers in this world, kid.
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  • Profile picture of the author DGSEO
    I've never had a client demand that level of work that wasn't discussed beforehand but I have had cases where clients asked me to do a few extra things. If it's something simple like scheduling posts myself and posting them to social media I'll generally say yes, but if they want me to do something that will take me an hour or more I won't do it unless they're going to pay me extra. Asking for free work is a very quick way to stop being my client.

    There has been one exception to this when I worked for a non-profit and I helped with some of the physical set up of a new location as a volunteer instead of as an employee. I did maybe 6-8 hours of free work moving and cleaning stuff, but I truly believed in the work they were doing and I loved everyone I worked with, including the volunteers. I wouldn't put in that kind of effort for just anyone.
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    • Profile picture of the author BuzzBrudda
      Originally Posted by DGSEO View Post

      I've never had a client demand that level of work that wasn't discussed beforehand but I have had cases where clients asked me to do a few extra things. If it's something simple like scheduling posts myself and posting them to social media I'll generally say yes, but if they want me to do something that will take me an hour or more I won't do it unless they're going to pay me extra. Asking for free work is a very quick way to stop being my client.

      There has been one exception to this when I worked for a non-profit and I helped with some of the physical set up of a new location as a volunteer instead of as an employee. I did maybe 6-8 hours of free work moving and cleaning stuff, but I truly believed in the work they were doing and I loved everyone I worked with, including the volunteers. I wouldn't put in that kind of effort for just anyone.
      Yeah, I mean it's happened to me a few times and these people actually get mad when I ask to be compensated. I was starting think that it was something that was actually quite common and normal for freelancers. Apparently it kind of is. Especially for people working over the net. I say drop 'em.

      You did a really good thing with the volunteer work.
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    • Profile picture of the author MuricanWriter
      Originally Posted by DGSEO View Post

      I've never had a client demand that level of work that wasn't discussed beforehand but I have had cases where clients asked me to do a few extra things. If it's something simple like scheduling posts myself and posting them to social media I'll generally say yes, but if they want me to do something that will take me an hour or more I won't do it unless they're going to pay me extra. Asking for free work is a very quick way to stop being my client.

      There has been one exception to this when I worked for a non-profit and I helped with some of the physical set up of a new location as a volunteer instead of as an employee. I did maybe 6-8 hours of free work moving and cleaning stuff, but I truly believed in the work they were doing and I loved everyone I worked with, including the volunteers. I wouldn't put in that kind of effort for just anyone.
      That makes sense. So little things are fine but not something completely off topic.
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  • Profile picture of the author neshaword
    I hear you. It happens. As your fellow freelancer, I can tell you, it happens a lot. Now, I'm not sure about your options.

    Extra work should get you extra money. But, we live in the real freelance world. Meaning, both major platforms, such as Freelancer and Upwork offer protection for both hourly and fixed price projects. You should try to negotiate this unpleasant situation with your employer. If not, you should launch an arbitration or a dispute resolution system.

    I do hope you have enough evidence to support your claim. Show that you did all what was initially asked from you. You should have some screenshots of your emails, chats, and stuff. Then ask to be paid for previous work. First, you should cover your previous work and then try to find a fair solution for additional work requirements.
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  • Profile picture of the author TeaCozy
    Short answer is no.

    The brief is clear on the project and any additional work should be paid for.

    Say you're happy to help them with extra work and the price for this would be ### - if they agree to this, ask them to set up the additional milestone and away you go.

    You don't need to do the extra work if you aren't being employed to do it.

    Set the standard early on otherwise where does it stop.

    Your call but I would only do what the original project outlined, anything else is extra.
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    • Profile picture of the author MuricanWriter
      Originally Posted by TeaCozy View Post

      Short answer is no.

      The brief is clear on the project and any additional work should be paid for.

      Say you're happy to help them with extra work and the price for this would be ### - if they agree to this, ask them to set up the additional milestone and away you go.

      You don't need to do the extra work if you aren't being employed to do it.

      Set the standard early on otherwise where does it stop.

      Your call but I would only do what the original project outlined, anything else is extra.
      My thoughts exactly. I agree with what you're saying. We should definitely be compensated for doing working. We have the set the standard for ourselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Originally Posted by MuricanWriter View Post

    I've noticed that even if you sign an agreement (especially as a freelancer) employers are quick to try to get you to do things that were never spoken about when your first start off. Here's an example: you sign an agreement to write your employer's monthly newsletter now they're telling you that you personally have to include 10 high resolution photos that you took yourself, edit their articles and write new posts when they have no plan to pay for the extra labor.

    Thoughts?
    What's the essence of the agreement?
    It's to guide you and show your jurisdiction.
    If he wants something outside the scope, he got to pay more.

    Lots of time i have to give extra but once i get fed up i draw the curtain.
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    • Profile picture of the author MuricanWriter
      Originally Posted by johnben1444 View Post

      What's the essence of the agreement?
      It's to guide you and show your jurisdiction.
      If he wants something outside the scope, he got to pay more.

      Lots of time i have to give extra but once i get fed up i draw the curtain.
      Yeah. I guess. There has to be some kind of way that agreements are written where everything is clear and to the point so that both parties are satisfied. It's interesting because I've heard horror stories from employers stating they paid someone hundreds of dollars but the person never did the work.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    1) they are not my employer, they are my CLIENT. They are not my bosses, they're hiring me for a particular set of skills they either don't have or don't have the time to execute on their own.

    2) as my CLIENT and not my employer, they do not get to reset the scope of our agreement without additional negotiations. That's what my CONTRACT is for. For those of you operating without a contract or AT LEAST working terms, I'm not surprised you get walked all over.

    3) if you don't get out of this "OMG I'm so lucky they even hired me" mindset (note: I'm not saying don't be grateful), you're going to continue to attract these kinds of clients. Most of them know they're pushing boundaries. Some will accede when you push back. Some will throw a fit.

    I don't work with people who throw fits. That's an instant firing. I don't need anyone's money that badly that I'm willing to be their punching bag.
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    • Profile picture of the author MuricanWriter
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      1) they are not my employer, they are my CLIENT. They are not my bosses, they're hiring me for a particular set of skills they either don't have or don't have the time to execute on their own.

      2) as my CLIENT and not my employer, they do not get to reset the scope of our agreement without additional negotiations. That's what my CONTRACT is for. For those of you operating without a contract or AT LEAST working terms, I'm not surprised you get walked all over.

      3) if you don't get out of this "OMG I'm so lucky they even hired me" mindset (note: I'm not saying don't be grateful), you're going to continue to attract these kinds of clients. Most of them know they're pushing boundaries. Some will accede when you push back. Some will throw a fit.

      I don't work with people who throw fits. That's an instant firing. I don't need anyone's money that badly that I'm willing to be their punching bag.

      Angie,

      Have you ever experienced a time where you tried to get out of a project because the employer refused to work with the terms of the contract yet the employer made it near impossible? Have you ever had trouble with a persistent employer who threatens you despite having a contract in place? How do you terminate the project?

      Very, very big point about having a contract in place. They protect both parties but many people tend to overlook them.
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      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by MuricanWriter View Post

        Angie,

        Have you ever experienced a time where you tried to get out of a project because the employer refused to work with the terms of the contract yet the employer made it near impossible? Have you ever had trouble with a persistent employer who threatens you despite having a contract in place? How do you terminate the project?

        Very, very big point about having a contract in place. They protect both parties but many people tend to overlook them.
        I write them a letter stating that I can absolutely do the things they're requesting, after we talk about an adjustment in the project fee and the deliverable dates.

        If they throw a fit, I simply say no, that's not part of the agreement. I will deliver on the requested work and if you still want to proceed with the extras after the fact, we can talk then.

        If they continue throwing a fit, it means I didn't screen well. I typically tell them I'm no longer able to continue working on the project, cut my losses, sometimes return money if necessary, and move on.

        Screening well is another miss beginners need to focus on. If you don't feel worthy of the money you're earning, you're going to continue working with people that set off red flags - they can sense and feed off desperation.

        As counter-intuitive as it sounds, you're in the best possible position when you don't need the work.
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    I say these things to the newbs, understanding how difficult it may seem.

    The reality is, from one former newb to another, that more often than not, you're making it MUCH harder than it has to be.

    You do not have to take work. You do not have to accept unrealistic deadlines or micromanaging clients. You don't have to accept crappy, unlivable rates.

    All of these things you CHOOSE to do (and can choose NOT to do). As hard as it may seem, don't get sucked down the black hole of worry. You can't make them dance the way you want them to. You can only account for the steps you need to take to stay on your own two feet.
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  • Profile picture of the author gpacx
    This one is honestly a no-brainer. My personal experience since I started Freelancing full-time is that I fire my employers way more frequently than they end up firing me, like by a lot. If you don't set standards for people that you're working with to follow when they're dealing with you, people will walk all over you.

    Personally I believe in playing for the draw, like I think it's important that everybody I'm doing business with feels like they're getting a fair deal because you can't build business relationships based on mutual resentment. When I take a job, it has to feel like a score, like I have to be very happy with what I'm getting out of it and I also want the person who hired me to feel excited about the value they're about to get for their money. When you deliver on that, great relationships come out of it.

    In your example, what seems to be happening is that the client is trying to change the scope of work in the middle of the project. If I'm producing a newsletter according to somebody else's specifications and it's a whole new project that nobody has ever done before (there is no prior newsletter to base it on), I'm getting a scope of work in writing and I'm going to be reviewing outlines, design, everything with the client on an ongoing basis to make sure that I'm getting everything right.

    If you're constantly following up, nobody's ever going to be able to say that you suddenly need to include a photo because you've given them so many opportunities to do that already and they're going to realize that they're being insane.

    Some people have the viewpoint that they can always ask for more and just try to extract maximum value, and that's why you get things approved early from them so if you run into hiccups at that point, you haven't invested a lot into the project and it's easy to get out of it.

    You want to fire these kinds of employers very early on, or just make sure you complete the project based on the new specifications if it isn't too much trouble but don't work with them again.

    The other thing is that you can just bill them more. Be happy to take more work and then just say you have to add to the project fee because it isn't in the scope of work document. Nobody can ever complain about this, get them to imagine if the project was already done and they were just expecting you to do this extra work for free.

    On Freelancer.com, I don't accept a job until the project is fully funded and I have had a detailed discussion with the client outlining the scope of work and agreed on a timeline for completion. If you're locking yourself into deals without doing that, you're in for a bad time when people feel like they're paying too much or they're just cheap and now they want a bunch of extra work done for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author amuro
    I will rather stick to affiliate marketing and product creation.

    Having gone through the ups and downs of employment in my pre-internet marketing days, I never want to go back there again.

    Still I need to let you guys know one essential and critical thing.

    That is -

    You want to benefit,
    Other people want to benefit as well.


    Every successful marketer knows this well.

    Because if you just think of benefiting yourself with little or no regards to others, you are not going to progress.

    Whether you are an entrepreneur.

    Or even employee.
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  • Profile picture of the author Honey Bunny SEO
    Oh, yeah, the standard f*ck-over business model. I shifted from that not just because it sucks, but because I find my productivity levels are considerably higher when I'm the first person who will benefit from good results.

    What employers miss these days a lot is to build a progressive incentive system for their workers. Although it's like ABC of a corporate world, and was reiterated millions of times for the past century, even developed countries suffer from this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wordsmith11
    A lot of people would scam you like this you need to set up a boundary and make sure you don't cross it for anyone otherwise they will grill you and rip you apart
    Make sure to discuss every detail about the project before you get on board with it, so that you don't get to do anything new later
    And clearly refuse if he is asking you for more things
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  • Profile picture of the author apache421
    that is just something employers try to do everywhere that is not just in the field of freelancing. what you need to do is always work through a proper or say a major platform like Freelancer etc so that you can later lay a claim that the employer is making you do extra work then stated earlier. these platforms are there to save you from such things. always lay the boundaries of your work straight. everything should be settled before hand so that the employer knows what are you going to do for the stated price and no more. if they still ask you for doing something extra then a little favor is fine but anything that takes a considerable amount of time should be paid for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Hart
    Hello MuricanWriter,

    I know it is frustrating, but sometimes you have to do that to ensure that the client is satisfied. It sucks, but in business, the customer is always right, and going the extra mile to ensure satisfaction is what business is about.

    On the other hand, doing business properly could mean that the client has to pay for anything extra he asks you to do since it was not in the initial agreement. It can go both ways - satisfy the client by going the extra mile, or angering the client and sticking to the original terms of the contract.

    I hope this answers your question well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Driscoll
    I just had this situation happen to me. To not get into details, I merely suggested that we switch to an hourly (because the client wanted hours of extra work, and there was no clear end to it) and he went ape shit on me, threatened to give me a bad review, dispute, etc.

    In short, nothing bad happened to me. My JSS dropped 4%, but hey, I am running a business. I am not going to sink my ship because a client thinks they deserve free work.

    Judge the situation, and know when to say no. But always offer a way to move forward. If the client says "no", then generally the aftermath (if you conduct yourself professionally) gets blamed on the client.

    Make sure to make it clear where your agreements are, and repeat them in emails if you must. If the client still refuses, then you my friend are free. They are the reason the project doesn't move forward, not you. And you can spend your time finding good clients who treat their freelancers like real people.
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  • Profile picture of the author gregorybair
    This is an interesting question, and really a pretty philosophical one. It is a particularly fascinating question in the world of Freelancing, where everything is essentially being negotiated by individual, separate contractors. I am a little bit torn. When starting out in Freelancing, I remember I had a project I was doing for my boss, though was lagging considerably. I needed to complete a certain amount of work by a certain time, and was spending countless hours on the project. Research, note-taking, graphic design, photography, and writing for one project all at once was completely overwhelming. I remember my boss being very understanding, and shepherding me through the whole process, answering questions and helping me. I eventually finished the project. When it came time to discuss my compensation, my boss told me he had only budgeted a certain amount for the project to be completed, and that I had exceeded that by x amount. We came to an agreement somewhere in the middle, as I had been slow as a beginner. I didn't see this as unfair, but rather a compromise from both sides: he was making a concession from the perspective of his budget, and I was making a concession from the perspective of work put in. Now, I understand that this is entirely circumstantial, but the point is that a lot of this work involves negotiation, whether you are working for yourself or somebody else. There ARE circumstances when maybe the result wasn;t ideal, or hours were squandered, and there is room for compromise. The best advice to be given is try to be fair to others, and maintain your integrity in all your dealings. As long as you feel good about an arrangement, then what else is there?
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  • Profile picture of the author james flynn
    Originally Posted by MuricanWriter View Post

    I've noticed that even if you sign an agreement (especially as a freelancer) employers are quick to try to get you to do things that were never spoken about when your first start off. Here's an example: you sign an agreement to write your employer's monthly newsletter now they're telling you that you personally have to include 10 high resolution photos that you took yourself, edit their articles and write new posts when they have no plan to pay for the extra labor.

    Thoughts?
    Before asking your employer to set up a payment milestone, discuss the project in detail and make sure that he/she has cleared your concept regarding the project. I used to have same issues with my employer when I started working on Freelancer but never complained because I never assessed the situation rationally because of the money and good ratings at stake. Therefore make sure that you are comfortable with in's and out's of the project before indulging yourself into unjust labour for which you deserve to get paid.
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