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Closing a Job - Dealing With Contractor

Contractor took a job he said would be 24 hours of work, 2-3 days was his estimate on Feb 11th. After 2 1/2 weeks the little work that was competed was due to my checking up and telling the contractor I need to get this wrapped up.

Contractor started Feb 11th, now it is March 8th and no more work is complete.

How should I go about closing this job and moving on to another contractor?

What I have thought about is,

Contacting the contractor and tell him we need to settle up so I can close this contract.

What I do not want to happen is the contractor billing me for the full 24 hours when the job was not completed. The effort was not there, maybe due to him being too busy.

I did not base my choice off hourly price, his rate is 16.87 per hour, he has around 1100 hours on oDesk and a 5 star rating, I thought I had a winner.

I am cautious as this is my first time on oDesk or using any service such as this.

Thanks
Terry

Vote Result

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Score: 0.0, Votes: 0
if he hasn't been using the

if he hasn't been using the tracker to bill you already - he won't have the chance.

close the contract now and move on.

You can also check whether those hours are in the same category (not "Amazing 3D artist" - 1000 hours in a call center job type of person).
You should also check how much they actually got from other people in terms of hourly rate - I've seen plenty of people claiming high rate yet in reality working at 1/5 to 1/2 of what they ask (my best guess would be to attract higher paying clients and/or give the illusion of a discount or something when charging less than originally claimed).

oDesk itself offers no real protection so you should be cautious - don't treat a contractor like an established local business (I see people do that a lot).

Thanks for the replies. I

Thanks for the replies.

I guess I do treat the contractor as an established business although he may be an employee of one.

I am not sure how to check what he received from others or maybe never looked, I will check into that.

My worry is if I close the contract I stiff him and he did do some work although it may take another extra time for the next contractor to figure out what changes were made so they can take it from there and proceed.

Hi Terry, I'm so sorry you

Hi Terry, I'm so sorry you had a bad experience. If you feel the contractor is not a good fit, you can end the contract. If he hasn't logged any hours as yet, then he won't be able to bill you any further once you close the contractor. Please check his work diary to see if any time has been billed.

I'd suggest you talk to the contractor about this as well, but if you feel he has failed in delivering what had been promised and on the deadline, then you can always end the contract and look for someone better suited to the task.

Please do let me know if you need any help in this regard or contact Customer Support

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

Thanks Ayesha, He has not

Thanks Ayesha,

He has not billed any hours yet, but as stated above I do not want to stiff the contractor as he did some work and I would like to come to a amicable agreement, or at least an agreement.

If the contractor bills me hours am I able to adjust because I disagree or am I stuck with what he says?

I do plan to talk with the contractor about this but I don't want to compromise my position as I am fair and objective with working relationships and I know others are not.

Can I adjust the hours down before I discuss this with the contractor?

I want to do this today (Friday) or tomorrow and start the search for someone else.

This sounds odd.

You hired the guy on an hourly contract, right? So when you say he has not billed any hours yet, does that mean he did work, but did not use the time tracker and has not entered any manual hours either? I know this sound ridiculous, but have you checked?

If he really has not charged anything yet you can reduce his hours down to 0 - but this won't take effect until next week. Tell the contractor via the oDesk system to stop working on the project immediately - and watch he doesn't try to start working now - that's why you need to tell him to stop, and somewhere it could be used in a dispute (oDesk message system.)

He can add "manual hours" but those are not guaranteed, so you can easily deal with that should it happen. (Come back here in the hopefully unlikely event that it does!)

Hopefully you can come to an amicable solution asap!

Come back and let us know how it played out, would you?

Correct no time logged and no

Correct no time logged and no manual time entered.

Yes an hourly contract, he went over with me what would happen, where to plug in the 24 hours and it would auto pay.

I copied this from the Work Diary

Total Time Logged: 00:00
Auto-tracked: 00:00
Manual time: 00:00
No Activity

Except I don't want it to auto pay as he has not completed the work nor worked 24 hours on the project in my opinion.

Yes he very well may try to jump on the project and finish but I don't want to be at a disadvantage or be snookered.

You're welcome Terry. You are

You're welcome Terry. You are sure he hasn't billed anything in the past weeks right, so you could end the contract and make him a one-time payment of the work he has done.

As has already been pointed out, please do limit the hours to zero and tell the contractor to stop working.

Ask him about the time he spent on whatever he did manage to complete for you and discuss what would be a fair wage for that effort. You can pay this as a one-time payment/bonus when ending the contract or you can ask the contractor to add manual hours to cover the cost.

The hourly guarantee applies once a contractor actively logs time using the time tracker. So I'd suggest that you don't take much time between talking to the contractor and then ending the contract so that he can't log extra hours to the work diary.

I hope this gets sorted out for you soon.

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

Do I have the option of

Do I have the option of reducing the hours verses taking them to zero? Than if we agree on something a little higher am I able to send more though the bonus system?

Yes,

Yes, you can reduce it to 1 hour if you want.

If I reduce the hours to what

If I reduce the hours to what I think is reasonable, is that effective when it is done or the start of next week as stated above if I reduce the hours to zero.

Terry you can reduce the

Terry you can reduce the hours to any number you like. The change takes effect from the new work week, meaning Monday. But the bonus or one-time payment has nothing to do with the hourly limit. It can be any amount that you see fit, added manually to the contract, even after it is closed. Please read the link below for more details:

How do I pay my contractor for time not billed?

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

Ayesha, I have a better

Ayesha,

I have a better understanding now, thank you.

You're welcome Terry! Glad I

You're welcome Terry! Glad I could help..

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

Beware of oDesk contractors

Beware of oDesk contractors that have perfect 5 star feedback. The majority of the time they refund sub 5 star feedback to maintain a perfect 5 star average. I am also a oDesk hiring manager and do find it a little suspicious when someone has done over 1000 hours with perfect feedback. There are some exceptions to this rule ( Doreen Smile ). There are a lot of contractors that refund. On my contractor profile I have never refunded anyone and I have had some terrible clients. One thing to watch is that if they have done a high number of contracts and have perfect feedback chances are they are refunding so the low scoring contracts don't appear on their profile.

I think

oDesk should completely remove the "refund to remove bad feedback" option. It's too open to abuse from both sides - sub-par contractors refunding to improve their profiles and deceitful "clients" engaging in feedback blackmail to get free work. The cases where somebody really thinks there is a case for removing vengeful feedback can be dealt with by the Help Desk on a case-by-case basis.

ETA and, of course, would also mean no risk of those of us who do have perfect or near-perfect feedback being viewed with suspicion.

Agree with John.

John Bampton wrote:
Beware of oDesk contractors that have perfect 5 star feedback. The majority of the time they refund sub 5 star feedback to maintain a perfect 5 star average. I am also a oDesk hiring manager and do find it a little suspicious when someone has done over 1000 hours with perfect feedback. There are some exceptions to this rule ( Doreen Smile ). There are a lot of contractors that refund. On my contractor profile I have never refunded anyone and I have had some terrible clients. One thing to watch is that if they have done a high number of contracts and have perfect feedback chances are they are refunding so the low scoring contracts don't appear on their profile.

I would also be very suspicious of the work he did send you. Since he didn't use the oDesk Team tracker and show you screenshots of what he did, there is no telling where that work came from. Depending on the nature of the job, he could easily have stolen the material or contracted out to have somebody else do the job at a much lower rate.

I suspect he did the latter and that's why the work hasn't been completed.

He is working on our website,

He is working on our website, adding a short description, in the price field if we put the price of (Innocent Zero, no price will be shown on the web page, only after someone adds the item to the cart would price show, and a color chart filter for apparel items.

A total of three task, they are partially done.

1. Now on a product search the text is on top of each other.

2. The "0" Zero price puts text above as it should but the price shows when you choose your size, price cannot show until those items are added to the cart.

3. There is no color filter chart.

The next person may have difficulty starting from where this contractor left off and maybe not.

I may have posted this job in the wrong section as I don't know what type of computer person I need.

Anyway, thanks for your input Cate, as you see above it could not be inappropriate misused material.

Lock him out of the site and change the passwords, now

If the contractor has not responded yet I'd lock him out of the site, remove his access, and change the password. That way he can not suddenly "work on the contract" while you're asleep adding hours.

It also safeguards you against the small danger of a disgruntled ex contractor causing mischief on your site.

Petra, I missed your post

Petra,

I missed your post earlier.

Thanks, I thought about that than forgot....

In my post above...I guess I did, but I did not intend to put a smiley face up, it should have been "0"

Many

There are a lot of people who have perfect feedback but generally I agree there are times when it should be viewed skeptically. I also like the idea of NOT allowing refunds to avoid bad feedback

Thanks John, that is good

Thanks John, that is good information to know for the future.

This does not matter regarding this person, I don;t understand the difference using this contractor as an example.

At the top of his profile he shows

All Time - 16 Jobs
Last 6 Months - 9 Jobs

Below he is associated with a agency and shows

Current Contracts - 9

Total Contracts - 40

What is the difference between the two and what is the difference between a JOB and a CONTRACT?

Are you left feedback whether you work for an agency or just jobs you do individually?

Terry

Terry, a job and a contract

Terry, a job and a contract is basically the same thing. The ones showing up under the agency are done by members of the agency (not necessarily this contractor if there are more than one members in the agency). You only need to look at his own work experience (total 16 jobs out of which 9 were in the last 6 months). See his feedback for these jobs and then decide.

The feedback left for work under the agency shows up on both the contractor's profile as well as the agency's profile.

oDesk Forum Moderator

Always reach for the skies, for even if you fall, you'll still be on the top of the world...

Okay I reduced the hours to

Okay I reduced the hours to zero, will he be notified I did this?

Tell me if I am on track or not.

My thinking is wait until Monday when the changes take affect and discuss so he does not try to bill hours out this week.

I will talk to him and come up with an agreeable amount to pay him, if he wants to finish the job he can in the next couple of days but I will not add hours back, I will pay him as Ayesha showed me above.

How will he know I am good for the money, because I will pay him for work done.

Or

As mentioned above,

Should I tell him to stop work as of now with no option, just pay him for what he has done?

What is the contractor actually saying to all this?

The contractor will be notified of the change, that's why I suggested you lock him out of your site until you have come to an agreement.

Terry, I am not quite clear what kind of communication there has been both ways since it became evident that things weren't moving the way you had hoped? What is the contractor actually saying to you? What have you asked / told him?

What kind of discussions have there been, or has he just become unresponsive?

What you do now (and what's fair / reasonable to do) rather depends on the communication there has or has not been leading up to this stage.

Petra, I just made his Log-in

Petra,

I just made his Log-in Inactive on the website.

He has been fairly responsive.

All our emails have been cordial, I am easy to work with and flexible, understanding we may run into some road bumps along the way as long as we are making progress in a reasonable time frame.

His time frame was 2-3 days of work, Monday will may a month and I have to find someone who can do this asap. As soon as I can get this done I will hire someone to move the site over to the new platform, than hire a SEO person from here and a back-link person. First, before we can move the site over we need to get these task completed. Next time I don't have a month, I need someone who has the time to work on this for me.

His last email on March 1st is below, I have not had any communications with him since.

"Hi Terry,

I am able to do he corrections so don't worry. As i told you that we will conclude the maximums in this week..

Best Regards"

Previous, on Feb 26th (this was the first work I have actually seen), he could not make the site do what was needed so I contacted Big Commerce and they gave me an outline how to accomplish the task needed. The contractor seemed that information was what he needed to get the work done.

"Hi Terry,

I was unable to give time last 2 3 days. Give me one more day i will conclude the things..

Best Regards"

Creepy

Glad you are able to lock the contractor out or this could have turned out badly. I would not restore access, come to an agreement of what is owed, pay it and move on to someone who can do the job without excuses.

Okay, This is the email I

Okay,

This is the email I just sent and see where we go from here.

*******,

I have to get someone who has the time to do the project at hand.

I did not choose the most inexpensive person, your rate of 16.87 per hour was the highest, you have around 1100 hours on oDesk and a 5 star rating, along with your credentials on various test in the top 10% & 20% range and your Computer Science degree in school, you spoke english well, went over the job with me thoroughly and walked me through the oDesk system. I thought I had someone professional and who could get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.

I know there can be bumps in the road and I offered and assisted when needed, I expected two weeks at most to finish the job. This should be 2-3 days worth of work as you mentioned, yet we are into a month and the job has not been completed.

I don't know if this is too difficult or you are too busy. Once this is done I will need to hire someone who can move our site over to the new platform, a SEO person and a back links person to build back links....but first, this project has to be completed.

I have removed the hours and made the log-in inactive, we need to come to some agreement for the work you did complete, although the next person may have to spend more time figuring out where you left off or repairing what was done. Let's come to some agreement and I will pay you.

I am hesitant to offer this due to your previous commitments that have not been met, best would be if you could finish this job in the next two days and I will pay you the contracted amount.

I am told I can make payments even if the contract is closed.

Thank you,
Terry

Terry, how honest an opinion on that would you like?

.... or any, at all, for that matter, as it's sent now so too late to do anything about it anyway....

Petra, Yes I did send it but

Petra,

Yes I did send it but if you have an opinion or suggestions where I could have improved what I did or a better idea.

I am all ears.

Well...

Terry R. wrote:
Petra,

Yes I did send it but if you have an opinion or suggestions where I could have improved what I did or a better idea.

I am all ears.

First of all, personally, I would not give him the option to finish the job in two days. He has failed to do so in a month, has delivered very little, and what he has delivered doesn't work. Time to move on.

Secondly, the whole lot about his rate, his hours, his feedback and his test results is irrelevant. As are your future plans regarding SEO and link-building etc. What it boils down to is that he took on a contract, did not deliver, you need the work done by someone else, what does he suggest?

That would have left the ball in his court. Realistically all that remains here is how much, if anything, you end up paying this guy. He may opt not to get paid ( to protect his feedback, as "no pay" means "no visible feedback" ) in which case you can just move on to the next contractor.

Let us know how he responds.

Petra, No problem, points

Petra,

No problem, points taken.

Part of the reason mentioning the other work was, if he had the ability to perform the task at hand and did well with this one, very possible he could of had the other work also.

I read on oDesk that posting jobs on the weekend is not the best idea. If we come to an agreement Sunday morning his time, pay him, and if I saw work done on Sunday I have little to lose. He he does not work I can post up the job for Monday morning.

I will keep you posted.

Doreen, Thanks for your

Doreen,

Thanks for your concern, a little more information might ease the concern.

This is a Big Commerce template, I would think if he did something wacky we could reset the template to defaults, not too worried about that, unless I am wrong.

This is not a up and running template (store) it is one we will switch our products over to once the 3 task are complete and working.

THANKS to everyone here, I learned something from all your comments and more comfortable with the direction recommended.

I was like a fish out of water and didn't know how to accomplish what I wanted to do.

I will keep you updated to see what happens.

Terry

Update, So far the contractor

Update,

So far the contractor has not responded, I will post up this job again.

My question, what area should I post this in, is the Web Design, Web Programmer or what type of work are the task below.

A rough outline of what I need

A total of three task.

1. I need a short description field, partially done, now on a product search the text is on top of each other.

2. The "0" Zero price puts text where the price would be but the price would show once the item is added to the cart.

3. Would like to have a color filter chart.

Thanks
Terry

Close the existing contract first, paying whatever you think...

Close the existing contract first, paying whatever you think the incomplete work is worth. Not much..... And don't forget to leave appropriate feedback!

I don't know the first thing about programming but I am sure someone else will know where you should post this contract!

Good luck!

I did close the contract and

I did close the contract and I will make a payment to the contractor...considering what that should be and I will leave appropriate feedback.

Just so everyone understands where I am coming from.

Appropriate feedback = accurate feedback not inflammatory or retaliatory.

Of course!

Terry R. wrote:

Appropriate feedback = accurate feedback not inflammatory or retaliatory.

That should go without saying. You seem to have been more than fair so far!

Okay, To wrap this

Okay,

To wrap this up.

Contractor never replied.

Contractor paid and feedback left.

New job posted.

Thank you
Terry

Now the contractor

Now the contractor responds.

My feedback does not show up on the contractors page....does it take a period of time?

Hi Terry,

I have checked you message, if you need the work kindly let me know as i dont get the time to do, i already know how to do the points..

Sorry for disappointment from my side, i was too busy in last days..

Best Regards,

Feedback

The contractor also has an opportunity to leave feedback for you and until they do or the required "waiting period" passes (the number escapes me at the moment) it will not show in their profile.

14 days

Doreen Martel wrote:
The contractor also has an opportunity to leave feedback for you and until they do or the required "waiting period" passes (the number escapes me at the moment) it will not show in their profile.

It's 14 days I believe.

Sorry your first experience

Sorry your first experience on oDesk was so sub-par. Sounds like the guy was a waste of space...not sure if I would have paid him anything.

With a bit of luck he'll refund you to keep the 5.0.

For future reference:
1. Ask for daily progress reports
2. If the guy promises 2-3 days; on day 4 there damned well better be a good reason. He's wasted a month of your time and that just is not on. But you also should have been more on the case. Once you get to know a contractor you can often just hand over the job and forget about it; but you have to be a lot more diligent with those new to you.
3. Interview via skype; ask some questions to assure yourself that the contractor knows what they are talking about and also get a feel for the personality of your potential recruit.

Good luck with take II.

Web programming

Web programming, then whatever language your cart is written in, php, etc...
I am not up on the various kinds of cart software out there but if you know what it is mention it.
And, as mentioned by others, ask technical questions, ask f they have specifically worked on your type of cart before, ask for a web site they worked on that you can look at, give them a deadline and tell them you expect it by then.
A decent contractor will let you know if they can deliver it or not.
If you can talk to them via Skype I recommend it also. Someone good should be able to do this quickly and if even if they charge a lot, it may be cheaper in the end if they are fast.
And sometimes you just cannot find the skills you want here. I have had that experience a few times.
Best wishes.

Thanks Margaret, I posted as

Thanks Margaret,

I posted as you stated and hired another contractor, he said 7-10 days, I explained I have to keep that reasonable schedule. We did a fixed price and the contractor asks that I pay each time a task is complete, seemed reasonable so I agreed.

Both times I posted I would make contact to set up a time to discuss in further detail on Skype and normally most will not answer back, I guess that is par for the course.

I did set parameters both times for English (4.5-5 stars), feedback in the 4-5 star ranger or some such and over 500 hours on oDesk.

You guys have taught me alot!

Contract termination

I am also new to oDesk and I'm wondering if it's possible to review a client even if the contract was ended. I was hired to do some article writing but was given NO deadline. After I submitted three articles the contract was ended because I was "taking too long". How can I let other potential hirees know that the person seems to have unreasonable expectations?

You weren't paid, were you, Audrey?

Audrey S. wrote:
I am also new to oDesk and I'm wondering if it's possible to review a client even if the contract was ended. I was hired to do some article writing but was given NO deadline. After I submitted three articles the contract was ended because I was "taking too long". How can I let other potential hirees know that the person seems to have unreasonable expectations?

To be honest it is only partly the client's fault, you should have asked about the expectations before you even took on the contract. Just how long did you take to deliver 3 articles? "Reasonable" is whatever timescale is mutually agreed before a contract starts.

If you were not paid no feedback will be visible either way. If the client pays you at least a Dollar then whatever feedback they leave you becomes visible on your profile, and yours to them becomes visible on theirs.

You can leave feedback by going to the closed contract, provided the contract was not closed more than 2 weeks ago. if they pay you it becomes visible (almost straight away if they have left you feedback, after 2 weeks if they have not) Be aware, however, that the feedback you leave becomes as much part of your overall profile / reputation as the feedback you receive... Bear that in mind.

I checked last night, March

I checked last night, March 23rd/24th, my feedback hit the Contractors page, wake up today and the Contractor refunded my payment.

Odd to me as my feedback explained his good points and I could not accurately rate the areas properly as he did not complete the task after a month.

So does that mean my feedback will be removed even though it hit his profile but he refunded my money?

On a positive note.

I hired another guy who jumped all over this and is already done, and we will be doing more work in the near future. He is great and we are moving onto other tasks I am looking for.

Terry

Yes

Terry R. wrote:
I checked last night, March 23rd/24th, my feedback hit the Contractors page, wake up today and the Contractor refunded my payment.

So does that mean my feedback will be removed even though it hit his profile but he refunded my money?


Yes

Okay, thank you. I will be

Okay, thank you.

I will be untrusting/scrutinizing anyone with a 5 Star Rating.

Great that you found a good contractor!!

I am glad you came back to update us!

Yes, I understand that it grates to see the feedback go. Sadly this means that contractors with a 5 Star rating can be suspected of foul play, even when they have never refunded anything Sad

On the bright side: You got your money back and you found someone who you can work with well. I hope the new chap and you work well together for a long time!

Petra, What a weasel, or

Petra,

What a weasel, or spineless I should say, he doesn't stand tall in the saddle.

With the refund, the message he left me or maybe to Odesk as to why the refund is as follows.

"I am refunding you given payment, because you have mad a very bad comment on profile, which is moving down my 2 years efforts on odes " (I think mad should be Made)

My feedback as close as I can remember was,

"***** spoke english well, was thorough going through the job with me insuring he understood what the job was, walked me thru the oDesk process. He kept me up dated initially but I cannot rate ***** in any area as he did not finish the 2-3 day job, according to him, within a months time. "

There was nothing bad in my comment other than he did not finish his work within his specified time frame.

Yes, correct the new person, I do have plans for!

Thanks
Terry

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