“This is the worst review I’ve ever received on Elance. At first, I was outraged; although I agreed with most part of the review written by the client, I considered the ratings on some of the fields highly unfair, and I began planning a response consisting in the demonstration that, while submitting such bad ratings, the client was acting by spite because something (possibly beyond my responsibility) went wrong on his side, and he considered I was to only one to blame. Days after, I calmed down; I realized that just defending myself without any self-criticism and insinuating that things went wrong because the client didn’t do his job right (by not counting on potential problems) wouldn’t be honest, and I want to be. It’s a top priority for me, and most clients believe that honesty is the key to a successful client-freelancer relationship, specially in the long term.
So, I'll try to avoid moral judgments and stick to simply analyzing the numerical values in the rating chart (again, I do agree with most part of the text written by the client, and I appreciate that, despite of his general dissatisfaction, he attempted to clearly state he valued the quality of my work). I’ll accept that I failed to deliver on time, so... 1/5 in ‘Schedule’? Project was delayed by a few weeks, not months, so maybe a bit higher would have been more reasonable…. but I can accept that low rating. 3/5 in ‘Response’? Perhaps response could have been better, but I was there on August Saturdays and Sundays. Maybe a bit higher would have been more reasonable… but I can perfectly accept that low rating. 2/5 in ‘Professional’? Not delivering on time is totally unprofessional, but not logging some hours dedicated to learning complex uncommon coding because I consider it’s some task I must do in my free time as part of my training is professional attitude so, again, maybe a bit higher would have been more reasonable... but I can accept that low rating too.
What I don't find fair are the other three ratings: Why 3/5 in 'Cost'? Was it higher than initially agreed? No, it was much lower, because this was an hourly-based job, and I simply didn't have enough hours for the client (this is the root of the whole problem), and he canceled the project in the middle so, approximately, half of the hours were not logged (and, again, I didn't log some hours I spent in learning complex unusual coding because I didn't consider fair to bill the client for that time). Why 3/5 in 'Quality'? In a mid-project Skype communication, I offered the client to cancel the project and even refund him everything he paid to date because I was seeing I wouldn't have enough time for him, but the client told me that he liked my work and he'd prefer me to continue with the project. Wasn't quality what made him decide I was the appropriate freelancer for the job? This is from the client review itself: “Repairman has an eye for detail and he only releases his work when it's up to his own high standards...”. 3/5 in Quality, then? Now, what about the 4/5 rating in 'Expertise'? Client states that “Repairman is a capable programmer who works hard to satisfy his customers as good as possible. He's willing to be flexible and find creative solutions and knows what he's talking about.”. Again, I have to disagree for not having received a 5/5 rating in the 'Expertise' field. Not only because I consider myself an expert in the areas involved in the job but, specially, because the client himself does!
I'm aware there may be potential clients that will tend to siding with the client while analyzing this situation, and I understand it. But as much as I have to to accept my share of responsibility in that situation, I have to defend myself against something that I don't consider fair at all. When things go wrong, it's always due to a chain of errors at many levels, and I know I'm a part of that, but I don't find it reasonable to be considered the only one responsible for that project's undesired outcome.”
Freelancer Feedback Comments for Client:
“Writing a fair review about this client won’t be easy. On one hand, projects coming from him are interesting and innovative, he’s an educated and respectful person and understands the value of work well done. On the other, IMHO, he behaves unstably and changes his mind in a matter of hours. At some point during the development of this project, I found myself unable to provide the many hours he was requesting. I told him that I was feeling very stressed and finding myself unable to deliver the work at the pace he was expecting, and offered him to cancel it (and even refund him everything paid to date!). He replied that he liked my work and that he’d prefer to continue together. Days after, I completed a milestone and sent him a message with detailed comments about the work done in a numbered list. He later replied, also in detail, including a final comment stating that he wasn’t 100% happy with how things were going, but that we’d all do an effort to have the project completed ASAP. That was the last message he posted to the Workroom. Two days after (he was not available the next day), all of a sudden, he called me saying that he wanted to cancel the project. At that point, I told him that it was a pity, but that I was perfectly understanding him, and that communication was the last we had. Not only project was cancelled but, a pair of hours later, I received a dispute notification because client didn’t want to pay the latest timesheet. Of course, Elance resolved in my favor, because I had been using the tracker and the client actually had the product of my work but, again, he showed very distant behavior in a very short time period. I’m very sorry for any problems I might have created to him and, after all, wish him good luck in his business, because I still believe he’s a good person and deserves it. However, it would have been better to keep our heads cool before taking some actions, because this ultimately resulted in mutual harm, with no benefit for anyone.”