I work as a self-employed full-stack dev and recently came across multiple projects which were started with a professional developers or development teams but then they left the client alone and for some reason cancelled the contract.

I don't mind taking these kind of projects and it is good to see a happy client when the thing is finally done.

What I really want to know, is this a common thing or did you came across such projects in the past? What a possible reasons for this?

  • Yes, from what I seen a company will use their own employees to handle the daily business, and maybe use a contractor to do the side projects. Perhaps it started off in vice versa where they used their employees or another contractor, then waited and now want to complete it.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 17:11
  • Why not ask your (now happy) clients? It's hard to speculate on every possible reason. Sometimes employees leave. Sometimes fixed-term contracts end and the two sides can't negotiate a mutually beneficial extension. Sometimes contractors have too many clients. Sometimes clients don't know what they want and contractors get frustrated about going through countless iterations. Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


It happens all the time. It can happen for a variety of reasons.

  1. The client may not have liked the previous contractor's work, ethic, communication style.
  2. There may have been fundamental differences in the perception of the requirements (i.e. the client wanted feature X, contractor built feature Y)
  3. There may have been cost overruns and delays the client considered unacceptable.
  4. There may have been technology choices that the client can't support.
  5. There may be technology choices the previous contractor insisted upon that the client refused to shell out for.
  6. There may have been fundamental philosophical differences regarding components or delivery (security, continued support, access, etc).
  7. The client may actually be trying to get the project completed by screwing a series of contractors until he only pays for the final piece to finish it (reducing a $25,000 project to $3,000 - or whatever currency is agreed upon)
  8. The previous contractor may actually be trying to get more money out of the project by attempting to upsell different features, delay required features, or putting in add-ons the client didn't ask for.
  9. The client ran out of money on the first go around. Now the previous contractor is unavailable due to a competing contract deadline.

This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but these things happen on a regular basis. They're all part and parcel of the whole contracting gig. Being able to overcome some of these is a huge part of completing a contract. Being able to recognize the ones that negatively affect you (or your business) is very important to maintaining a positive reputation in your area (assuming a local rather than online presence).

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