Monday, October 6, 2008

A Scheduling Challenge - Waiting for the Work

I have a client who has been getting a big project ready for me. I know that clients often make big promises of work and fail to deliver, but I am confident about this project because I have already received the down payment for the work, and a signed agreement – a month ago.

My client began preparing me for this big project around July. He said that I should even consider finding some other writers to help out. I reluctantly put a couple of feelers out to see who might be interested in helping out. My reluctance was because I didn't know when the work would come exactly, so I didn't want anyone to pass up paying work until I knew for certain.

A couple of good freelance writers have let me know that they are willing to help out when the work arrives. But since I will be responsible for the bulk of the project, I have been wondering whether I should keep my own schedule slightly open just in case it arrives – because he has made an initial payment and there will be a lot on my plate during that time. But in the meantime, I've got to eat, and the mortgage must be paid.

I hate trying to juggle the projects I'm currently working on with those that "are coming soon." I haven't stopped working, but honestly I could have taken on more projects while waiting. In the future, I will have to handle things differently. Have you ever dealt with a project that's been perpetually placed on hold?


Amanda Nicole said...

Ooooh, yes. I can't stand this. To me it shows an arrogance on the client's part and lack of respect for the writer's time and business. I've learned to make contracts explicitly clear, including start and end dates, and until that contract is signed and the project is rolling, I don't owe the potential client anything. They're certainly not about to pay for the jobs I'm missing out on in the meantime, so until the project is in my hands, I'm a free agent.

Avid Writer said...

amanda nichole,

I have to admit that I have become lax with including start and end dates with this client because he will often make a down payment (sometimes the full payment) for a project before sending it to me. But back then I was only waiting a couple of days to get it. So I found myself stating on agreements that the due date was "two weeks after receiving the project," or something like that.

But this is ridiculous. I feel obligated to get it done when it comes in because he's already paid a pretty hefty down payment. Argh!There has to be a better way.

Lori said...

Oh I hate this one. I'm STILL waiting for the uber-critical project that was due in the last week of August. Then there was the project that started three years ago....

With a deposit, you're sitting in a better place than many of us, amen. When I posted about it recently, the advice I got was great - if the project comes in when you're busy, get in line. You are NOT their employee and you don't owe them your unending time. Clients need to respect your time more than that.

Go ahead and schedule other work. They'll have to wait when they do show up.

Avid Writer said...

Lori, you and amanda nichole right. I need these guys to respect my time much better. And as my grandmother was fond of saying: "I can show 'em better than I can tell 'em." When they finally send it they'll just have to get in line.

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