It’s 3 pm on a Friday afternoon. You’re wrapping up your week and start your weekend when you get an email. It comes from a customer asking you to accept a small but urgent job. So urgent that you can forget about your Friday night, your Saturday and any plan that you might have. So what do you do? Do you choose money or weekend? How many times have we freelancers accepted a last-minute job just to not let your customer down?
Good logistics is key for the success of projects where different people – especially, different teams or departments. As a freelancer, you know that. So you’re aware of what getting a last-minute job means:
- First, the workflow wasn’t thoroughly planned, and you have now to take responsibility for the bad planning of others.
- And second, you know you’ll be making your customer a huge favor if you show some flexibility and take over that urgent project.
But what happens if this is something which repeats itself every month or week? When do you accept or reject a rush job? Do you have to throw away all your plans every time your customer hasn’t done his homework? Don’t they always rely on us freelancers to help them out off the hook?
When to Accept or Decline a Freelance Rush Job
There are several questions you can ask yourself to help you choose between accepting or declining a project with an extremely tight deadline:
- Will quality get compromised if you accept such a tight deadline? Bad quality at the expense of urgency is a no-go!! Please believe me when I say that customers won’t take your accepting an urgent job into consideration when a quality error pops up. You’ll be made responsible for your errors, so make sure you only accept a project when you’re certain that you’ll be able to deliver it with the appropriate quality.
- Is it an existing or a potential new customer who’s offering you the last-minute job?
- Showing some flexibility to potential clients can be a fantastic opportunity for you to win new customers. Just make sure it isn’t going to be a one-time thing, and that the money they’re offering is worth it!
- This might be your chance to expand your customer base. Depending on a couple of customers is too risky, but make sure you expand your customer base with high-paying customers. Otherwise, when your workload grows, you’re going to be the one with the logistics problem 😉
- As for existing customers, are projects with a tight deadline something out of the norm? If it’s something which happens once in a lifetime, you may want to help them out. However, if this is something they do every week, you may want to “re-educate” your clients, and tell them what your usual turnaround timelines are.
- How much are they paying? Is it going to be worth it, or are you going to throw away all your plans for a couple of dollars? I’m guilty of having accepted too many jobs out of pity toward my customers, but I’ve regretted it every single time! You know you’re going to renounce to your weekend? Then let them pay!
- How much workload do you have right now? If you need more projects/money and you have the time, you may want to be flexible and accept the project. Sometimes, fun just has to wait 😉 Get more tips on how to handle unsteady periods of workload.
How Can You Decline a Job Offer
Don’t be afraid of asking for a longer deadline. Sometimes, the project manager sending you the job may not know exactly how long your work takes, and they just give you the deadline they think. You’d be surprised to know how often deadlines can be extended. You just need to ask!
This is also a fantastic way to decline a job offer: Say you can’t accept the job right now and give them an alternative date. This will show your willingness to help!
My general recommendation is for you to learn how to balance flexibility and not being available 24/7. Sometimes, you’ll have to leave many things behind due to work, but don’t let work take over your life. That’s something I have to remind myself more often than I’d like to admit, so make sure you also remind yourself 😉
Check out this post on other self-employment challenges, and how to overcome them!
PS. Are you born to freelance?