Resources & Inspiration for the Artistically Curious
I wanted to do a bit of a follow up regarding my “Designer Primer | Client Relations” from yesterday and talk about some of the responses I got from my tweet:
Designer Situation: You’re 20 hours into a project, and haven’t heard from your client in 2 weeks. You’ve checked in. How long til you bill?
I asked my fellow designers what their standards and practices are for dealing with projects that begin to get dragged out over of the course of several weeks, months, or even longer. The response as a whole was reaffirming to my current stance on the subject, but the lengths of “wait time” varied greatly.
Some of the most in-depth advice I received was from a personal mentor of mine, Charlotte Markward, whom I worked with for nearly two years while I was a designer at Iperdesign. As one of the Senior Designers at the company, and with over a decade of both agency and freelance experience, Charlotte has mastered the skills of organization and timelines.
In our Skype chat, Charlotte reminded me of some of her key principals for establishing clear designer-to-client communications that every designer should put in place to avoid problems like the ones addressed in my tweet:
• Always be upfront about everything in the beginning
• Spell out what you’re expectations are for both yourself and them
• Tell the client exactly ‘what’ they’re getting and ‘when’ (ie. “I need 7 days for Initial Design, plus 48 hours for revisions”)
• Clarity in your initial contract will save your butt. The more ways you can think to cover your bases, the better. You can’t always rely on a client to stick to a deadline, and there needs to be a way to compensate for that.
• The cut off line for projects with no progress (unless otherwise discussed) should be about 60 days. At which time a new contract should be drawn up and agreed upon.
Additionally I pulled some responses from three of my Twitter followers:
stop all work, till you hear from them and get partial payment.
lot of variables there, but 2 weeks seems too soon. Have you sent the “Is the project dead/If I don’t hear back, it’s dead” email?
I think 1st step is the “If I don’t hear from you by <$date>, I will assume this is dead and I’ll be invoicing for WTD.
give him notice of closed project at said due date. I’d say a weeks time? At which time u send the bill if u don’t hear back.
On the whole, it appears we agree that each project, like EVERY PROJECT, needs to be dealt with by carefully analyzing the situation and making calls based on those analysis. The best way to avoid problems like these would be lay out stipulations in the contract that ensures you at least get paid for your time. How much time is allowed to pass before invoicing before the official close of project is up for negotiation, and that can vary by weeks or months.