Contrasting Long and Short Duration Projects
(Page 3 of 3)
Advantages of Shorter Projects
One advantage of shorter-term projects is that they are easier to integrate into a schedule that involves non-freelancing work. This is somewhat the converse of what I said above about being able to really get engrossed in a project. I usually have my own projects to work on—such as writing this Guide—and prefer not to have to stop progress on these undertakings for long periods of time to deal with client tasks.
Shorter projects also increase the variety in freelancing. Some folks—again, present company included—like doing a wider range of tasks rather than a smaller number that last for more time. There’s less chance of getting bored.
There are also some management advantages that partially counteract the extra time spent finding work. Even though you’ll do more bidding, smaller projects require less time to put together bids, as mentioned earlier. The jobs are generally easier to understand, and you don’t need a detailed specifications document for a job that’s going to take you an hour or two. In most cases, you also don’t have to spend as much time asking questions of the client, nor selling him or her on your attractiveness as a freelancer.
Another issue is project estimation and scheduling. The longer a project, the more difficult it is to estimate how long it will take, and the more likely it is that you’ll make a mistake and underestimate in your bid. If you’re working hourly and estimate a job poorly, you may have an unhappy client on your hands when you bill more than you anticipated. If the project is flat rate, it will probably be you who is displeased, as you find yourself working extra hours without earning extra money for them.
Finally, quicker projects also mean less commitment, and less risk. Eventually you will bid a project that turns out to be something you don’t really enjoy doing, or find yourself stuck with a client-from-hell. When it happens, you’ll be much happier if the project is a few hours’ work, not a few weeks’.
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