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Special Concerns with Short-Duration Rush Projects
You need to be especially careful with very short-duration rush projects: those measured not in weeks or days, but hours. These can be very lucrative and have serious “hero potential” for helping a client out of a bad spot, but they can also quickly become nightmares.
Of major concern here is timing and communication. The fewer the hours of time between the start of the project and the deadline, the more important it is that the client and contractor be able to interact quickly. Unfortunately, clients sometimes don’t take this into account, and the results can be very frustrating.
One time, I took on what seemed like a fairly simple project for a client who posted a project at around 6 pm my time, and needed the work done by 7 am for a meeting. I started the work but at around 7 pm encountered a problem and needed some advice. Sent a message and got no response. Hours passed by and I heard nothing. Eventually it started getting late and my ability to work diminished. I had to actually go to bed and get up at 5 am to finish the work because he didn’t reply until only a couple of hours before that hour. I was not a happy camper.
Another issue is that with “very” rush jobs, there’s more potential to jump in with a fast bid and make mistakes. On another occasion I found myself having to stay up hours past my normal bedtime because I bid a job thinking it would take two hours to do and it actually took more than four.
Another real irritation is the “hurry up and wait” sort of client. This is the one who posts a project at 1 pm saying he desperately needs the work by 6 pm. He replies quickly to questions and accepts your bid at 1:30 pm—and then disappears all afternoon without funding escrow for the project, only to resurface at 5 pm and ask if the job is done.
Of course, there isn’t much you can really do about these issues in advance: there’s no way to know if a client falls into one of these categories based just on a project listing. But the potential for these issues is just one more risk you need to mull over before jumping into a rush job.
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Last Site Update: February 1, 2012
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