To be honest, in more than 12 years running my own firm, I've only fired two clients. Both because I misjudged their values before taking on the work, and then discovered they required things of me that I would not do.
But recently several of my marketing friends have expressed frustration with clients who are good folks, but are in a mode where the final reviwe drafts are drawing corrections daily, when after the second draft approval seemed to be one or two changes away. And what should have been a three-month job has turned into nine-plus months. The consultants have lost money on the work, and continue to bleed money weekly due to lost billable hours as the job was bid on a project basis.
So what to do? I suspect most of us have been in that place. In trying to be fair, we bid the job honestly based on the client information. Perhaps we have even worked for the client before and had a great experience. But for the reasons like the following, the project is dragging on:
1. The designated contact for approval has been replaced by their boss, and now we are stuck making changes to changes.
2. The client's budget has changed and so specs have changed, requiring us to go out for new bids on such things as printing or telemarketing.
3. The client loves the work and loves the writing and loves the messaging but finds a word or two on every correction round that just doesn't seem right.
4. And a variety of other reasons that are making the job drag on and on, with you stuck on your original estimate.
So what to do? Is the firm at fault for submitting a bid without overrun clauses? Should the contract contain clauses describing when hourly charges kick in? Should we keep our lips pursed and just make the client happy, all the while bleeding money?
This is a great time to both share your horror stories and your solutions. We can all learn something, and that's what blogging is all about. And if you are someone who outsources work to folks like us consultants, your input is incredibly valuable. Help us out here and share!
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