What to do when a client is not managing the project and costing you time / money

I’ve been a freelance designer for about 7 years, but more recently have been functioning more as an agency with private project and a few staff….I wanted to get some advice on some issues that keep creeping up for me around clients not adhering to scheduling…..

At the moment, I’m being contracted by a company on a per project basis, let’s call them “The Agency” to do design work for their clients (The Agency does the wire framing) …

The Agency deals with the client and relays design feedback to me (the agency pays me for the work).

The Agency and I agreed to a schedule for both design and client feedback (2-3 days turnaround from client) to try to meet their already very tight deadline.

I’ve met all the design deadlines, however their client is taking over a week to feedback, which they haven’t really managed very well and as a result, will inevitably affect the deadline (it’s gone well over the contingency now).

The problem is : the delay is now bleeding into days that I have booked on other projects. PLUS, I have booked a developer who’s schedule is also being affected.

Ultimately, their lack of adhering to the agreed schedule is affecting two other people’s schedules.

The Agency is now asking me what I can do to meet the deadline.

The only way we could do this is by working into the evenings and weekends, which essentially means they get my free time or hiring another resource to work in tandem with us – obvious this will be an additional cost which I feel they should have to pay for since it was their lack of client management.

Thoughts on how you all handle situations like this?

This has happened a couple of times and I’ve obliged but it’s now affecting my other work and costs which are ultimately down to their lack of management.

Obviously I don’t want to come across as frustrated but I feel like boundaries need to be set.

I have not drawn up a contract or terms with them (which clearly I will have to for future) – so would be happy to be pointed to any resources that show what other agencies term are….

Any other suggestions / experiences you’ve had would be great to hear…..



I actually have exactly these clauses in my contract.

  • Client agrees to review work within X days of submission by Designer.
  • Designer will endeavor to meet all deadlines set; however, if Client
    does not review work in a timely manner, Designer is not responsible
    for missed deadlines.

So IF this client is worth doing the work for, AND IF you think you can physically swing it (because sometimes you can’t without a Time-Turner or a TARDIS), write up a Scope of Work (even if it’s just an email) detailing what you will do, when Agency MUST get feedback to you, and what the rush charges will be.

Depending on the size of the project, the importance of the client, and how hard it will be to get this done, I would charge 150 to 200% of my original billing time (so if you normally charge $1.00 for X, charge them $1.50 to $2.00).

Agency absolutely must pay for their time mismanagement. It is not your fault if they blew a deadline, and you have other clients, and employees, who are being affected by this.

There is nothing wrong with setting these boundaries. You might want to check out the AIGA sample contract if you need language.

Source : Link , Question Author : pixellator , Answer Author : Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum

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