Questions about the Schedule
Let's talk a little bit about deadlines. So, often times, you'll find that, and maybe this has happened for you before. One of the main reasons that you decline a job is because you don't have time in your schedule, and sometimes that's not because you're swamped with other professional obligations, it's 'cause it's June and you're about to go on vacation with your family, or, you know, your son is graduting, or, or maybe it's because somebody, and your mom is having surgery and you've committed to help her, whatever. So, I always think it's important to ask about deadlines, because sometimes deadlines can be flexible. In addition to fees, deadlines are also something that you can negotiate. It's the number one reason we decline jobs, 'cause we don't, especially when you get busy in your professional life, 'kay so questions to ask about the schedule. What is it? So, is the client clear what the schedule is, or are they vague? Get them to be clear. Are there rough sketches or preliminar...
y work due? If you're a photographer do they want like, some concepts or, you know, whatever? When are those due? How long do you think each of the project phases will take? Ask the client this. You know, how long does the client think they'll take? And how do those mesh? Like, if the client's expectation is that you finish a certain number of something in a period of time, but that seems like a stretch to you, or that's gonna be super stressful. That's something you need to pay attention to. Do I have time to meet the client's expectations? What else do I have going on during that time? I'm also teaching a class on workflow and time management, and one of the things we're gonna talk about is, you know, surveying everything on your plate at a given time to make sure you're not over committing. If they seem like a stretch, the deadlines that is, can they be adjusted? In many cases, deadlines correspond with launch dates, so they can't be. So this is especially true, like in advertising, or product launches. Thing, these things have been planned months and months in advance, and they're on a very tight schedule so the deadline is the deadline. This is also sometimes true in publishing, but with many clients, it's, they're very arbitrary. Last week I got a, an email from somebody who wanted me to design a mural, and they said, "Oh, you know, we'd like you to do this, "'cause we'd like to paint it in June." And I, there's no way I could have done it in the next month because I have too much going on. So, I put it out there that I couldn't do it because the timeline wasn't gonna work for me, but I would be really excited to work for the client later in the summer, and as it turned out, they needed it done in June, but I've also been in situations where the client has come back and said, "Great, we can push this off. "We're not in a, you know, this is not a must do thing. "We'd love to work with you, so we're gonna work "with your schedule." So the first thing you want to always ask is, is the deadline flexible, especially if you can't work in the deadline, 'kay? They are often arbitrary, they can often be moved. So always fine to ask.