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Handling Multiple Clients

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I was on Facebook earlier and came across a post From Freelance Folder - " How many clients can you comfortably take at a time? Do you ever find yourself taking more clients only to realize later that it wasn't the wisest decision? How do you deal with it?"

 

This is an interesting post - especially for us newcomers and I thought I would share it here (no I have not yet began Freelancing, but this is my long term goal). I actually mentioned this to my Fiance Kim 2 nights ago - wondering how to handle clients and multiple projects when freelancing. I know a "rule of thumb" is to require 25% - 50% up front and remaining prior to launch, but when it comes to multiple projects, how do you handle them?(i.e do you work on a project for a couple of days, then start on another and rotate projects?) I think this is a great post, and I thought I would share it and get the communities feedback on how you handle multiple clients and projects at one time.

 

Brian

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I only take on multiple clients if the goal is to complete similar or projects that in a way are solved in the same fashion. That way you can find key elements that can be the same or very similar in both projects thus focus on creating/coding them. Then you have plenty of time doing the unique touches that are required.

 

I would never take one more than one project if it is apparent that the projects are completely different and have to be solved using seperate methods, as you usually have a deadline and don't want to do a half sloppy job just because you took on projects that might not be that time consuming but still it might take a couple of days to complete one and then you might feel you've cheated the client with the last project being on a time crunch.

 

But I've found out working in a team is always good. That way you can pass something over to the team member. This way if someone hits a gold ore at a time with very profitable projects you provide jobs to a member that might have found themselves in the middle of a dry period.

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A couple summers ago, I had something like 5-6 projects going at the same time. It was a little crazy at times, but it worked out for me since a couple of the clients were slow in sending me their material. So, while I was waiting on a couple, I was able to work on others. And what I basically did was work on one until I got to a stopping point and needed their approval before moving on. While waiting for approval, I'd pick up another. And so on. But my projects weren't heavy - just design and CMS integration. No heavy programming or anything.

 

Now I schedule custom projects for 2-4 week periods and maintenance projects for 1 week periods. I physically add them to my calendar so that when someone contacts me, I can let them know which weeks are open. If I happen to finish early with a project, I'll move someone up on my waiting list and start their project early. Or if I finish early and feel like I need some time between projects to work on my own stuff or whatever, I keep the next client in their time slot. So far, it's working out pretty well. The only thing that trips me up is when my clients are slow in sending their info. I've seen some designers say that if when it's a client's turn they are not ready with all materials, their project will be rescheduled. I need to do something like that instead of being so flexible.

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Good information and thank you for sharing Krillz and Susie. I am only on my 2nd project (pro bono) and I am starting to see how some clients can lack in producing necessary information. I have been waiting about 2-3 weeks for a full list of services and Team pics / bios for the Meet The Team section (2 employees) on my current project. I can see and understand why some designers re schedule them if they delay on submitting required information to complete the job. I have since left the site be for now (except for a couple minor quirks I am trying to figure out) and have began researching my next clients industry to begin my 3rd project.

 

Hopefully more will join this post and share their process as well!

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I'm only freelancing part time, so I try to only work on a max of two, maybe three clients depending on the deadlines. I don't really have any specific tips on handling multiple clients... just stay organized and make sure you don't have overlapping deadlines on multiple projects. I figure out which project I need to work on based on the deadlines and my feel of the client's needs.

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I've run into that same issues. I was just finishing up one project while one was on hold. When I got done, the client still did not have all the raw pictures I needed. Luckily, I was able to go to their shop, and take enough picture to make the site layout. Finaly, when I recieved a picture disc, it only had 10 pictures of the same thing. The site is for an automotive upholstery shop, and I need pictures of past work. I'm still waiting. I just use the time to work on the coding.

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If you are just starting out plan to run with one or two projects at once and gain momentum and you get a better grasp of running the business and the time it takes you to finish certain types of project, as a result of your experience, over time you will be able to gain a better estimate of how many projects you can handle at once.

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Thanks for the feedback Rich. I am still a newbie in my self taught studies. I plan on beginning to learn javascript and jQuery in the next month or so since I currently only have an understanding of the basics of CSS and (X)HTML. I am currently working on pro bono projects to get experience, and am only taking on 1 project at a time. I hope the work continues to be steady like this to gain experience and exposure to the world of Freelancing, and ready myself for when it is time to take on several at a time. Although Brian aka BKMacdaddy had a great article on his experience of not having a safety net http://freelancefolder.com/freelancing-without-a-safety-net/ when he started out - I can not see myself going full time until work becomes steady enough and allows me to do so.

Edited by NuCoder

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LOL

 

Well what I can add to this if not already here (I admit I have not read them all. just skimmed), is that customers always leave you waiting. They want there site done yesterday from you... but giving you content, images or even feedback generally is done on Alaskan time, aka whenever they find the time or get around to it.

 

This can be really trying and boring so multiple clients are good as you can work on one while waiting on another. Aside from that if a project is complicated or just dragging on due to problems, sometimes you need to simply get a way for a while and come back with a fresh look. Multiple clients are good for that too.

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