Rush Jobs Are Rarely Necessary

I have had my fair share of interesting moments with clients over the years. One that particularly stands out was when I was heading on a trip to Spain with some pals one Summer, my fight left at 9pm and I was still in my office in Leigh-on-Sea at 5pm with a client who had barged (barged being the best descriptive word actually after I failed to intercom him into the building) into the office and sat down demanding changes to his website before I left. He’d sent me an email and already got my auto-responder back, panicked that he hadn’t told me he needed something before a 9 day holiday, and came up the office.

What then occurred was what can only be described as pixel pushing hell. On the fly updates, rushed and terrible work, all because he thought he would need something while I was away. What I was doing was based on the back of a print run of leaflets he would be doing in my 9 days holiday, and guess what? I came back 9 days later and the print run hadn’t happened. The graphic design for the print run was not even started by the company tasked to complete it.

A similar thing happened before I went on honeymoon. I was away for three weeks this time. Determined not to let anything spoil the week leading up to our wedding, I took the week off work. The week prior to that, despite warning clients I would be away months in advance, was hell. Again, another website, determined they needed to launch while I would be away, thickly laying on deadlines and emails practically every hour in the week before I went away. I leave for honeymoon safe in the knowledge that yes, I managed to do a good job of covering up the bags under my eyes on my wedding day, but my work was safely completed. Back from honeymoon (September), no website. Merry Christmas all. No website. Happy New Year! Again, no website. It didn’t launch until February of 2011, my honeymoon was in September 2010.

Something along the same lines has cropped up recently as well, and it’s made me decide that the only way to determine whether a rush job is truly necessary is to charge a premium. I would say 80% of projects that have come to me saying they need something urgently, have rarely been truly urgent. They might have been a priority in one department of the business you are dealing with, but inevitably, when the work is complete, it’s reliant on other departments or individuals to do something with it. That rarely tallies up with you wrapping up and them becoming available. So your “rush” work sits in a folder, gathering virtual dust until the relevant person decides to pick up on it, sometimes, many months later.

It does beg a question though, what would you consider a rush job? Something that needs completion in under a month or less? Or even something small that causes you to drop whatever you are doing that day, and pick up on something else? I think it’s about time we became like photography labs, ok – we might not have 1 hour processing, but charging a premium for express services should come far more naturally to our industry than they seem to currently.