Projects usually start out fantastic, the communication is there, the project feedback is there, deadlines are being hit on your end and the client is keeping pace with the schedule — then it happens, the client goes MIA.
You email, you call, you text, you wait, rinse and repeat and nothing. Projects just can’t get done when there’s a communication breakdown — it’s impossible. We get it, things happen, other pressing projects or priorities come up maybe it’s a family issue but… those however, aren’t excuses to drop off the face of the earth. A quick email or text that takes 30 seconds maybe a minute to craft and send off with a heads up does wonders and keeps your design firm in the know.
This happens here at Effusion a couple times a year where a client will literally go dark and ghost all your communication attempts. As a design firm it can be frustrating and it can wreak havoc on your project schedule and timeline and overall client schedule as a whole. Think about it, what happens when the MIA client comes back out of the blue 6 months to a year later stating “we’re ready to pickup where we left off”. That long hiatus can really throw a wrench into the inner workings of your scheduling and in the end cost more to produce that project in the end.
To help offset those situations, what we’ve done within our initial design proposals is state that all projects paid-in-full upfront must be completed within a 3 month window. This gives the client a clear time-frame to complete the project. We can finish projects in 4-6 weeks usually so a 12 week window has additional buffer for the client and also produces a light at the end of the tunnel for the project from the get go.
We also state that regardless of project delay ie. waiting for client-dependent material, review feedback and/or client directive etc — the payment schedule will continue as indicated by milestone/time-frame payment dates specified on your first receipt. Just because a client goes missing doesn’t mean the payment schedule should.
If the project remains idle for 2 months, payment in full is required. Again this provides a clear time-frame for the client to stay on course.
The 3 Month Hiatus
In the event a project is idle for up to 3 months, Effusion reserves the right to cancel the project entirely and it will be considered a closed project or at the client’s discretion a 35% reengagement fee of the original project cost can be paid to Effusion to commence work again. Reengagement fees account for the additional reorganizing of our schedule and manpower to move from our active projects back onto the client’s previously idle project.
Why These Terms Are Important
That last part is especially important, if they go dark for 3 months we can either cancel the project where it stands or with an added fee in play we can pick up where we left off. This clause helps to incentivize the project to stay on course and finish within the original specified timeline.
Does this always work, nope, we still have clients disappear on us, but at least now we have options and to be honest the ghosting thing happens a lot less with these project terms in place. It all boils down to communication, if that is maintained from the start, a project typically goes off without a hitch.