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How to get rid of tedious jobs

boring, nitpicking

     
3:53 am on Sep 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As a web designer, I'd rather build websites. But I have some graphic design projects that really annoy me. Tedious ones.

For instance, I have a great client, but he has this chart that he keeps changing. The chart contains different icons to explain a certain plan of some sort (I can't be specific).

This is the third set of changes to it (in a month or so) and it is becoming a bit annoying. I never seem to get it right the first time. In other words, get it the way he has it displayed in his head. Despite our phone conversations and his hand-drawn examples, there are still tedious revisions and things he "nitpickingly" changes after looking at it for a while.

I didn't go into web design to update graphical charts. I don't have to do this and this should be best handled by another graphic designer. I'm obviously getting paid for it, each time he changes it, but I'd rather not do it at all - screw the extra bucks for the work.

How do I explain this without offending the client? My first guess is: to be straight forward and blunt (this is the way I am) but this may not work for him. Let me know your thoughts.

4:54 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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At times I have the same issues - only with server scripting. Once client always keeps changing small, *very* annoying things. I'm going to suggest something that you may not want to hear - Just keep the business.

Save the extra money.

5:38 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>> How do I explain this without offending the client?

Be honest, genuine and quick. The longer you wait the more you resentment the changes. Nip it now.

5:55 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You don't want to service your client?

Do the work without whining, outsource the work, or give up the account altogether.

10:00 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have a great client,.....

Hold that thought dear, especially if the client represents a nice slice of steady income.

.....and it reads as though you're getting paid for the extras without a problem. Most dimwits with tedious changes just assume that "it's nothing" and want them free or cheap.

I would just give it a graphics specialist. That's what they are for. No more hands-on hassle for you; simply delegating a task. Surely you delegate other aspects of the business. He gets what he wants.....everybody is happy.

10:15 pm on Sept 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Delegation sounds pretty right. I just have to find someone willing to do it.
1:26 pm on Sept 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I feel your pain.

given three choices: 1) quit, 2) delegate, or 3) just do it and stop whining... delegate is the win-win choice

2:05 am on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thats because a lot of non technical people think all your doing is pressing a couple of buttons to make changes.

Its one thing when you are not getting paid but sounds like your are.

A few recommendations:

If your fee covers the cost, then have the work farmed out.

That way you can keep the relationship with the customer and maybe some of the revenue.

You could create a separate user testing environment where the changes are shown to the customer to digest for a couple of days prior to releasing it into production.

You dictate the number of days before you put the changes into production.

You still are doing the work but at least you give the customer a chance to see the product and think about it after its developed.

2:12 am on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Alternatively, get a coder to build something in Flash or Javascript to allow him to modify his own chart. There are components and libraries for both which would likely make this a reasonably fast task.
2:48 am on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Alternatively, get a coder to build something in Flash or Javascript to allow him to modify his own chart.

Not me. I might not want (or be qualified) to do all of his work - but I want it all under my direction, in my shop. Get a graphics person. This, or similar, will come up again. Good to have somebody on tap.

No different that buying and using any of your software tools, or applications that have been built by others but used for clients. If you don't have quite the right code on hand you handle it. No different.

I just have to find someone willing to do it.

This is an opportunity. Hook up a good relationship. I have a guy in Croatia that does some special work for me. 75% of the time he is too busy or the project is not interesting enough. Money won't buy him. He has to like the project. Terrific work and I get him once or twice a year for the last six years. The relationship is solid - I could beg if needed. LOL There is always somebody else available though.

3:55 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think I have an outsource. But for this next story I'm about to share, will my outsource really take it:

Update: Here's another client. The work has become very un-interesting; I'm getting paid, but at a third of my hourly rate. Even if I got paid my usual rate, I still wouldn't want to do these tedious updates.

The reason why I'm being paid a third of my hourly rate is because I started out as his employee. We agreed to a price that worked for him and reasonable to me in an employee environment. This part-time job became steady sub-income along side my, already, freelance business. Then my car broke down and I couldn't make it to work. We had to finish our project by phone. Car never got fixed and I donated it to charity. I later explained that now that I was not working in his office and not using his equipment (and that now, I was using mine), that he would have to go with my usual rate. I explained this after we finished our current projects at the original rate. Of course he didn't want to go with that, so I just did more work with him at a third of the cost. The work is now tedious maintenance work, boring and uncreative. What would you do in this situation?

4:01 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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At the time, I just continued doing work at the rate because it was still extra money, but its now become something not of interest to me anymore; and the money isn't worth the updates.
4:18 pm on Sept 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I explained this after we finished our current projects at the original rate. Of course he didn't want to go with that, so I just did more work with him at a third of the cost. The work is now tedious maintenance work, boring and uncreative. What would you do in this situation?

You reasonably raised your rates. The client declined. Bye.

The break should be clean and complete; no caving in on your part if he comes back with a counteroffer that may tempt, but that clearly won't be satisfactory. You won't be any happier doing the work, even for more money. 1/3 your rate. Nice deal that does not account for changed circumstances. Even if raised to your full rate, if you wouldn't be happy don't take it.

You should have cut him loose immediately when he called your bluff on the increased price - which is all it is unless following through. He is still paying 1/3 for full service. You are still unhappy. It's on you. Things don't change unless you change them.

12:45 pm on Sept 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Agree with D_Blackwell - say bye.
(In of course, the politest and nicest terms - never any reason to burn bridges, even if the thought of laughing and dancing while the flames go up makes you smile :))
12:43 pm on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Well, I let the client go. I'm free to do other things now. Thank you all for your comments.
5:04 pm on Oct 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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closure is sweet.
did they take it well?