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What You Really Must Know Before You Accept a Freelance Rush Job

by Laura Spencer

on July 2, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Marketing

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer – Free Test Drive

Are you in a hurry today?

Chances are good that you answered “yes” to that question. We live in a frantic, hurried culture where speed is prized and today’s gig is due yesterday.

It’s no different for freelancers.

For a freelancer, the hurry-up culture often translates to a special category of work known as rush work.

Rush work is work done in less than your normal turn-around time. Often rush work is due the same day or the next day.

The decision whether or not to accept rush work is an individual one, but many freelancers do choose to accept rush assignments.

In this post, I explain exactly what you need to know about rush work. If you like this post, you may also like 9 Factors that Add Value to Your Freelancing Services.

3 Reasons Why Freelancers like Rush Work

Is rush work good or bad? The jury’s still out on that, but a lot of freelancers do choose to take on rush assignments.

There are a lot of reasons that freelancers accept rush work. Here are three of the most common:

  1. Earn more money. If a client is asking you to turn a project around in a very short time, most freelancers apply an extra rush charge. This is the freelancer’s equivalent of overtime. Most of the time it’s completely justified. Accepting rush work usually means you’ll be working nights and weekends.
  2. Start right away. If you’re between projects, accepting a rush job means that you can start work almost immediately. And the faster you can get started, the more quickly you will get paid. Freelancers who are experiencing a famine period are especially tempted by rush work.
  3. Help a client out. There are other times when you want to accept a rush project out of loyalty to an existing client. If you have a longstanding and positive relationship with a client, you will probably be more than happy to help that client out when they need something done in a hurry.

However rosy rush work may seem, it’s not without a downside.

2 Reasons Why Freelancers Don’t Like Rush Work

While some freelancers readily accept rush work, there are many who don’t like it and a few who won’t accept it.

Here are some of the problems freelancers experience with rush work:

  1. Added pressure. Freelancers are already under a lot of stress. They have to deal with multiple clients, schedule project work, answer questions from prospects, and handle of the bookkeeping and administrative tasks. It’s a lot to get done. Accepting a rush job just adds to a freelancer’s existing pressure.
  2. More likely to make mistakes. A freelancer who is in a hurry and under pressure is less likely to do his or her best work. And making a mistake on a project can lead to an unhappy client, which in turn can add to the freelancer’s stress level. It can become a vicious cycle…

4 Rush Work Must-Dos

If you do decide to accept rush work, there are few things you must be careful about. You should follow the same process you would follow for an ordinary project. You may be tempted to skip a few vital project steps for a rush job, but don’t do it.

For rush jobs, make sure that you always:

  1. Get a complete description of the work to be done. It’s doubly important to get a detailed description of the work required if you are accepting rush job. If you don’t, you may find yourself with a never-ending project.
  2. Get a written agreement stating the scope of the project. A written agreement is especially important in cases of rush work. It should include all of the project details including the due date and rush fee.
  3. Collect a partial down payment on the project fees. This is important for most projects. It’s especially important if you are working with a new client.
  4. Double-check your work before turning it in. Because you are in a hurry, you may be tempted to skip this step. However, remember that mistakes mean rework.

Your Turn

Do you accept rush work? Why, or why not?

What rush work tips can you add?

Share your tips and stories in the comments below.

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer – Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Lauraâ??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.