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To bail on a job

(20 Posts)
Gimmeareason Wed 11-Oct-17 20:53:09

I'm a freelancer and normally professional.

One relatively new client gave me a job with a twist. I don't want to give many details in case it's outing, but basically instead of me just cracking on with the job as I normally would, 50% of the work has been done for me by machine generated means. Except its absolutely horrific. The computers work on this is simply unacceptable. The result is it takes even more time than if I were doing it from scratch, because the quality is so so poor.
Because 50% of the work "has been done" for me, my rate is 50% lower.

I made two mistakes here.
The first was not checking how appalling the pre-done work already was.
The second was making a start on it so late in the day.

I began working on it a few days ago but have realised I won't be able to finish it in time.

I'm coming down with something flu like and to make matters worse, I'm supposed to be flying tomorrow afternoon.

I told them I could finish tomorrow (they originally were happy to give me until next wednesday but I offered a shorter deadline because I have holiday planned).

So in a nutshell it looks like the only way im going to be able to finish this is my pulling an all nighter and then travelling whilst also fighting this flu. This feels really unprofessional but I have to be honest and say i dont physically feel up to the task.

On the one hand i feel like a professional failure, a procrastinating flake, and am worried i will lose them as a client (they have liked all my work so far).
On the other hand, I know they have until wednesday to find someone else, and I'm a bit miffed at how heavy going this work is for a much cheaper rate than usual.

WTF do I do??! The job will take 7 more hours.

pandarific Wed 11-Oct-17 21:20:37

I'd suggest emailing them to let them know the machine-made part is unusable and you'l need to re-quote. You're flying tomorrow but are on hols after this, right? Then you can do it on hols? In which case I'd tell them straight as per the above, say that for the new rate you can complete by Friday 9am (or whatever). If they don't want to take you up on it, then they can get someone else, but if not you'll only be one working day late and will have charged the correct amount for it, and you've been reasonable to them, bearing in mind you've committed to doing it.

pandarific Wed 11-Oct-17 21:22:51

If you decide not to do it/don't want to work on hols, a nice touch is always if you suggest a few other freelance contacts who they could try to get it turned around quickly - it's these little details that endear you IMO.

Magicnumbers Wed 11-Oct-17 21:22:59

In my view, I think you would BU to bail out now. You are honest enough to point out your two errors, and I am not clear why you left it so late to check on the computer generated work (not judging, just wondering if it was pressure of other work or something). Either way, you bailing out now would be poor form.

If you're well enough to still travel, you're well enough to get through the work.

I feel for you OP- I found myself in a similar situation and it was not a fun 2 days/nights of work, but on the plus side it taught me a lesson or two.

Sorry, hope that's helpful- hope you are not too ill, and happy holiday flowers

mirime Wed 11-Oct-17 21:27:40

If you're well enough to still travel, you're well enough to get through the work.

I think that's a bit harsh. If someone else is doing the driving etc and you mostly just have to sit there until you get to where you're going you might feel ok for that but not for something more mentally demanding.

RavingRoo Wed 11-Oct-17 21:36:29

This must be a breach of contract. If the machine work is unusuable then tell them you will need to requote. As a contractor you will have a get out clause in your contract - use it if they don’t negotiate.

blueshoes Wed 11-Oct-17 21:40:43

I made two mistakes here. The first was not checking how appalling the pre-done work already was. The second was making a start on it so late in the day.

Erm, in that case, I think you should take it on the chin and chalk this one down to experience. It is just 7 hours of your time compared to potentially losing the client and their work stream. Can you afford that?

If you told the client good and early, you could have worked some alternatives out. But if you leave the client in the lurch at the last minute to go on holiday, that is not going to go down well. Even if they use you again, you will be remembered for being unreliable.

blueshoes Wed 11-Oct-17 21:43:03

If you do continue with the job, you should redress the situation with the client by telling them how awful the computer-generated work is but you will do your best to work with it this time, though you will have re-quote if they give you another job based on that machine.

Gimmeareason Wed 11-Oct-17 21:46:14

Thanks for all your replies guys.

Its not a breach of contract, they sent me a sample of the machine made parts and at a glance I thought "fine".

When i got deeper into it I realised that not only did I have to create the stuff from scratch, I also had to unpick the machine stuff first to do so.

So not only is it doing my standard work anyway, its also extra work on top of that - for 50% less money.

What irritates me most is the use of machine generated parts is designed to make my client more money: they charge the end user the same price, and pay me 50% less. Thats kind of irrelevant though and is just me ranting ;)

The bottom line is i know IABU. Now my choice is:
1) grit teeth and pull allnighter (bearing in mind i also have other shit to do before i go tomorrow so there won't be a chance for a nap either)
2) think life is too short and bail, sending a very informative and reasonable email explaining reasons why and offering to help them find a replacement for me (although tbh i dont know anyone among my peers who would be happy to work on this).

Head is saying knuckle down, heart is saying lifes too short.

Raver84 Wed 11-Oct-17 21:47:06

I think it's a bit late in the day to cancel now, just get the job done and don't make the same error. I think the fall out will cost more than the all nighter in terms of loosing a client and possible damage to your reputation. Unless the job is something very standard like typing docs or something where you can be easily replaced , but this seem quite niche?

Gimmeareason Wed 11-Oct-17 21:47:45

Although its not actually last minute for them since they were happy to let me run with it til wednesday

ilikefastcars Wed 11-Oct-17 21:50:17

If you want to get paid, man up and finish the job.
If you're not happy with what the job is, look closer next time at what you're being asked for before agreeing.

Fattychan123 Wed 11-Oct-17 21:51:41

I think you should do the work and note your lessons learnt.

Very unprofessional if you don't.

Goingslowlymad1 Wed 11-Oct-17 22:24:39

Go back and say you will meet the Wednesday deadline and outsource the remainder??

Leamington99 Wed 11-Oct-17 22:46:40

Tbh I would bail, unravelling the machine stuff sounds like a pain. I would at least let them know that the machine coding(?) isn’t up to the standard of the work you were first shown, and as a result the end quality will be much poorer than anticipated, or it will take you longer.

blueshoes Wed 11-Oct-17 23:22:57

Even if they were prepared for it to run to Wed, will they be able to find a replacement who will do it by Wed? You are already saying your peers won't want to do it and so you are effectively leaving them with no realistic options at the same price. You could have negotiated a higher price earlier. If I was the client, I would not be impressed. It is pretty unprofessional and short term thinking to bail just because you messed up on the pricing.

alovesupreme Thu 12-Oct-17 08:05:02

If it were me I would finish the job as agreed but make it known to them that you wouldn't accept any more jobs of this nature (due to the extra work required to sort out the machine made work).
They may not have had that feedback before and it might benefit you both in the relationship going forward.
Also, is it seamstressing? I'm dying to know what type of work it is grin

5rivers7hills Thu 12-Oct-17 08:27:55

I would say:

“Hi client. Are you available for a phone call to discuss the deliverable? As I’ve progressed the project I am finding that the machine generated work isn’t of a suitable quality to bolt my work onto. It would be good find we can discuss options. I’m free from 8am. Thanks. “

Then you can explain on the phone and give them some options (pay you 2x as much, re do the machine work, pay you normal rate and you do it all, whatever.)

teaandtoast Thu 12-Oct-17 08:36:34

Translating? Doesn't surprise me it's poor quality.

In any case, aren't you helping yourself out of work (eventually) with this sort of job?

Ameliablue Thu 12-Oct-17 08:56:59

At this stage I'd just get on and do it but learn from it.

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