Hey there, Lucky Bees! Today I’m answering a question I’ve heard a few times in my Money Bootcamp.
Should you charge a premium rate for rush jobs or last minute requests?
(And if so, what’s the best way to do it?)
Of course you want to serve your client’s needs as best you can. But at the same time, you don’t want to create unnecessary stress for yourself, or feel like they’re taking advantage of you.
So, how do you respond to clients who want extra-fast turnaround?
Well, this is a great opportunity to do one of two things. Either you can practice setting strong boundaries, or potentially create a whole new lucrative offering for your business.
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When I talk about “rush job” clients, you know who I mean, right? They’re the ones who tell you that they know you have a ten-day turnaround on graphic design, but they REALLY need this logo back by Thursday!
Or they beg for a same-day coaching appointment because they REALLY need your help TODAY.
Or maybe your hand-made baby blankets usually take four weeks to create, but they need one for a baby shower next weekend. PLEASEEEEEE?!
So how do you deal with these kinds of requests in a classy way?
Trust me, this will totally happen in your business, if it hasn’t already. The good news is that you can absolutely turn it into a win for both you and your clients if you deal with it properly.
Here are a few things to consider before you respond.
Check your schedule
Do you really have the capacity for their job?
Start by checking your calendar to see whether you can realistically say yes. If you’re already booked solid (whether it’s with client work, or time you’ve blocked out for personal activities), the answer’s easy.
No matter how much your rush job will pay, it’s not worth jeopardizing existing client deadlines or work quality. Nor is it worth having to flake on family or friends at the last minute and create unnecessary stress for yourself.
Be honest with yourself about whether you can actually meet the deadline before you commit.
Think about your work style
Does rush work fit your personality?
Not everyone enjoys doing rush jobs. Especially for introverts, intense deadline pressure can turn an otherwise fun project into a massive stress-out session.
So if you know that you prefer to take your time (or that you need plenty of space between client appointments), it’s totally OK to say no. Yep, even if the client in question can’t find anyone else to help them!
You know that quote, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine?” You may want to print that out and stick it on your wall somewhere to remind you that it’s OK to refuse!
BUT. If you love the adrenaline of a fast-approaching deadline, you can totally make rush jobs a part of your business. Just charge your clients accordingly!
Which brings me to…
Choose a rate that feels good
What would be a fair exchange for the job?
Finally, if you have the time and want to say yes, ask yourself what kind of payment would feel good to you.
Some entrepreneurs add on a certain percentage (anything from 10-50%) to their standard rate for rush work. Others simply have one price for their standard time-frames, and another for a faster turnaround.
Either way, it’s totally okay to charge your client extra for instant gratification.
Case in point: I had a health practitioner who was always booked out months in advance, which frustrated me. When I told her that I’d pay a premium to be able to see her sooner, she said, “…but nobody would pay that!”
I was like, “Um, hello!?! I just told you that I would. Please take my money!”
Charging a premium rate can feel scary, but it’s standard in almost every industry. The key is to identify a number that gives your client what they need AND feels good for you too.
If you’re not sure what rate would work best for you, check out my free pricing workshop at the end of this post.
4 tips for stress-free responses to rush job requests
Want to ensure that your clients don’t freak out when you tell them they’ll need to pay a fast-turnaround premium? Here are four tips to make the potentially awkward conversation go more smoothly.
- Get organized now. You’re more likely to end up regretting a decision that you make under pressure, so start thinking about your preferences now. Don’t wait until someone actually asks you for a rush job. Getting organized includes setting up any systems you need to ensure you get all the information for a job ahead of time. That way, you don’t end up stressing out at 3am with an urgent request that’s unclear.
- Get your legal ducks in a row. You already have crystal clear contracts and terms and conditions for your business, right? (If not, make that a priority, stat!) Make sure you include your standard and “rush job” turnaround times – and the prices for both options – in each of those documents. Specify exactly what’s included and what’s not in each of your services too. That way, you set clear expectations up front and minimize the chance of “scope creep.”
- Re-frame a “rush job” into “Premium Service.” Don’t make your clients wrong for wanting quick results! Rush jobs are a great opportunity to serve people who want instant gratification; or who have more money than time (like me!). So instead of berating your client for “being disorganized,” or framing your premium as a penalty fee, make it something positive. Call it a “VIP rate,” or a chance for them to “skip the queue.” If you work in an industry where rush jobs are the norm, consider blocking time in your schedule in advance to accommodate inevitable last-minute requests.
- Expect payment up front! I’ve heard stories of entrepreneurs who pulled out all the stops to deliver quickly, and then didn’t get paid. One client wanted rush help with a grant application, but then she didn’t submit it on time. She missed the deadline, missed out on the grant, and didn’t want to pay… even though the writer had shifted time and space to get her part of the work done.
As always: your business, your rules!
It’s totally up to you whether you want to add a “rush job” to your services, or not. Whichever option you choose, be intentional about it, and don’t be afraid to charge a premium rate.
Do you need help to figure out your pricing?
If you’re not sure how to set your rush-job rates (or your standard prices, for that matter), I have a totally free pricing workshop that will help. It includes pricing strategies, word-for-word scripts and ninja tips on how to set and increase your prices… all without losing your clients or feeling like a bitch.
Sign up for it at LuckyBitch.com/Pricing
Miss last week’s post? Read it here: Five Childhood Money Messages that Can Keep You Broke