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Rush Charges

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Max Kaiser
Rush Charges
on May 27, 2008 at 10:04:16 pm

Hi guys,

I've searched for this topic and haven't found, so please redirect me if necessary.

How do y'all account for rush projects. You know: I MUST have this tommorrow. And, you can do it, but you've got to push everything else to the side.

I just have a really hard time with this because:

Sometimes a rush means in two weeks instead of four - not tomorrow.
Sometimes a rush is only for a small part of a project, but it still throws you.
And a host of other reasons which make it a lot more complicated than just: rush? double charge!


Max Kaiser
Hand Crank Films

Various Intel, and Power PC
OS 10.4

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Eric Berna
Re: Rush Charges
on May 28, 2008 at 12:25:39 pm

First, I consider all my customers. I don't rush a project if it will cause problems with other customers.

Usually rushing a project causes me to reschedule my workload, and to keep all my projects on schedule, I may have to work overtime. I charge extra for rush projects to make those projects pay for the overtime, even if the rush work isn't done during overtime hours. If it's a reasonable rush, say accelerating my work by two hours to meet a FedEx pickup time, and I can get all the other work done that day by staying an hour or two late, then I'd charge one and a half times my normal rate for the work to be rushed. If say I only rushed 2 hours of work on an 80 hour project, I'd only bill those two hours at the rush rate.

If the rush is rather unreasonable, say the customer wants a 4 week project done in 2, and I had to work extra hours each day, and all weekend to get the work done, I'd charge double time for the whole project.

Other considerations may also come into play. I may be trying to compete with other companies in my area, so I may be willing to do that 4 week job in 2 weeks at the regular rate. Or, instead of doing the 4 week job in 2 weeks, the customer and I agree to cut lots of corners, and make the 4 week job a 2 week job done in 2 weeks. Then I should just charge the regular rate.

Or maybe I'm willing to risk losing the customer, and just answer that the 4 week project will take 4 weeks.

Eric Berna

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Mark Suszko
Re: Rush Charges
on May 28, 2008 at 8:03:45 pm

Old sign in the shop:

"Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on MY part".

In an in-house situation you pretty much have to just take what they give you and hopefully you have some union rules that cover overtime and working thru holidays or vacations.

You have somewhat more flexibility when you work for yourself. If you know your rates, you don't have to guess, just decide what the hours are at the higher rate. This is another reason not to bill a job on a fixed, all-encompassing total amount, but on an hourly basis. If you bid it fixed-price and they then set you up with some change that means you have to work all thru the night to get it delivered on time, you just lost a whole lot of money.

If you have even a slight suspiction that a client may be looking at overtime or rush hours, it is your duty to tell them the rates up front as well as what your criteria are for applying the overages. Should be in the first conversation about costs that comes up when bidding the work. Telling them afterwards always leads to bad feelings and conflict. They may even refuse to pay the higher rate. Get that information out up-front, save a lot of drama later.

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