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How to handle clients not getting assets in time or changing timeline last minute?


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Sharon Hayes
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Apologies if this isn't in the right section!

Background: we're a digital marketing agency where we work primarily on branding, website design, funnels and Facebook ads.

We deal with clients both on a retainer basis as well as a project basis. When it comes to retainer work, most of it is very short notice and it's rarely over a few hours of work. So this can easily be fit in around larger projects. Although retainer work accounts for a small part of our direct profits, it ensures our team is fully utilized.

Our retainer agreements list hourly rates and normal procedures for submitting work requests. We also specify that anything under an hour of work is usually done within 48 hours and over that, it may be scheduled. There is also a provision for faster service at rush rates.

Since scope and deliverables are known with projects, we lay out project start dates, completion dates, when we need assets by and expected turnaround time for approvals/revisions by clients in order to meet deadlines. We also have provisions for changes in start date or delays. We do make use of change orders as needed on projects.

The problem we've run into is that we have several clients who are retainer-based who also use us for larger projects with some issues. They will clear dates with us, confirm pricing but then they don't get what we need in order to start the work. It becomes more of an issue when we have 50+ man hours allocated to a project and they don't tell us until the day we're expecting assets. Before this wasn't a big issue for us but we're having it happen often enough we're dealing with about 200 allocated hours a month not actually happening when they should be with half of them not happening at all.

I've looked through the templates here and didn't see anything that would fit situations like this. I'd guess adapting the Scope of Work document with terms added is the closest thing. But I'm not sure what to call this document and what we should be putting in terms. I did speak with our lawyer about this and he said he would need guidelines from us in order to give us the proper wording for terms - so that didn't help!

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