One of my clients had a meltdown today, her website wasn’t working and she had just dropped a 12K piece mailer to her clients last Friday. I spent hours on my cell phone and online (at additional hourly charges) trying to resolve the problem from Michigan. One call consisted of 45 minutes on hold to the host company’s technical support department. They admitted to having had a problem, which was supposedly fixed by the time I spoke to them. Since they were unable to reproduce my problem over the phone, I didn’t actually have one as far as they were concerned. Yet stuff that had worked last Thursday wasn’t working today and I ended up having to implement a work around until I have full resources to troubleshoot at home on Friday.
At this point, I’m seriously thinking about not taking on any more freelance jobs. Recently I’ve come to a full realization that the problem with developing database-driven or otherwise complex websites on a solo basis is that you are forever stuck with technical support and maintenance. To make matters worse, both the client’s business and my reputation is on the line. I totally underbid myself on this job and I know the client isn’t happy (mostly due to factors that were beyond my control). Since I’ve already met the objectives of the current job, I’m reluctant to continue working on this site after I’ve fixed the existing problems, even though the client has talked about some things she’d like to do next. The question is, how do I get out from under this without leaving her high and dry? I’ve thought about trying to line up someone else to work for her because she doesn’t know anyone else. Then again, neither do I.
You need to have contracts for freelance work too- spell out exactly what you will do for a set price. And then work out a contingency plan for further support Sometimes to build a base for freelance work, you have to lose some money. Sad to say.
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