Getting busy - how to schedule client projects

Hey Guys !

So lucky to be doing what im doing. I love being a freelance graphic designer, however when i get bombarded with jobs, i tend to blank out and not know how to time manage. i find myself taking on too much work giving an impression that once a client has asked for a logo design and gives me the approval to proceed, i feel like i have to start within that week of them asking so they dont feel im taking too long with the process.

i obviously know there is nothing wrong with “booking them in”, i just dont know how other designers do it or what they say. i have seen other designers on instagram post “book your spot now” or “booked out till march” etc etc.

I dont know any other designer in person. in my area, there aren’t many graphic designers, so i tend to get a lot of jobs through word of mouth. this forum is the best thing to happen to designers like myself lol!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

My standard answer is 10 business days.
Never works out that way, but it’s a good starting point. Gives you a little room to breath.
After that, figuring out how many hours a day you want to work and gauging the amount of time a job will take just comes with experience.

I wish I had a good answer for you. But this is something I struggle with. In theory, you can create a daily schedule, but then real life happens. I’m interested to hear what others do.

I don’t leave things open ended. The quote will state that I won’t begin until I have the signed contract returned to me, along with downpayment (for new clients only, not regulars with an open purchase order), as well as my start date and my date of delivery for the first proof. It is what it is if you can’t start right away, just make sure everything is in writing so the expectations are clear.

If I’m heavily booked and can’t start for at least 4 weeks, I might offer a discounted rate as an incentive for them to wait for me.

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If you have a contract, then timelines should be stipulated in the contract. If you have a contract but no time line in the contract than you should add one.

This not only helps pace your work so you’re not super busy for 2 months, then dead for 2 months etc., it also weeds out (some) of the clients who will always come to you for last minute projects–because they know you’ll do it for them quickly–and some may not want to pay extra for that luxury.

To manage my time and projects I use a physical Kanban board + Calendar (which doubles as a work-back schedule). Honestly, I can’t manage projects any other way. It helps me to visualize where the project is, and gage if I am falling behind on a project or not. That said, workflow/scheduling is different for everyone. It all depends on how you work; proficiency, single, married, OCD, ADD… and so on.

I agree with PrintDriver, it will come with experience. I’m also contemplating getting a tattoo that reads “but then real life happens” :joy:

Remember, you never have to say no to a job, but being busy is always the best excuse to raise your price, which disqualifies certain clients, but attracts others.

It’s certainly not inappropriate to notify a client of their position in your que.
Is also your choice to weave smaller projects in, before, and around larger ones.
I won’t make a simple typesetting wait while I toil away on a menu, booklet, or album.

I also give priority to clients coming back with changes. The sooner I can get the client approved and paid, the better.

Avoid allowing yourself to become backed up because you procrastinated on your first couple orders. If you’re running over your initially quoted time, tell the client immediately, preferably before the day the item was do.

As always, take a deposit before starting any work.

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All my clients come through word of mouth and with both regulars and new clients, I generally have a good idea after briefing what the expectation of deadlines are. If I sense that the project can be pushed back I will negotiate a deadline of 2 weeks or more. If it’s urgent, I’ll either accept the job or decline it.

The good thing about design is that it can be done almost any time of day. Maybe that is a blessing and a curse. I also work as a freelance photographer and that work has to be booked by the hour, especially on location shoots where others have to be present. If I have a photoshoot day, I try and put in a couple hours of graphic design at the start and end of my day just to get through it all.

I keep a week-to-view diary and write a to do list on every day so I can see what tasks I have to complete each day to get everything done. I don’t share these tasks with my clients, they’re smaller tasks that make up bigger projects. Seems to work for me. Now, if I can just figure out how to be a freelancer that doesn’t work every single weekend just to stay on top of it, that would help a lot.

Charge more?

There’s certainly that.

thanks so much for all your comment guys !! much appreciated :slight_smile: i guess i can put a system in place regarding time frames from approvals/ payments, and that would just be a guide… i love the flexibility in what i do, and yess @Buda, i too would love to not work every weekend, but i guess with time ill definitely up my prices, but once my own branding is complete to fit the part

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