Nothing, and no one, is ever perfect. Whether it’s a interpersonal, technical or financial it’s commonplace during project development that something will go wrong. As we’ve discussed in previous entries in this series, proper planning and open channels of communication will go a long way to ensuring the highest chance of success. So, what happens when it doesn’t?
When is enough, enough?
As a freelancer and a seasoned professional I’ve found that it’s rare for a contract to end on the employer end. In all of my years I can count on one hand how many times an employer has terminated a contract with me, but I would need both hands and toes to count how many times I’ve cancelled a project myself. The number one reason this tends to happen because of scope creep.
Therefore, it’s important to ask yourself what’s going on to cause friction between you and your designer. Are they meeting their deadlines? Keeping open communication with you? If not, why? Are you constantly adding additional features or changes during development? Be honest with yourself, or ask your employee to be honest with you. You may be surprised!
However, if you have followed all of the steps along the way, it may be time to cut the cord and find another professional to handle your project.
According to my Contract
Having followed this series article by article you should have established a contract as suggested in the Always Get it In Writing section. Take advantage of it and get on with your life!
If the designer has provided work in conjunction with the timeline you established, then you should be required to pay no more than what they’ve accomplished. It is my opinion that you should request all materials they’ve created be delivered to you before you release funds. This ensures that you will receive all of your materials quickly, allowing you to move on to your next project.
What if I didn’t get a Contract?
This is a bit stickier. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to trust a freelancer to live up the levels of morality as you. Unfortunately, people are fallible and that leaves you open to a world of hurt. Without a signed contract with terms agreed upon, it is likely that you can be left in the lurch with nothing to show for it but a hole in your bank account.
In this situation, I suggest getting as many materials from the designer as possible for releasing them. Once you do, I highly suggest (and this goes for if you have a contract as well) that you make sure to change every password they may have of yours, and remove them from any administrative accounts. It’s better to be safe than sorry, because it can be incredibly easy for someone with access to throw things into chaos that will result in more money leaving your wallet.
Onto the Next One
Regardless of whether you had a contract or not, you should have learned a good deal from the experience. Consider where you might have failed, and where the designer failed, and use that to forge an even stronger bond with your next employee.