Every now and then you may come across a client who wants some work completed ASAP. Some may have been let down by another freelancer, others simply underestimate how much time it takes to complete a project.

Whatever the reason, how do you respond to last minute work? Is it a flat out no? Do you try and reason with the client and have the time extended? Do you just begrudgingly complete the work without complaint?

Many freelancers, particularly beginners will take the last option. This often means pushing everything to one side and messing up your schedule. 

Can last minute jobs be useful?

Last minute projects might be a pain. However, taking on these jobs can actually be lucrative.

Are you confident you could complete the work and not harm the rest of your business? It might be worth accepting the inconvenience and charging more to clients who need the work completed outside your normal time frame.

We’re not saying last minute projects are any fun or even to be encouraged on a regular basis, the stress and the rush is probably not sustainable long-term. But if they come up and you know you can make a bit of extra cash why not go for them?

Why charge more?

If charging clients more for last minute work feels a bit uncomfortable, just take a look at other businesses. When buying clothes online you can pay extra to get the item sooner.

The difference is you’re working alone and any last minute project you take on is very likely to eat into your personal time or even delay other projects. Why shouldn’t you be compensated for that? It’s just like overtime in any regular job.

How much to charge?

A set fee might be simpler but that may not cover bigger projects or clients with bigger budgets.

A set percentage of your regular fee is better because it can match the scale of the project and the amount of work you’ll have to do. For example, if you’re doing the work in half the time it’d usually take you, you could charge an extra 50%.

It’s entirely up to you how much you want to charge but think about whether the project will eat into personal time or involve extra expenses on your part. Is it enough to cover this?

Expect to haggle

This is particularly true if you’ve worked with this client before. They might be concerned that the fee is more than usual and demand to know why.

In this case politely explain that it will require extra work on your part to complete the project faster and will take time away from other projects.

They may try and haggle but don’t back down. If they’re reasonable they’ll understand. If you back down, you can expect to have the same problem again and again.


Are you fed up of last minute projects or do you make them worth your time? Please share any thoughts in the comments.


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