How Does Ad Agency Charge Rush Fees – Don’t Do, No Charge! (Part 3 of 4)

How Does Ad Agency Charge Rush Fees – Don’t Do, No Charge! (Part 3 of 4)

Rush Job - Don't Do?

In part 1, supporting clients who have urgent jobs at the usual price – especially when there is no financial loss – is suggested.

In part 2, offering creative payment terms were recommended.

Here, in part 3, let’s talk about when and if an ad agency should seriously consider dropping a rush job if it jeopardizes existing jobs.

It may surprise you, if you are from the client’s side, that ad agencies would do just that when we have to. I cannot think of a better analogy than “A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.” An industry peer had such a sad encounter.

A while ago, a client notified this agency’s Head that there was an ad hoc project worth $200,000 coming up. As that was an unplanned, un-budgeted project, the incumbent agency was given the first rights to accept or reject. It will be opened to suitable candidates for pitching if the incumbent declined. To any small to medium agency, a $200,000 project is a sweet deal. The catch was the OOH (out-of-home) creative, media and production presentation must be made within 8 days. He had the weekend to consider, and he finally turned down the job on Monday morning.

I understood that he was busy preparing for several Christmas projects (last October) and all his manpower was tied. He didn’t have people to recce the various OOH sites, couldn’t get any independent designer at such short notice to render 3D designs and worse, production houses were simply too busy to discuss unconfirmed jobs. He wasn’t prepared to jeopardize his existing projects by swamping his own team with such a rush job.

“I could end up in a lose-lose situation. There was a penalty clause in one of my Christmas projects.”

I cannot say that it is not a wise decision. We do have a responsibility to deliver a decent job punctually, regardless of whether it is the peak or off-peak season. Still, I couldn’t help wondering if he had truly exhausted his options. I was wondering if he had attempted to fully leverage on friends and contacts within the industry.

Matt Keagon, a professional copywriter, said “for those projects that come my way that aren’t a good fit for me … … therefore I referred this person to someone who I think does.” He generously “share your contact information with someone especially if I cannot take on a project.” That was a excellent giver’s attitude.

Perhaps that agency Head could not do a referral. Perhaps he did not want to do it at all. After all, this is a very competitive industry. Still, I’m sure letting a $200,000 deal slipping out of his hand must be quite a big “ouch”.

When I shared this “ouch” story with my own team, I was queried “What could you have done differently?”

That project needed more than a 3D designer to get the $200,000 proposal done. An entire team from the creative, media and production fields is needed. I would call a few agencies whom I know, and who I trust are in their competent in all the above-mentioned fields. My proposal would be for them to undertake this project together with us, possibly with equal revenue share and even with credits mentioned. Having an “I, Me, Myself” attitude would make life very tiring. Leveraging on a team helps, leveraging on a network helps even more. Together Everybody Achieve Miracles.

“After all, the client won’t know any different. They see the suits (aka account executive) mostly and not us engine room coolies.” That was quipped by our AD.

Yes, that was mostly true, however, not entirely. It would not be ethical to expect the co-operating agency to hand over its works and have our people present it. Even if this co-operating agency is easy going, getting people who weren’t involved in the project to make a presentation will not quite cut it. May the best man win. If I don’t put the best people up, the chances to win the ad hoc project will be marginalized too.

“Aren’t you afraid the co-operating agency “potong jalan” (Malay for “cut queue”) in the future?”

That’ where trust and integrity come into play. If I don’t trust the co-operating agency, I wouldn’t have invited them in the first place. If they abuse my trust, let’s just say that the industry is very small and word spreads like wild fire through the grapevines. That would do them no good. But if the client approaches them directly in future, I’m also fine with it. If they are that good, the client will know eventually. There’s no point for me to conceal. A true gem will not stay hidden for long. We’ll just have to work smarter and harder to keep our client happy or even to win back the account. Change is, after all, a fact of life. I am learning to be stoic about that.

In summary, before an ad agency, a design firm or an independent copywriter/designer turns down a job, consider leveraging. For Mr Client and Ms Client out there, trust that we won’t turn down your project simply because it is a rush job. Many of us live to deliver (That’s the Fedex’s war cry) too.

Read related posts on Rush Fees

[tags]leverage when taking rush jobs[/tags]

3 Replies to “How Does Ad Agency Charge Rush Fees – Don’t Do, No Charge! (Part 3 of 4)”

  1. It’s a good idea to co-operate with another agency to do the job. The creative team (both copy & art) can brainstorm and learn from another team yet not losing the client at the same time.

  2. What about using subcontractors? If the problem occurs often perhaps he could find several reliable subcontractors to offload some of the work to during peak seasons.

    Instead of thinking about it for the weekend, he could have contacted several subcontractors to see if they could do the work.

  3. Hi Solomon
    Leveraging creates higher energy.

    === ===

    Hi Laura

    Getting independents is definitely an option provided that he has already established an understanding of the formers’ work earlier on. This is why I chose to work with independents during off-peak hours so that I know exactly who I can depend on during peak season.

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