I’ve commented before that I want to go with weekly pricing, but I just didn’t have all the answers. Like what if a client has an emergency and I need to deal with a crashed server? What if it’s a 5 hour project?
Well in episode 15 of Unfinished Business they actually answer my questions. In short, sell a part week and leave Friday to deal with emergencies or use it to make up the time from the mid-week emergencies.
The big time suck from juggling multiple clients is context switching. Start the day doing code for one project, then end it on another project. Matthew Lang has a great story about it literally costing 30 minutes:
Already today I have wasted 30 minutes looking at the wrong code base due to my brain not registering the task switch that happened 30 minutes ago.
Eric also talks about the cost of context switching on projects. For him, it’s switching between personal projects and his clients. He went with a 1 week client/3 week personal schedule.
I know that context switching meant I basically wrote off the last hour of yesterday. I finished a bunch of design work for a client and then was left needing to spin up a major development project. Of course since it’s been a few days, I’m not even sure what I can work on in 1 hour. 30 minutes were spent just looking through the list to find something that I could do, then get myself in to the bit of code I needed.
There was probably only about 10 minutes of real work done, and it seems like poor stewardship to charge clients for all the time when only 10 minutes was useful.
So my goal this year is to be on weekly pricing (and a post later about why I think that it’s in a client’s best interest) and be able to devote 1 week in 4 to personal projects.