Many small businesses are about to see, or are currently seeing, an influx of project cancellations or reschedules — hopefully, more of the latter (but if a client has cancelled their Project entirely, here’s how to handle that).
In this article, we’ll discuss how best to prepare yourself for rescheduled Projects, how to handle them when they arise, and what happens to files containing payments or contracts when a reschedule occurs.
In this article, we’ll review:
- Best practices to prepare for Project date changes
- Rescheduling Projects from the Pipeline, Project Workspace, or from your COVID-19 Toolkit
Best practices to prepare for Project date changes
There are a few quick steps you can take to make sure your account is set up to manage rescheduled Projects — helping keep you organized and on top of things.
Step 1: Add a stage to your Project Pipeline
Your Project Pipeline exists to keep you organized at a glance; adding a “Rescheduled,” “New Date TBD,” “Paused,” or a similar stage can give you a place house any Projects that might be rescheduled or on hold for the time being.
Once that stage is in place, we recommend, at the very least, moving Projects that are paused or have a TBD date into it. That way, they’re not clogging your active Pipeline stages.
Step 2: Add or review your “Project Rescheduling” email Template
Having some language ready to go before situations arise, in an email Template format, saves you time and energy moving forward — which is especially helpful in already-potentially-stressful situations, like cancellations or reschedules.
We’ve already taken the liberty of adding some suggested language to the email Templates section of your HoneyBook account, addressing few tricky client situations you might encounter, but feel free to add your own as well! Just make sure to reassure your client that you would love to work with them to reschedule for a later date that works best for everyone.
(Don't see those example Templates yet? Make sure you head to our COVID-19 Toolkit and click the plus button next to Client Communication Emails in the COVID-19 Template Assets section).
In particular, check out the Template entitled “COVID-19 Reschedule | HB TEMPLATE.” It contains instructions on how to utilize the Template, as well as some suggested language for client rescheduling. Feel free to take and adjust as much of the language as applies to your business.
Step 3: Make sure your contracts cover reschedules & cancellations
Make sure any contracts you send include a cancellation & rescheduling clause. We recommend getting in touch directly with a lawyer to review the specifics, but you can find some contract guidelines in our recent blog post about preparing your business for the unexpected.
Learn more about creating and editing Contract Templates here.
Rescheduling Projects from the Pipeline, Project Workspace, or from your COVID-19 Toolkit
Rescheduling a Project will keep it in your active Project Pipeline — it's still in the works, you're just giving it a new date (and making any necessary changes that go with that)!
Depending on actions you've previously taken in your Project, the reschedule flow may prompt you to complete a few different steps. For example, if you have upcoming payments associated with the Project, you’ll be able to adjust the dates of the payment schedule if necessary (and thus adjust the payment reminders your clients will receive); if the Project has no upcoming payments associated, we’ll skip that step for you!
To reschedule a Project:
1. First, find the Project you'd like to reschedule. You can find a Project:
- Via the search icon in the top left corner of your Home page
- In your Project Pipeline
- In your COVID-19 Toolkit, if the Project is set to occur in the next few months.
2. Once you locate the Project, start the reschedule process by finding the Reschedule Project option.
- From the Project Pipeline, hover over the Project you'd like to reschedule, and click the Options button.
- From within a Project Workspace, and click the 3-dot icon in the Project Options Toolbar on the right, or click the Reschedule icon in the Details tab.
- From your COVID-19 Toolkit, hover over the Project you'd like to reschedule, and click the Take Action button.
3. Select Reschedule Project.
4. Now, the reschedule flow will walk you through the relevant elements of the Project that need an update. Begin by selecting a new Project date.
HoneyBook Tip: You can add a Project time and a Project end date here, as well! And make sure to double check that the timezone is accurate.
5. Click Next. Depending on actions you've previously taken in your Project, you may be prompted to complete a few different steps.
6. If you've assigned a Workflow to the Project, you'll be prompted to review the remaining steps. Though you won't be able to edit the individual steps or the dates associated with them, you can remove the remainder of the Workflow by clicking the trash can icon. Click Next when you’re ready.
If you'd like to leave the Workflow as-is, just double check the steps and click Next!
7. If you've already sent one or more files with a payment schedule (Invoices or Proposals) that still have upcoming payments, you'll be prompted to review your payment schedules and make any necessary updates.
If you have multiple payment files, check the boxes for any that you’d like to to edit/resend to your client. If you have any Invoices/Proposals that are set up with recurring payments, however, please see the note below.*
Review all payment schedules and make the changes you need, then click Next.
HoneyBook Tip: If you’ve previously expired any payment-related files, you can choose to unexpire them at this time, allowing you to review/edit and resend these to your clients as well.
PLEASE NOTE: If your payment due dates were based on the Project date (e.g. due a week before the Project date, due on the Project date, etc.), these dates will automatically update based on the new Project date you selected. Be sure to review all dates to make sure you're comfortable with the new schedule. If not, adjust the dates.
8. If you've already sent a Contract to a client (via a standalone Contract file or a Proposal), you'll now be prompted to choose how you’d like to proceed: you can update the existing Contract (the original Contract you sent); send a Contract amendment; send an entirely new Contract; or select No changes to contract to proceed without an update.
- Updating the existing Contract will allow you to make changes to the document you originally sent (even if it's already been signed), then resend it to your client. Your client will be prompted to accept the changes to the Contract when it's received.
- A rescheduling amendment is intended to modify specific details of the original signed Contract, while ensuring that the rest of the original Contract is still valid (with the exception of anything stated explicitly in the amendment).
- Sending an entirely new Contract will allow you the flexibility to readjust all language in the original Contract, and will automatically expire the original document.
Once you select which Contract option you'd like, click Next.
9. If you chose to send a new Contract or an amendment, make sure to carefully review the Contract and update the language to reflect your Project changes where necessary. Selecting a new Contract will open your default Contract Template to edit, but you can select another by clicking the Contract Templates dropdown at the top of the file.
Click Continue when you’re ready.
PLEASE NOTE: All businesses, Projects, clients, and situations are different. Please always check with a lawyer to confirm the best procedure for your Contract in the specific situations you encounter.
10. Review or edit the email that will be sent with the file — this would be a great time to include language around the fact that you’re changing the payment schedule and/or Contract to accommodate the rescheduled Project, for example! This email will also automatically pull in the updated Project date, as well as links to any files that have been updated during the reschedule process.
HoneyBook Tip: If your client has already signed or made a payment on the original file, once they receive your email and open the file, they'll be prompted to click Accept Changes in order to proceed.
When the client accepts the changes, you'll receive an email notification, and will also see that the most recent draft is marked as Accepted in the draft drop-down menu within the file itself.
11. Click Send when you’re ready!
Once you've completed all the prompted steps, your Project has been rescheduled! Remember, if a client cancels a Project entirely, here's what you'll want to do instead.
*PLEASE NOTE: If a Project that has recurring payments has been rescheduled or otherwise adjusted, bear in mind that there is not currently a way to edit or pause the payments directly within the file. To prevent future payments from automatically going through, you’ll need to stop payments entirely by expiring the file.
Here’s how to expire a file with a recurring payment. Once expired, your clients will not be charged for any future payments, and will not receive any further payment reminders for that file.
Your client will NOT be automatically notified that you’ve expired the file and that payments have been paused, so we recommend sending your client an email via the Activity Feed to let them know that their future payments are paused for now. Once the Project begins again, you can create a new file with recurring payments.
*Don't see the Rescheduling Amendment in your account yet? Make sure to add it via the HoneyBook COVID-19 Toolkit.
One in the Toolkit, find the COVID-19 Template Assets section. Click the plus button next to Contract Clauses & Amendments.
Then, you'll be able to review (and edit!) your new templates in the Contracts section of your Templates tool.
PLEASE NOTE: All businesses, Projects, clients, and situations are different. Please always check with a lawyer to confirm the best procedure for the specific situations you encounter.
Want to learn more?
- Coronavirus & your business
- What to do when a client cancels
- 18 steps to prepare your business for coronavirus
- Webinar: Experts weigh in on coronavirus & small businesses
- Updating your Contracts to prepare your business for anything
Still have questions? Feel free to send us a message by clicking the Question Mark icon on any HoneyBook page. Our team is always happy to help!