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
- Updating rescheduled Projects (with a specific date or a TBD date)
- Managing payments for rescheduled events
- Managing signed contracts for rescheduled events
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. 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 Templates yet? Make sure you head to our COVID-19 Toolkit and click Add to Templates in the Actions 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.
Updating rescheduled Projects
When a reschedule occurs, the first thing you'll need to do is update the Project itself, so the details reflect the latest updates.
To adjust the details of a Project to reflect a new (or TBD) date:
1. Find the Project that requires editing: you can search via the search icon in the top left corner of your Home page, or select the Projects tab to review your full list of Projects.
2. Once in the Project's Workspace, click the Details tab.
3. Find the Project Date field and click to adjust. All details will save automatically upon update. You can:
- Select a new date in the future
- Delete the date entirely (if new date is TBD)
4. (Optional) You can also scroll down in the Details tab to find your Private Details; here, you can add timestamped notes that are only visible to you and your team members—not your clients—to keep track of any other information you need.
5. (Optional) If you’ve added a new Pipeline Stage for Projects in this situation, change the Project's stage to reflect that it’s been rescheduled, paused, or given a TBD date. You can do this by selecting the Stage Dropdown in the right-side toolbar, and choosing the appropriate stage.
Managing payments for rescheduled events
If you’ve already sent an Invoice or a Proposal to a client who proceeds to reschedule, you may need to adjust the payment schedule you’d originally created.
In this section, we’ll review:
- Adjusting payment schedules for Projects with a new date
- Adjusting payment schedules for Projects with a TBD date
- Adjusting Invoices or Proposals with recurring payments
Adjusting payment schedules for Projects with a new date
If your original payment schedule included any dynamic due dates that take the Project date into account (i.e. a midway date, Project date, custom date relevant to Project date, etc.), upcoming payments with these due dates will automatically readjust if you select a new Project date. These new due dates will be visible to your clients the next time they review the payment schedule, with no need for you to resend the file.
That said, we recommend double checking the schedule once you’ve updated the Project date, just to confirm that everything looks correct.
To review or adjust the payment schedule:
1. From your HoneyBook home page, navigate to the Project for which you'll be editing or reviewing a payment schedule.
- You can search for a specific Project via the search icon, or select the Projects tab to review your full list of Projects.
2. Make sure you edit the Project Date in the Details tab first, per the instructions in the section above.
3. Find the Invoice or Proposal you need to review by selecting the Files tab, then clicking to open the file.
4. In the Payment Schedule section, you should see any upcoming payments, which will have automatically adjusted some dates (if any were set to be associated with the Project date). However, if anything looks incorrect, you’ll need to update the dates manually—click the Edit button in the top right corner of your screen to begin updating.
5. You'll see a new menu appear under the file title, indicating you're now working on Version 2 (or any further version) of the file. You can now make any adjustments you need to the file.
- You can also use this Version menu to toggle back to view previous versions of the file, if you ever need them for reference!
6. Now, edit the payment schedule as necessary.
7. Click the Resend [File Type] button in the top right corner of your screen when you're finished editing the file.
8. Review or edit the email that will be sent with the file—this would be a great time to include some language around the fact that you’re changing the payment schedule to accommodate the rescheduled Project—and click Send. This will send the new version of the file to your client.
HoneyBook Tip: If your client has already signed or made a payment on the original file, they'll be prompted to click Accept Changes in the file 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.
Adjusting payment schedules for Projects with a TBD date
If your original schedule included any dynamic due dates that take the Project date into account (i.e. a midway date, Project date, custom date relevant to Project date, etc.), upcoming payments with these due dates will automatically readjust if you remove the Project date—in this case, due dates associated with the Project date will read "TBD."
This will be visible to your clients the next time they review the payment schedule, with no need for you to resend the file. If you have automatic payment reminders turned on, don’t worry: your client should not receive any payment reminders for payments that have a TBD date.
If you’d like to resend the file to your client to make sure they’re aware of the update, you’re welcome to; simply click into the file to open, and click the Resend button at the top.
However, you can also simply send your client an email via the Activity Feed to let them know that their future payments are paused for now, and that when a new date is selected, you can send them an updated payment schedule.
Adjusting Invoices or Proposals with recurring payments
If a Project that has recurring payments has been paused or otherwise adjusted, unfortunately 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.
Managing signed contracts for rescheduled events
If your client had already signed a contract prior to rescheduling, you'll likely want to send a Rescheduling Amendment. This step should apply whether a specific new date has been set, or whether the date is now TBD, and will address the Project changes as well as what's expected to happen with any fees that have already been paid or that are upcoming. To help out, HoneyBook has added a suggested Rescheduling Amendment to your Contract Templates section.*
Remember, if a client cancels a Project entirely, here's what you'll want to do instead.
Sending a rescheduling amendment
A rescheduling amendment is intended to modify the original signed contract in whatever ways are necessary for the specific situation. You will, of course, want to make sure that you specify that the Project has been moved from the old date to the new (or that the date is TBD), and clarify what will happen with fees/retainers that have already been paid or any that are outstanding.
In HoneyBook, sending a rescheduling amendment follows the same steps you would have taken when you sent your original contract. The amendment will simply be sent as a new contract file.
To send, simply select the appropriate Rescheduling Template when creating your new file (you can use HoneyBook's suggested Template*, or create your own), and update the relevant Project information. You can also start from blank and copy/paste your new language into the text editor before sending.
Since the newly-sent amendment should cover all the Project changes, you should not need to edit, delete, or expire the original contract.
*Don't see the Rescheduling Amendment in your account yet? Make sure to add it via the HoneyBook COVID-19 Toolkit. Here's how:
1. From your HoneyBook home page, select COVID-19 Toolkit from the top navigation bar.
2. In the Actions section, you'll see the option to add Contract Protection Clauses. Click Add to Templates.
3. Head back to your Contract Templates section. You can find the new Templates by clicking the file drawer tab on the left side of the screen.
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!