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Cancelled sessions

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Can anyone help? I received a call from a training company cancelling all four training sessions that I was booked to deliver; the first of which was the next day. As the dates were firm in my diary I actually had to turn work away on the basis that I was already booked out. The reason given: the local College had not made the appropriate creche arrangements which meant the mothers couldn't attend. I'm obviously irritated at the loss of income; the company is really sorry and wish to reschedule in September(which I've agreed to). Any thoughts on the matter? I'm new at freelance. Thanks.

7 Responses

  1. With hindsight ……
    Hi Valerie

    So sorry to hear about this – it is so frustrating isn’t it?

    As to what you can do, it would depend on what sort of contract you had with the company. Most training providers will offer a contract to their freelancers that stipulates cancellation fees. These are usually on a sliding scale depending on how much notice of cancellation is given. For example, more than 10 days 0%, 5-10 days 50% and less than 5 days 100% of the agreed fee.

    It sounds as though this was a word of mouth agreement, and you may find it difficult to get money out of them. For the work you have agreed to do in September I would suggest you put in writing what you expect by way of notice of cancellation, stating your cancellation charges – and get them to acknowledge this. It does focus the minds of organisations that they will still be forking out if they cancel and should go some way to stopping the disorganisation that has caused them to cancel this time. A training company should know this, naturally so I am surprised they have not given you a formal contract for services for this job.

    How much you want to push it on this occasion would depend on how much you value them as a client. You could phone and speak to whoever engaged you and say that one day’s notice is not enough for you to find work elsewhere, so you expect them to honour your fee for that day at least – see what the reaction is. If you are business like and explain that this is how things are for freelancers at least they shouldn’t take umbrage and you can maintain the relationship.

    If you want to discuss further, my details are on my profile.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes?

    Jenny James

  2. Payment Up Front
    Hi Valerie

    I’d agree with Jenny’s advice and also add another point to consider. That is, that you either ask for a 50% payment on agreement of the dates and 50% on or before the date of the courses or you offer a discount for payment up front. I have found both these strategies to be helpful, along with Jenny’s suggestion of clear cancellation terms in writing when the work is contracted.

    Hope the September dates come off and this could be a good opportunity to clarify your terms and conditions for this contract and all future ones.

    Hope this helps.

    Annie

    Breathing Space Therapies & Breathing Space for Business
    0772 581 8884
    [email protected]
    http://www.breathingspaceforbusiness.com

  3. Cancellations
    Hi Valerie

    Yes, I got caught with this happening to me too once, but I was quick to learn. I provide anyone I work for be it direct clients or a college with my terms of business right at the start. Depending on who the client is my terms do vary, but they always include cancellation fees. I run some open workshops and always request payment at time of booking for these. With bespoke training and coaching I ask either for payment up front at time of booking or if it is a long term project I agree set payment dates. I also provide the client with cancellation rights if I have to cancel etc.

    I am so glad I did this. Last year I had an ongoing contract to deliver training to a recruitment company which was worth £2000 per month. They went bust and changed ownership. My contract ended and whilst they didn’t owe me for anything outstanding, I was able to claim through the Administrators against my cancellation fees. Word of warning though. The Administrators wanted evidence that the company had agreed to my terms, so I now provide all clients with a booking form which carries full details of my terms and conditions including cancellation details and ask them to print off, sign and return to me. BTW I shall probably only get 5p in the £ as a creditor!!!!!!

    Hope this helps you.

    Best wishes
    Nicky Cooksley

    http://www.trainingoracle.co.uk

  4. contracts, contracts, contracts…
    I agree with the others here..
    always have a cancellation clause in your contract,

    also always have a penalty payment for late payment of invoices – put it on your T&Cs and on each invoice – be bold…

  5. Cancelled courses
    Hi Valerie
    Really sorry they did that – it’s not easy starting out as a freelancer and getting your ‘foot in the door’ with training companies (been there, and still there! for Associate work). Whilst I would agree with the comments already made about cancellation clauses and ‘standing your ground’, the truth is that you also need to be seen as flexible when you are trying to keep ‘the foot in the door’, especially when there are so many other trainers around who could be hired (at very cheap rates by all accounts).

    I would certainly have a quiet word with the company assertively to get across the lost business, and secure agreement to warn you upfront if there is a likelihood that dates are at risk of not going ahead. I would also keep checking with them every couple of weeks just to make sure that the re-scheduled dates are going ahead.
    Hope that helps
    Happy Days!
    Bryan
    http://www.abctrainingsolutions.biz

  6. Business relationships need to be two way – not one way
    Hi Brian
    There is a difference between being flexible and the client taking the p***

    Do we really want to have our ‘foot in the door’ of a client that treats us like this? if this is how they work at the beginning of the relationship, we can bet on things going down hill.

    If the work was for an associate provider you can bet they have a cancellation clause – so why not you. We all need to remember that this is not personal – its business.

    Sure be flexible – but flexibility works both ways
    Mike

  7. Cancelled dates
    Hi Valerie,

    I ran a freelance consultancy for four years. My policy was to invoice for 50% on confrimation of a date. The rest was invoiced directly after the delivery with a seven day payment request (which was always complied with). With larger compnaies you can obtain a 7 day payment clause if you talk to the finance people as they can almost always vary the terms they set. Get the client to asist you in this by also requesting the change if necessary.

    If a client cancelled I kept the 50% already collected whic was non refundable. This payment could be redeeemed against the same or new training in the future. This turns a potnetial negative situation into a positive as the clients always booked a future date to redeem the 50% already paid which means you get the rest of the money and, far more importantly for the long term, you actually deliver your training. If you are good the actual delivery is important for long term repeat business as the client experiences something they will want again.

    Cheers.

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