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I've got two offers on at present, and I certainly don't have time for both. How can I turn down the second one without ruining my chance to work with them in the future, should the opportunity arise?

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    I'm struggling to see how this question could be answered definitively. It would seem to invite debate, though I'm also interested in seeing some of that debate, so I can't see fit to do anything other than make this comment at the moment. – Kevin Ford The Submariner May 22 '13 at 4:54
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If you've been a freelancer for awhile, and even if you're just getting started, you most likely have a network of contacts, who you know professionally or privately, who may very well be looking for freelancing work themselves and who may also have the skills the potential client is looking for.

Keep in mind that these organizations are looking for solutions to problems, and many times it doesn't really matter who solves the problem, so long as it gets solved. So if you already have a good relationship with the organization, then it's likely you can help them out by making it easier for them to find someone who can solve their problem.

If you play your cards right, you could become the go-to person whenever this person needs help from a freelancer, and by building your network in this manner, you'll also build your reputation and may be able to gain referrals from other freelancers and these clients.

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    +1. It helps not only building client relations, but it also may help creating your own team of professionals which may eventually turn to become a company. – bytebuster May 22 '13 at 2:43
  • Helping the client find another person to do the job will put you in good standing with them (though you may lose the client for future work - it's a risk but they'll find someone anyway so you may as well get some kudos). On a related side note: If you regularly refer work to others it may be worth negotiating a formal and mutually beneficial arrangement whereby you pay each other finder's fees for referring work. In this way, it lessens the impact of losing clients permanently to your "competition". – authentictech May 24 '13 at 21:28
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I am always totally honest with the client. I first thank him for contacting me. Then I tell him that I am busy X number of hours on Y project which is expected to end on Z date. I ask him if he can wait till that date. If I am unavailable due to some nature events (tornados :) or similar ones), they I usually send them a link to this news and trying to predict when I can be available again.

No one ever found this approach of mine as rude or unprofessional. Even more they either tell me that they will contact me on a specific date or they tell me that they cannot wait so long and ask me if they can contact me in the future.

So instead of thinking what to say, simply tell the truth. Telling the truth will be the quickest way for you and your client will appreciate it very much. Being busy is nothing which will make them angry but will instead tell them how wanted you are. And receive truth from you will benefit you more than zillions "good stories".

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It depends on what stage you are on with this contracts. If it's still a negotiation and there is no contract yet, there is nothing wrong by dismissing one of your offers. And being honest is always valuable - when I came up with similar situation, I just told that due to my lack of time I'm unable to pick up this one, but I'd be glad to take the next offer in the future.

But if you have your contract signed for both offers, and a type of your work allows it, you may pay somebody else who will help you to get it done. Sharing your profit is someone else is way better, than breaking the contract, which will almost certainly "burn the bridge".

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  • Certainly nothing's signed yet. I would never pull that :) – Mark Mayo May 22 '13 at 2:20
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Just outright tell them that you have a better offer from someone else.

In my country, what we do is we outright tell the second guy that we've got a better offer. Heck, we even show them the offer letter sometimes. You don't actually have to show them the offer letter, especially if it's P&C, but it gives more credibility to the excuse.

Very often, the second guy will raise his pay to match and beat the first one. Once that happens, we go back to the first guy and tell them that we've just been offered something better. You can play them against each other, just be completely honest about it.

Few clients will actually blame you for going with someone who pays better. I've actually turned down a few offers from good clients. Sometimes they give me a better deal. Often they just give a gift instead, say "No hard feelings, call me any time."

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  • Employers? Keep in mind this site is about Freelancing and self employment. Consider updating your answer to focus on those points. Perhaps the term "clients" would be better. Good luck, and welcome to Freelancing SE! :) – jmort253 Sep 14 '13 at 18:56
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    Ha, sorry. Retermed it to 'clients'. In my situation, many former employers took me on for freelancing. Which I suppose strengthens the idea that you can turn down a contract or quit and still stay in very good terms. – Muz Sep 15 '13 at 1:20
  • Absolutely! Your personal experiences are more validated by this happening to you as a Freelancer. Thanks for making the edit and helping to create a great Stack Exchange site! :) – jmort253 Sep 15 '13 at 1:50
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what if i am getting more work then i can do

it mean you are going right and in the way of setting up a company/organizations

but if you are got 2 project at the same time either work on both of them every day but yes off course time will be divided half and both of project take twice time so it strictly depends of time limit

and those organization are only want work if you deliver work they are ok if you wont they will just switch to another developer , imo if you got tow project at a same time pay somebody else to developer for you

and relation with organization are based on quality , assurance , punctuality and no matter who worked ... so if you deliver good work (either done by you or person you paying) its perfectly fine

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    I'm not sure where that quote comes from? I didn't write it... – Mark Mayo May 22 '13 at 2:38
  • @MarkMayo its in context of I've got two offers on at present :) – NullPoiиteя May 22 '13 at 2:40

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