By Jonathan London on 13th June 2014

How to reject a contract offer

At some point in your career, it’s likely that you’ll be faced with the decision to turn down a project. Whether the salary isn’t quite right or you just don’t have time to carry out the task on top of your current workload, rejecting an offer is just another part of being an independent professional.

Whatever your reasons may be, there is a certain way to turn down an opportunity firmly and politely. You always want to stay on good terms with any prospective client as you never know when that perfect contract with that firm might arise.

A contractor can be selective

You’re the boss, and as such, you can decide when a contract is right for you. If you’re an established freelancer, it’s likely that you’ll have a CV fell of valuable experience to back up any decisions you make.

However, if you’re just starting out, you may wish to be a little less selective when it comes to taking on a contract. After all, it’s important that you do get some experience in the first place!

After being a contractor for a few years, you will develop an instinct that can help when making decisions about whether to accept or reject work.

How to reject a contract offer

Once you have decided to turn down the contract it’s important that you infrom the client immediately. The quicker you let them know, the faster they can find someone else to take on the job. If you handle the rejection in this way, minimal resources and time will be wasted by both parties.

You should always conduct yourself so that you end a relationship with a client on the best possible terms.

Tactfulness will be essential in these instances, as you will need to balance the rejection so it is not negative and doesn’t leave you in an uncomfortable position if you accept a contract from the client in the future.

If possible, explain the reasons for turning the offer down – this works if the cause is a full workload or conflicting dates of employment. If you do want to work with client in future, it would be useful to let the firm know when you’re available, just in case the contract might still be vacant at that point.

In instances where it is not possible to tell the client why the offer is being turned down, then you may even be able to refer the client’s project onto a colleague who you think will be qualified to take on the role.

And remember, be firm, but be polite.

When to turn down an offer

For a permanent employee of a business, saying no to a job can be career suicide as they will, to some degree, be expected to comply with management’s demands. This is, however, not the case for a self-employed individual.

As a contractor, you are able to pick and choose the contracts that are most desirable and beneficial to you. This may be based on career goals that you have in mind or your personal situation at that time.

Another reason may be that the salary on offer does not match your estimation of what your skills are worth. Sometimes, this may not be an issue as the project itself may offer you a different kind of worth. For example, a new experience that will improve the value of your stock as a contractor.

The circumstances under which you may turn down an offer are really down to the individual. And as such, it depends on you and you alone as to why you may choose to go one way as opposed to another.

However, in order to help you make an informed decision we have released another guide, outlining some of the scenarios as to why you may look to reject a contract.

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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