Three plays for resetting boundaries with clients

Three plays for resetting boundaries with clients

by Wishu
28 April 2021
freelancer help resources

Problems can happen if you weren’t totally clear about the job scope, your services, price, or your day-to-day policies and practices. Or maybe your client is just brazenly expecting more attention, calls, meetings, revisions…

Here are three plays for when clients go out-of-bounds: 


The Smooth Move.
“Sure, I can do that. It would cost… let me know how you’d like to proceed.”


The Ounce of Prevention.
Set up a system to handle it: “That’s a great question. It’s actually one of the FAQs on my website → I’ve pasted the answer below.”


The Charge for Refills.
If an issue crops up a lot, maybe it’s a clue to a new service. Different levels of pricing?


Situations and solutions


Situation: “We’re off-schedule.”


Symptom 1: The client is slow to respond
Treatment: Bring it up as soon as you see the pattern. Be on record. Suggest a fix (weekly call?). Monitor in writing.
Prevention: Protect against client delays in your contracts. E.g. Client will provide necessary information; set deadlines of feedback and/or approvals.
Symptom 2: The client is making too many changes.
Treatment: Make sure you both agree about the project’s direction. Remind the client in writing what’s been approved, so you have a trail preventing them from asking for reworks or reject final results.
Prevention: Build into your contract → Specify the number of revisions. Introduction of hourly fees if needed extra work?
Symptom 3: Doing the work is taking longer than you thought.
Treatment: Alert the client and team up to solve it.
Prevention: Build an automatic extension into your contract for some cushion on the deadline.

Situation: “This isn’t what we agreed.”


Symptom: The client wants something more than what was originally agreed.
Treatment: If the contract doesn’t specify or you have no contract, use emails or notes from your conversations to remind the client of what was decided. Negotiate the additional costs/time.
Prevention: Put detailed specifications about the job scope in a contract, confirming email. 


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