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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