Handling customers that demand too much

July 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment  

That type of customer will ask you to do infinite revamps to the layout you put up – be it to move an website element a few pixels over here, or change the type-face and vice versa – well you for sure recognize what I am talking about. This can not only be irritatingannoying, it also costs you costly time as well as money. Even thoug every client is different, here are some useful tips how to deal with that type of customers:

At anytime – and I mean at anytime – pen down a written agreement or arrangement.

It’s just usual that – even if you are a independent designer – you need to put to paper what you are accomplishing for the client. If the customer denies already in this early state to sign anything, you are better off to withdraw from the project.

Stipulate carefully what your web design task will include.

Have a plan – pen down each aspect you are going to work on on the clients layout – for instance if you do a web site layout, stipulate the steps you are required to undertake, the time needed, how many changes you will allow, which is surely the most vital section on your written consense. Put down something like “design creation includes 2 free alterations to the overall draft, additional revamps or revamps required in a later state of the ongoing design process are charged consequently”. Also note down your hourly fees, so the customer will know upfront what is coming up on him. Additionally set up a rough timescale needed to finalize the work.

Make some samples

Before getting into the development phase, get your customer a first mockup. It’s often easier to change the layout (PhotoShop, illustrator etc) than redesigning the whole thing itself later on. Come together with your client to talk about what he wants to have changed and what he likes. That’s a good starting point to get close to the final layout. Only then start transforming your sketches to real life applications / websites.

Do yourself a favor by getting a first payment

Don’t do anything before you have not received a fair amount of the total worth of your work. Get your client to send over you in advance at least 25%, as in case you will break up with the customer ( which surely shouldn’t happen ) and he refuses to pay the rest of the sum, you have obtained at least a part of the money you are entitled to receive. ( What is happening to the rest of it, depends if you did a nice job and if you are brave enough to request the rest of your money – worst case inside a courtyard ).

Plan in an overall time frame

Before you are starting the design work, get yourself a rough overview, how much time this specific design work will take. Calculate your quote accordingly and plan in overtime; 15% is a good rule of thumb.

What if the customer still demands more and more changes?

Well, don’t be affraid – it’s business. If your client signed the contract, you can refer to that written consent and tell him that he surely acknowledges that any overtime work will require more money, as using too much time on one working project is just uneconomical and that he/she surely would do the same. Most clients understand that, and will pay you for your work. Stay polite, there is no need to become unfriendly.

In case you weren’t that smart, and no agreement was made, well then it’s surely harder to find a consensus. If the client claims that these changes shall  be made and is not willing to pay more than the total you both have defined, you can attempt the sentence above, but if this is not working out, give him the option to either take the project as it is, pay the fixed fee and let the changes be done by someone else, or give him an escape route by dropping your price for the additional work. So or so, this is a bad situation, in which you can lose a customer, earn less and lose a lot of precious time or even get your reputation harmed. So keep in mind to setup a written contract next time.

Dare to say no

If nothing of the above worked out, or the client even agrees to pay more but still claims infinite changes, dare to say no. Tell him there has to be a point when the design is not to be changed anymore. Some clients simply need someone to say when the point of time has come to go with the draft, and even won’t be unhappy about.

Write down changes and send a new quote

If you are agreeing to do additional changes, be smart and note down what is required to get those changes done. Think of a price for it, and send your client that new estimate. Most of them will then stick with what is done so far, as seeing real numbers on a paper maybe make them realize what it costs to have such demands. Come on – what the heck is really free today? Surely not your precious time.

Surely all of this relies on the client type, your ability to express yourself and not all of those tips will work out in all cases, but they are taken from long time experience and can be applied to many situations.

artViper™ designstudio is a high end website design agency serving SME to major players all over the globe. Professional website design bristol develops AJAX and mySQL/PHP applications, designs websites, develops webshop designs and additional modules.

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