As freelance web and graphic designers, it’s our job to listen to client feedback and complete revisions, ‘aka, design changes so the client is happier.
But sometimes, clients can take advantage of that. It can be on purpose, but often not.
What happens is clients request more revisions and they ask for one tiny favour then another. Before you know it, your project is weeks over deadline and you’ve put in HOURS more than you thought. Hours you haven’t been paid for.
I took on a project that once went one month over the deadline, back when I started out. And I know how much it went over, because I tracked my time.
When I looked at my time tracker, I worked out that I had worked for about £1.50 per hour.
I had said yes to every extra favour because I wanted to be kind, receive a glowing testimonial and get repeat work. I was also new and eager to please.
Watch the video below or read on to learn the five key ways you can control scope creep and cut down on revisions.
Here's what you need to understand:
- Boundaries around revisions doesn’t make you mean or unkind. It makes you a good business owner.
- A good client will respect your boundaries and think no less of you because of them.
- In fact, a good client will think MORE of you if you have boundaries around these things because boundaries make you seem like a true pro.
Do you really want repeat work from a client who doesn't respect your boundaries?
A question I hear a lot in my Facebook group is "how can I cut down on revisions?"
HERE ARE 5 KEY WAYS TO CUT DOWN ON REVISIONS
1. Repeat the number of revision rounds included in their design package
People are forgetful. We all are! You can’t just tell your clients once and think they’ll remember, especially if they've got a family or a business to run - it's not their fault that they forget these kinds of things, so it's your job to help them remember.
You want to repeat yourself in your:
- Sales page or FAQ page
- Price list
- Proposal + invoice
- At the start of the project or inside an onboarding page
- Inside your project management tool
2. Use a project management tool to communicate with your clients
This is the best way that I've cut down on revisions.
Inside of your project management tool you can:
- Outline how many revisions there are in each stage
- Tick them off as you go through
Plus the client only has to look here to see the revision rounds that are left.
If you’ve never used a project management tool before and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of learning how to use one, don’t worry, I've got a free Project Management For Designers course! Click here to get it.
3. Be clear on what happens if your client needs extra revisions
Extra revisions should cost extra money, usually at your hourly rate. The thought of paying more than they already have usually puts clients off from wanting extra revisions, but if they do, it’s good to give them the option!
Be sure to make it clear to them that this is how it works. You should include this on your sales page, contract and on onboarding page.
4. Stand firm with your boundaries
Even after you've done all this, you may get a client who tries it on anyway.
Make sure you stand firm.
If you give in and complete revisions for free, you’re breaching what YOU said in your contract.
You're also giving the client permission to ask for more free stuff and get away with more unfair things.
The client isn’t the bad guy here. If you aren’t standing by your boundaries and your contract, your client will just subconsciously take this as permission to get free things from you.
If you stand firm, your client will respect that. They’re smart and they probably do the same thing in their business.
5. Create a template
It can feel icky to say no to a client who just asked you for extra changes and tell them they have to pay extra.
Instead of putting yourself through the agony of typing out a respectful yet firm reply each time, create template.
If you’re using email, used canned email responses. If you're using a project management system, create a separate ‘Project’ that includes scripts. Then when you need to use one, just go into that project, copy it, go back into the client project and paste it in the conversation.
Using a script takes the ickiness away and makes the conversation less personal.
Without a script, you probably spend 30 minutes each time writing it, dreading how your client will react. But your client will probably read it and agree to stick to your terms, because they’re not as scary and demanding as you think they’re going to be.
They’re reasonable if you are reasonable. And simply reminding your client of your terms IS reasonable.
I made a free script you can use to remind your clients of your revision policy. Whenever a client tries to get revisions for free, just copy and paste this script & hit send!