Effective communication is vital to ensure clear scope with a client when freelancing. You need to do everything you can to ensure you understand your client’s brief and be willing to ask your client appropriate questions to get the information you need. What’s more, you need to be clear about the services that you offer to ensure there are is no miscommunication when it comes to your agreement. In this post, we share five clear ways to ensure you have a clear scope with a client when freelancing.
1. Write everything down
When it comes to the particulars of the gig, you need to make sure you’ve created a written agreement with your client. It doesn’t necessarily need to be anything as formal as a signed contract, but it does need to identify what is and isn’t to be included in the delivery. For instance, you need to write down all of the following:
- The agreed price for the services offered and payment terms.
- The scope of your services – be explicit about what you include in your gig and perhaps mention notable things that you don’t include. For instance, if you write articles for clients but you don’t include images, it’s a good idea to mention this from the outset to manage expectations.
- Your requirements – you need to tell your client what you need from them to complete the work. Be as comprehensive with this as possible; it’s better to have too much information than too little.
These are the minimum requirements that should form the basis of your written agreement with your clients. However, as you progress, you might find that you need to include other things, so feel free to add to this list as and when you need to.
2. Create a delivery timeline
Are you delivering the project in instalments or as a one-off? Is your client expecting a first draft to review in advance of the final draft being submitted? There are so many different things you need to consider when it comes to the delivery timeframe of your projects, and you need to be as clear as possible with your clients. At a minimum, you should think about the following:
- Agree upon any project milestones that need to be met and specify the exact dates (and times if possible) that they need to be delivered.
- Specify how the work will be delivered (in what format) as well as how any feedback should be articulated.
- Set the final delivery deadline as per your initial agreements. If you offer a delivery timeframe as standard, you could always offer your client expedited delivery for a fee.
As a freelancer, it’s imperative that you deliver your projects on time. To avoid any misunderstanding or disappointment, you need to be as clear as possible with your initial timeframe.
3. Communicate frequently
Proficient communication is absolutely vital to a successful freelancer-client relationship. It’s your responsibility to regularly check in with your client and keep them updated about the progress of the work that you’ve undertaken. What’s more, you should ensure that you listen to all of their requests and do your very best to respond to any queries in a timely manner. Don’t just assume that because you already have their business, that you no longer need to communicate with them.
If you hope to have repeat business from a particular client, you can’t underestimate how important it is to keep them informed and to check in as regularly as you can. When the project comes to an end, you should exchange feedback and consider asking them for a testimonial or review, particularly if you feel as if the project has gone well. These will be extremely beneficial to you when you’re looking for new business in the future.
4. Ask exactly what work will be paid for
One significant challenge that faces freelancers is the unsaid expectation to do something for free. While this isn’t the case with every client, you will find that sometimes people are looking for a little bonus or something in addition to what was initially agreed to get even more value for their money. While it’s vital to please your clients and keep them happy by going above and beyond, you shouldn’t let people take advantage of you.
This is why it’s so important to specifically articulate exactly what work will be paid for as part of your written agreement. If the service isn’t specified in the brief and agreed in advance, don’t feel obliged to carry out the work for free. While it might feel a little difficult to confront this situation with a client, by offering gig extras (we discuss this in further detail below), you can ensure that you’re crystal clear about what’s included in your rates and what isn’t.
When you publish details of your gig, you must be very specific about what is included in the service that you’re offering, so clients aren’t surprised or even disappointed when it comes to the final delivery. An excellent way to earn yourself some extra money, and also to make it clear to clients that certain things aren’t part of your core service offer, you should produce an addendum with gig-related services and include the prices. While your additional services offered will depend on the gig, you should consider offering the following:
- Expedited delivery – do you have the capacity to deliver within 24 hours?
- Extra revision – Some clients will pay for the privilege of being able to revise the finished product they send over to you.
- Additional formats – if it’s possible to save the project in more than one way, you can offer this option as an extra.
When pricing your extras, be sure to make them affordable, as your clients won’t be willing to pay over the odds. If you get the addendum right, you have a good chance of making extra money on your gigs.
In order to develop a successful relationship with your clients as a freelancer, you need to be clear about your service and communicate efficiently. It’s paramount that you open a professional yet friendly dialogue with your clients and do your utmost to manage their expectations throughout the process. Failing to do so can result in negative feedback and can cost you business in the long run, so it’s something that you need to give appropriate attention to.