If you’re a new freelancer trying to get web design clients and you finally land a small project but find you’re getting hassled over your fees and the work you’ve done, you’ve probably fished up a bottom feeder.
Bottom-feeders are the clients that are rarely ever happy, will penny pinch you for every second of design work you do. They tend to focus on how much they can extract out of you instead of working together with you to do the project right.
Four ways to help avoid this:
1. Quote higher amounts.
Cheap clients give you a harder time. Clients who pay more don’t. It’s odd and you would figure the opposite (pay more fuss more), but the reality is, the clients that pay more are easier to work with and don’t hassle over little things.
2. Give a contract and quote a fixed fee.
A contract binds the two of you more strongly than not having one. This gives you a higher chance of getting paid in a timely manner. Also, a fixed fee will help you avoid bickering over time spent and cost per hour.
Yes, this is a small project, but you should have a ready simple contract for hourly work or small projects that you can easily whip up and customize with minimal effort.
3. Get 50% up front.
Unless you trust your client 100% to pay, get part of the fee up front. 50% is common. If the project falls through, say the client isn’t happy or you have to cancel it, at least you have some money to pay for your time spent.
If you’ve got cahonas, make the 50% deposit non-refundable.
If you have big cahonas, ask for all up front by offering a discount of 10% for paying in full.
4. Clarify revision limits.
Clarify the revision limits. Limit the revisions to a fixed number. Three is common. This will help the client focus and give you good feedback so you can make effective revisions.
5. Get design inputs.
By design inputs, I mean examples of other sites or designs he likes, the feel he wants to give off, a stock image that he feels good about, and colors he wants.
This helps me hit the design on the nose the first time. Rarely do I do revisions. Most of the time I’m just tweaking the first design.
And while it’s true, I’m the designer, it’s also true that I’m not a mind reader. I look at the designer’s job as the job of eliciting from the client what he or she wants (their vision) PLUS good web design practices (my input).
Remember, bottom feeders are blood-thirsty beasts. Follow the above techniques in your web design business and you will be able to enjoy heaven-sent clients who pay what you ask for.