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Design Design Foundations Becoming a Problem Solver Perform

geoffrey
geoffrey
28,724 Points

Advices needed to deal with customers when it comes to designing websites, logo etc..

Hey all, after watching this video, I wanted to ask you if you have any tips to make the collaboration with the customer easier ?

I ask this because, when it comes to design, I have the feeling that's very difficult to determinate the amount of time you are going to spend on a logo or a website whereas It's not that much complicated when it comes to coding.

That's because design is more abstract... and because of this, you really never know how much time you'll spend on a project before getting the right result.

Why ? First you sometimes need more time to find a good idea, sometimes you find something pretty cool quite quickly while some others times It's totally the opposite.

Lastly, there is the customer "factor" which can become the "biggest issue". You from time to time have to face people that don't really know what they want, people that always change their mind, their idea. It just becomes sometimes very difficult to please them, and at the end you become fed up of the project.

Because of that your evaluation of the time needed to create the project can quickly explode... The result is you loose money !

Would you have any advice to deal with it ? I ask it because with my little experience I've already faced that kind of situation and that's something I really hate and would like to avoid in future collaborations.

3 Answers

Alexander Stanuga
Alexander Stanuga
11,999 Points

Most clients prefer the idea of a fixed amount, if you can determine a base rate for certain work it may help (just be generous always double what you think it is worth, as you'll always spend more time than you think you will). Within your contract, start off by offering a max of three to five concepts with a maximum of 5 changes to a chosen design, then include an hourly rate based on any EXTRA work they want done outside that. If you can communicate your working process you will find that many clients should respect that, and if it's written down and they've signed off on it then it helps if there are any disagreements later, which if everything is clearly laid out in your contract should hopefully be none.

The contract is a way of keeping both you the Designer & your Client honest, it should outline ALL (or as much as you can determine) details surrounding the project, milestones, cost estimates, copyright information, confidentiality clause if needed and who is responsible for providing what and when.

Your contract should be a living breathing document that changes according to the need and the client. There are plenty of available contracts to copy from out there, a very popular one worth mentioning and which you can freely copy/use/adapt is the one shared by Andrew Clarke in his article Contract Killer which is available here.

http://24ways.org/2008/contract-killer/

One more thing... use a friendly voice when writing your contract, and if you can afford it or have any friends in the legal profession get them to have a look too.

geoffrey
geoffrey
28,724 Points

Thank you for all the advices given by all the people here :)

Hey Geoffrey! Well, In my experience I usually use the double for time schedules.

In another words, if I think that I'll need a month, for example, to finish the project, I'll tell my client that I need two. It may sound a little daring at first, and clients may even be a little chocked if the original time is already big. But it is always best to compromise with two months and deliver it in one month than the opposite.

Since I charge for project it is not a big deal, if you are charging for hours you'll probably need to get around that with some strategy.

Best luck! :D

geoffrey
geoffrey
28,724 Points

Thank you for your answer. I must admit I'm not yet confident with the billing aspect of a project. How much should I charge ? Am I too expensive or is it the opposite ? Many things I still have to plan and get more experienced with to be honest, charging for a project and not per hour could be a suitable solution indeed, but you need to be sure in this case, once again the customer doesn't change all the time his mind.

This leads me to this question: When working with customers, do you set a limit with the revisions on the project ? To avoid as I told earlier a situation where the customer changes all the time his mind for subtle changes ?

Yes Geoffrey, I usually set the revisions from 3 to 5 or 6 changes, depending on the project. Although I won't consider as 'revision' minor changes such as text corrections or so. But something that I make very clear from the beginning is that major changes will be charged separately, things like repositioning or redesign of the grid, conceptual changes etc... By the way those only apply when the client have already approved a first design, of course.

It's important that you won't be afraid to set your own boundaries. Even if that means to lose a potencial client, don't put yourself in a position where you won't be able to deliver the best possible result. Also, try not to bend yourself backwards for clients, remember that they need your services as much as you need them as clients, the relationship is even, fare.

And, if you stumble upon somebody that thinks your services are too slow or too expensive or etc. Just kindly thank him or her and move on to the next prospect. Some clients are just not in the same league that you are, and that's ok. He'll find someone able to help him, just as you will find somebody that you can help as well.

Hope I've helped you. :) Best luck.

Alexander Stanuga
Alexander Stanuga
11,999 Points

One thing I would stress from the outset, make sure you have a contract written up that includes all the details of the work and timeframe. Spend a little time researching them until you've got a template that works best for you and your clients. This will also ensure that your client/designer relationships will remain on an even keel (most of the time).

Within this contract specify the amount of concepts you will produce, at what time, along with the amount of changes the client can make before you start charging them at an hourly rate. This also helps to communicate that design time is valuable.

SUPER important point Alexander, well said. (y) :)

geoffrey
geoffrey
28,724 Points

Nice advices Alexander, I'm going to investigate about this. So If I understand well, on your side, you charge a fixed amount for the concepts, then once one concept is approved you charge per hour ?