If you want to make the most money possible freelancing as a web designer or running a web design business, you need projects to go smoothly.
Happy clients equal smooth going projects. Here are some tips to help you keep your clients happy so you can knock down new graphic and web design projects left and right. POW!
A problem I often hear about with web designers is clients asking for endless revisions of a design or payment confusion. Problems like this can all be avoided and you can save your legal butt by having a clear contract. Specify payment schedules, amounts, number of revision rounds, deadlines and every single thing you are supposed to do down to the last page.
It’s best to have a lawyer create a contract for you that you can reuse and modify for each new project. If you can’t afford a lawyer there are some sites that sell pre-made legal documents related to running a design business.
If you don’t know what your client wants how can you give them what they need? A super easy way to ensure happiness is to ask web design clients as many questions as possible before you start the project. Ask for sample sites they like, competitor sites, what they like about the competitor sites, what features they need, pages they need, what style they want and so on.
Knowing all the details ahead of time will save you lots of trouble in the long-run. Once you have a list of questions you can send them to every new client after personalizing it.
Give Them What They Want
A common issue between designers and clients is that designers always seem to think the client picks the wrong design or at least not the best one in their opinion. If you want your projects to go smoothly just give the clients what they want and be happy that they have picked a design they really like. As a designer its your responsibility to educate clients on why you make certain design related decisions, but constantly fighting the client will only cause trouble. For example, if a client gives you very specific images to use from a photo site such as Depositphotos stock, be sure to use them and not ones you think are better without asking first.
You need to find a happy medium between what the client wants and what you believe is a great, effective and creative design. If your client wants you to go in one direction and you go in the totally opposite one, you are just asking for trouble.
Keep in Contact
Clients can get paranoid, especially if they are dishing out good money to a designer they have never worked with before and met online. Keeping in constant contact with your client and sending them updates often can ease their minds and make them feel more comfortable knowing their is progress being made. All it takes is a simple email or phone call to avoid worrying. If the project is going to take a few weeks, email them at least twice a week and let them know when you have made significant progress that you are comfortable showing.
Project management software like Basecamp can be a great way to update clients, get files, make notes, collaborate and so on, especially if you are also working with multiple people.
Meet Your Deadlines
The only thing worse than a client thinking a designer is avoiding them, is a client finally reaching the designer only to hear bad news such as, the deadline is going to be missed. In the TV show Entourage, super agent Ari Gold once talked about never calling your angry star client unless you have good news. If you are going to miss your deadline, you at least better have a kick ass design or some good news ready.
The best way to avoid missing deadlines is to add a few days onto whatever time-frame you think you can compete a project by or be honest with clients and tell them if a deadline is unrealistic.