1 Easy Trick To Save Your Reputation And Your Profit
Do you have clients who change the brief and end up doubling the amount of work you have to do (but not what they pay)?!
Does that one page flyer design end up being 5 sheets of A4...?
Does that simple website end up being a 30 page novel?
Or maybe you've had that 'quick' photoshoot job with three different locations and outfit changes?
Or that one hour coaching call (with three hours of Facebook messages!)
Yet despite all this extra work, you're not actually getting paid any more than you were before.
This frustrating and expensive phenomena is called 'Scope Creep'.
And is something almost every service based business will experience.
Often when it happens people feel really uncomfortable and awkward saying "sorry, that's extra" to the client.
They sometimes feel like they "haven't got a leg to stand on".
Or that they'd come across as greedy or selfish.
However you can end up feeling resentful of your clients because they're taking up so much more of your time and yet you're not getting paid for it.
This extra time also often comes at the expense of your own personal life. Taking up extra evenings and weekends just to get it out the door as it was never scheduled in the first place.
A pretty damaging and disheartening place to end up.
So what causes scope creep?
Is it bad clients?
Greedy people "taking the piss", trying to get away with as much as possible?
Or perhaps being "too weak" to have a difficult conversation and stand up for yourself?
To be honest, sometimes it can be a little of that, but in my 20 years of experience it predominantly comes down to one thing:
Where what you had in your head when you priced the job, doesn't end up matching what the client had in theirs when they accepted it.
In business, as in life, managing expectations is key for developing healthy, long term relationships.
So, what can you do?
How do you stop the client changing the brief or requesting more work?
How do you prevent being stuck having to either have an awkward conversation that could potentially damage your relationship or sucking up a whole lot of extra time and costs?
Well there's one really simple trick you can do, which can if not eliminate this issue entirely, at least make it easier to have the "you need to pay more" conversation.
And here it is:
Write down your assumptions and share them with the client.
Say what now?
I know, it sounds a bit weird the first time you hear it.
However written up assumptions are one of the 5 Things Every Quote Needs To Protect Your Profit And Reputation.
And here's why.
Every time you price a job up or a service, you're basing your time estimates (and therefore the cost) on a whole lot of assumptions.
You're assuming you know certain information - either because the client told you, you took a guess or because you know from past experience what normally happens.
These assumptions are all the things you need to have in place in order to be able to deliver that specific service for that specific price.
If any of them prove to be wrong, or they later change, then the likelihood is it's going to change what work you have to do, how long it takes and ultimately what it will cost.
Which is all well and good.
Except if you didn't capture this information and share it with the client up front, it becomes very hard to back yourself if that awkward client conversation comes up!
So documenting and sharing all those assumptions that enable you to deliver your specific services for that specific price becomes really important for managing client expectations.
And you already have the document you need to do this.
It's called your Quote (or your Estimate).
Basically whatever document you use that outlines what you will deliver and for what price.
What you're saying is, I can deliver this work for that price as long as the following assumptions are correct. If they're not, then I'll need to review.
Now whether you review or not, and whether you choose to pass any increase in cost on to the client is up to you. It's at your discretion depending on the circumstances.
You may let a little extra one hour change go in order to delight your customer.
But being given a whole lot of new information halfway through a project, that's now gonna double your time - that’s just taking the piss!
So having your assumptions written down and shared (and agreed) with the client, gives you a really solid foundation to have the conversation if you need it.
I've used this approach to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in work that would otherwise to have been done for free.
And it's now just a basic requirement for every piece of client work I do.
So how and where do you share them with the client?
Well I usually recommend including them in your quote or proposal document.
You can learn more about what a good quote needs to protect your time, money and reputation here.
The assumptions you use will always be growing and evolving as you learn more about what it takes to deliver your work.
Make sure you keep a master list that you update. And then every time you discover another area, requirement or assumption that impacts how well or how quickly you can deliver your work, add it to the master list for use in your next quote.
A great way to turn 'mistakes' into learnings!
And as always if you get stuck and need a little help getting your quotes sorted book in a time to chat and we'll do a 15 minute Trouble-shoot to get you sorted.
Book in a time here:
You're Worth It.
You Got This.