I strongly believe in working closely with my clients on projects. This is because the websites that I aim to design are highly customized to our client’s needs and requirements. I also believe that it is important to keep the client involved and connected throughout every phase of the project, and I try to do this as much as possible. I usually offer a non-obligatory meetup during the start of the project, which combines 2 things: introduce myself and what I do, as well as find out everything I need to know regarding the client’s company, requirements, problems and needs.
Before beginning the project, it is also important to clearly outline the expectations, fees, services provided – so as to reduce misunderstandings between both parties.
However, throughout the course of the project, I sometimes receive requests from clients to meet-up to discuss the design or development issues. This is quite a difficult situation to be in – as such requests would normally not come up before the engagement of the project, and therefore would not be considered in the final fee. The official agreement also states that the cost only includes meet-ups at our office, and not at the client’s location.
But why am I not able to provide such personalized service then, if I pride myself on customized solutions?
In short – limitations.
- As one-half of a 2-woman show, I am the salesperson – project manager – designer – developer – tester – customer relations officer – finance manager and more! As much as I would love to provide every single client personalized service, I do have other responsibilities ongoing at the same time. Going to a client’s location would remove at least 3-4 hours from my time in the office, which sets back my other client’s deadlines.
- The fees charged do not include additional time required for the travel to/from the client’s location, and one-on-one consultation with the client. Did you know that when hiring an agency, you are actually paying for the project manager’s time to handle your project, and managing meet-ups and discussions? The fees can go up to as much as $5000 just for the project manager – possibly includes all the Uber rides he has to take as well. You haven’t even yet included the cost of the actual product!
- The client did not request prior to the project for such one-on-one service – therefore it was not factored into the cost or project schedule.
- It is unfair to our other clients who adhered to the agreement, but suffer having their project delayed.
Client relationships and mutual respect are one of the core building blocks of a small agency/freelancer. It is important to understand each other from differing point-of-views. Understanding of expectations from the get-go is essential, and as much as possible, something I try to establish for a successful working relationship.