Some clients just keep asking for a little more: a four page website design can turn into a design plus copy or even a design plus copy plus marketing. It often happens just a little request at a time, as the scope of the project creeps ever larger. Scope creep isn’t always an entirely bad thing, of course. As long as your clients are willing to pay for the work that goes along with a bigger project, it can be beneficial. Depending on the situation, there are several responses you can offer to a client with a case of scope creep.
1. Glad to help — here’s a new estimate
If you can accommodate the changes, you’re more likely to end up with a happy client. However, since you also want to get paid for the time you work, it’s important to make sure that the client understands what an additional request will add to the bottom line immediately. That may result in the client changing his mind back to the original plan. It may also end with the client giving you the go ahead.
Mentioning a price up front is especially important when you’re working on a project with a flat rate. You don’t want to even run a risk of a client interpreting your response to mean that the cost of the changes are included in the original price.
2. I can’t meet the deadline
One of the biggest problems with scope creep is that it can wreak havoc on a schedule, sometimes to the point that you simply can’t finish the project by the deadline. And if you’ve got projects stacked up, even a small change in the deadline can cause you problems with your own schedule. In such cases, you have to offer the client some alternatives. Those can include changing the time table significantly, as well as bringing in a sub-contractor.
Some clients simply are on a tight deadline. It may be up to you to be the bad guy and tell them that extending the project’s parameters just isn’t an option due to the timing. While this is a problem that can be solved with more money, it’s typically very expensive — getting a...