How to Handle Scope Creep In Freelancing
September 7, 2015
September 7, 2015
Every now and then, you’ll work with clients who’ll expect you to deliver more in terms of work than what you’ve agreed to in the first place. Freelancing Scope Creep is a huge drain on your resources, demands more from you without rewarding you in any way whatsoever, and is also a cause for strain, stress, and potentially debilitating relationship with clients.
As a freelancer, you’d do better without any scope creep at all. However, you won’t know when it hits you. So, before it happens (and when it does), here’s how you can manage scope creep in freelancing while working with your projects and clients:
Work with client expectations and your milestones right
The sheer excitement of a new project, the rush to start work, and the potential payoffs with a project are understandably evident. In fact, many freelancers deep dive into projects without setting up client expectations first and setting up milestones for projects.
Doing your due diligence is your responsibility. After you are briefed, handhold your client and run them through the expected work. Setup milestones immediately after so that both you and the client always know what’s expected.
Always start with a contract
No matter how careful you are with step 1 above, you’ll do well to start every project with a contract. Send out your quotes and proposals.
Once your client accepts the quote or the proposal, send out a legal contract (along with other legalese such as NDA, service policies, and other documents) and get them signed by your client.
A contract could save your life.
Stay calm and be assertive
Scope creep usually happens while working on the project well into the life of the project. Although you take steps and keep communication clear, you’ll likely step into the big jungle of scope creep. When this happens, don’t lose your cool. Instead, have a chat with your clients pointing them to a scope creep possibility.
Be firm, but polite. However, put your foot down and explain why the extra work the client requested cannot be managed with the existing budget.
Use scope creep to your advantage
If your client insists that the extra bit of work has to be done, try to use this to your advantage. Instead of risking a “no”, accept extra work for extra cost.
You could say things like:
“Sure, I’ll work on the SEO for every blog post for an extra $15 per post”
“I’d love to do it. I’ll send out an invoice to accommodate this”
Send out a miscellaneous invoice to reflect the charges for the extra work your client demands of you.
Be willing to fire clients
Sometimes, despite everything you do, your client could very well insist that you accept the scope creep. You have two choices: go ahead and do it anyway in the interest of long-term work or fire the client.
Don’t choose the first option because you’d be training the client to allow scope creep. If you have to, choose the second option and fire the client.
How do you manage scope creep in your freelancing projects?