Little Extras Add Up

give away for freeHow much work do you do for free because you don’t know how to charge for it?

Clients often know what they want. However, additional requests occur along the way. And sometimes, the entire project shifts mid-way due to changing circumstances.

Because you’re a giver, you don’t mind doing a little extra here and there.

“Do you mind doing this for me?”

“I need you to add this in…”

“I have an even better idea…

You prefer to do the one time requests rather than say “no” to a client. That reduces the friction.

Whether it’s a one-time request or an entire project changing course, you end up with work that extends beyond your original agreement. That’s known as scope creep.

There’s an emotional and physical cost to saying yes when you really mean no. You end up spending extra time doing work you don’t really enjoy. As a result, resentment and burn out flare up.

Fortunately, a solution exists.

Your Best Defense Against Scope Creep

Ready to resolve the scope creep issue? Then slow down your on-boarding process.

Follow the lead of auto mechanics. When you drop your car off for repair, the mechanic never immediately lifts the hood and gets to work. Instead you’re consulted every step of the way. You know exactly what needs to get done, you discuss the options and how much the job’s going to cost.

Follow these steps to avoid scope creep and get paid for your work:

1. Consult

Similar to your auto mechanic, you start with an initial consultation. During this meeting you ask great questions to learn about the client’s problem, hear her specific concerns and identify an ideal outcome.

2. Get Under the Hood

Next, you perform a thorough assessment. After the car’s been dropped off, the auto mechanic gets under the hood to diagnose the problem. Give yourself enough time to dig around. Your assessment lets you fully understand the problem and how to fix it.

Note: You’ll be tempted to get your hands dirty and do the work. It’s important to resist that temptation until your client approves the work.

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Clarify the Scope

Once you gathered all the necessary information, develop options which solve the problem. Make sure your recommendations emphasize the outcomes, the thing your client wants to achieve. Include requirements, goals and objectives in your proposal.

By the end of this assessment, you must know the deliverables with absolute clarity. A good strategy to set boundaries in your work is to break the deliverables down to specific tasks.

3. Report Your Recommendations

Once you discover the problem areas, develop three different package options that fix the problem. Then discuss each package with the client.

Based upon the diagnostic, your auto mechanic often gives you a long list of recommendations. Yes, it’s sometimes overwhelming. Together, however, you decide which work to complete now and what recommendations to postpone for a later date.

Remember to clearly explain how you handle new requests, changes or unexpected problems. This sets a boundary.

avoid scope creep4. All Work Gets Approved First

Nothing starts without a signed work agreement. Include what the client can expect from you, your expectations of the client and the project details. Remember to include your fees. A detailed work agreement prevents scope creep from occurring at some later point.

Make sure your agreement defines the process for dealing with new problems, additional requests or tasks while working on the project.

5. Get Started

At this stage, everything’s clearly defined and you explained your process for dealing with unexpected issues. Finally, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

6. Deal with the Unexpected

Things rarely go as planned. Unexpected issues will demand your attention.

When this happens, stick to your process. Explain to your client how this impacts the project. Then lay out your various recommendations and the additional investment for each option.

Things rarely go as planned. Unexpected issues will demand your attention. When this happens, stick to your process. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Use this sample letter for all change requests.

Hi Client,

Thanks for sharing your ideas about how to improve the project. The project’s focus is to (insert outcome).

We’re happy to discuss how (state their request) supports that outcome.

After we talk, we’ll send a revised scope agreement to confirm that you want to move forward with your ideas. The change order includes the additional work, revised delivery time and a price adjustment.

We’ll adjust the project once you approve and sign the revised work agreement.

Warmly,

Your name

The client chooses an option, then signs the updated work order. Everything goes smooth and you get paid for all the work you do.

By the way, never accept work which doesn’t interest you. Instead, refer those jobs out.

avoid scope creep7. The Review Process

Things change over time. Your client’s business grows, their services expand into new areas or they develop new geographical regions.

Meet with your clients quarterly to discuss their new developments and how it relates to your work. Review all required changes during this quarterly meeting. Then revise the work agreement to reflect those changes. After your client approves the changes, she signs the updated agreement.

Saying Yes Can Be a Trap

In a service-based business, work boundaries can blur. Because you want satisfied clients, you get into a habit of saying “yes” to those little requests or quick fixes.

You don’t want to nickel and dime your clients. As you know; however, small requests add up. You end up giving away time without getting paid.

You tell yourself that you will do it “just this once” or “hey, it won’t take long anyway” or “I’m already here, so might as well fix that”.  Create a policy to avoid scope creep. Then stick with it.

Avoid Scope Creep

Address your process for dealing with change requests in the very beginning. Routinely teach your new clients about your process. Clear communication up front removes a lot of frustration later on.

Give it a try. Slow down your on-boarding process. First, perform a thorough diagnosis of the work required. Then review the options with your client. Let her know how you deal with change requests. Finally, get her written consent before you start the work.

Follow these recommendations to avoid scope creep, raise your rates, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE and discover how to create value based pricing.