Recently on LinkedIn, a customer sent me her request and below was my answer.

Recently I’ve had a few logo design projects where after the client has nearly chosen the final design they start asking to see an endless amount of revisions. For example, « add a mountain », « bleed the initials out of the box », « bold this, italicize that… » etc. One client had me making these kinds of « tweaks » for literally four months. My proposals clearly state how many revisions are included in the budget so I do get paid hourly after the changes go beyond the estimate. The larger issue though, is the feeling that the project has run out of control and I am now a production person at the whim of everyone in the client’s office who has a bad idea. Does this happen to anyone else? How do you get it back on track?

Well I think everyone agrees that customer’s satisfaction is our goal. But here is how things work: every time somebody works, he has to be paid. Period!

Artistic/conceptual vs. « mathematical »

Artistic/conceptual works are not « mathematical » work. If you ask me to carry you from point A to point B, there’s no debate, the task is clear and if there is a problem, the court will refer to the (oral) contract.

But for design tasks, unless you settle boundaries and terms of contract, you’ll become customer’s slave. Some says it’s about customer relationships… A person who doesn’t pay you for your work, is NOT even your customer technically, it’s a crook. I mean…

This is business!

Second, we’re in business, guys. There’s no feelings, no sentiments, no goood thoughts. If someone can use you for his own profit as long as he can, he will do it, regardless of your « smile » and good intentions to please him.

I’m also reading that you are establishing things and offering unlimited revisions. Yeah… You not only have time to do that, but enough money to pay your bills (whether as entrepreneur or freelancer), don’t you? Just imagine having such customers, let’s say 5 in a month, how will you cope with their moods? How will you pay your employees or even yourself? Come on, most people in this domain field are working as freelancers and even if they want to please customers, they also need money to live.

How things work

So the process is simple:

1. Ask customers what he WANTS (he can use other works for inspiration).

Agree on the the number of MODIFICATIONS/REVISIONS. Make sure he AGREES with these terms through a signed contract or at least an email as proof. Satisfaction depends on each one of us. Things you like today, you may not like it tomorrow. So, the best way to express it, is to ask the customer what he wants. After, you’ll tell him « hey buddy, I signed a contract to fulfill your satisfaction at time A. If your satisfaction changes at time B (after all modifications), we can still sign another contract« .

2. Work and DO your best as possible

Following customers’regards and deliver.

3. Offer REVISIONS according to contract

Always considering customer’s requests. A serious customer will make no problem. If he still wants modifications, he will understand that he has to pay for that. A dishonest one will try to all kind of tricks to make you work for him. Such people, by the way, don’t even know what they want, that’s why they turn around your work, changing things every day.

Remember, you are NOT his employee. You are dealing and talking business. Full stop. Let him not think that he can play with your time and energy just because he promised to pay you just for the work. Folks, it’s better to have 1 or 2 contracts at the end of the month than having 10 and keep on working and re-working, without being paid and never achieving any one of them (which is also psychologically frustrating). This is real life, business, not Church where people are called to be helping each other.