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When You Suspect the Customer Might Be Wrong

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Clients always have an idea of what they are looking for. Ask them if they have seen something similar to what they want you to do for them. It may take a combination of solutions that they have seen to bring the project to fruition (If they could buy it off the shelf they probably would have).

Some clients will agree to anything and then complain simple to renegotiate the price after the fact. Don?t let yourself be sucked into this trap. Always present your proposal in writing. Specifically detail every aspect of your proposal. Do not begin a project without a signed contract and appropriate upfront payment.

I like to use a multi-stage development process. I begin with a general design which includes layout/color scheme and indicates tools/features. Once the user interface has been agreed to, I proceed with connecting the general functionality and present a working model to the client. Hopefully any changes/corrections can be intercepted at this point. If the client approves I then collect additional payment before continuing with the final version. When the project is complete I make a version available to the client for final testing. Upon acceptance of the completed project (use a written Acceptance Statement and get it signed) I collect final payment prior to releasing a ?live? version. The client then has an additional ninety days to find quirks/problems with the solution and if it was covered in the original proposal it is fixed with out additional charges.

If I have concerns with aspects of the project I will discuss them prior to submitting the proposal and place those concerns within the proposal. Additionally I list options in the proposal to address those concerns including price changes whether +/-. Each option has a checkbox and a place to initial to indicate its acceptance.

The proposal is not one sided. I include time frames for project progress, quality and professionalism. The proposal includes caveats for signing and NOT signing as it becomes a contract upon authorization. No proposal is presented without this paragraph - ?Changes or additions to services listed in this proposal will be charged separately and in addition to service fees outlined in this document?.