When you work in web development, the devil is in the details. Due to inadequate explanations of the services being provided, the process and the costs involved, misunderstandings often arise. These misunderstandings can lead to unhappy clients and even costly lawsuits. Thus, we have compiled this list of the top five things your clients need to know before you start work to enable you to prevent some of these disputes.
Here are the top 5 things your clients need to know before you start work:
- What services you are providing. This seems like a no brainer. However, if you are stating that you are providing a website, this is insufficient and you are leaving yourself exposed to liability. You should explain what pages the website will contain, what functionalities you will be building and what plugins you will need to purchase to make it all happen. You should state what services you will be providing, if any, after the website is complete. For example, will you be providing a hosting or a maintenance plan? Finally, you should state what services you will not provide. For example, some web development shops choose not to launch the website but instead transfer the files to the client.
- How much the services are going to cost. You should state the final project cost. Furthermore, you should also state the breakdown of hours you will spend on the project, how much you will charge per hour and how much you charge for extra work that is not included in the original work. If you have tiers for mid-level developers versus high-level developers, you should state that as well. Finally, you should state the cost for any rush orders or work that must be completed after work hours or during weekends.
- Who the client will be communicating with and how. The key to a successful client relationship is communication. If the client does not know who to call or is passed around from person to person, confusion and disputes are likely to ensue. Therefore, it is important to define, at the very beginning, who the client’s point of contact is and give the client their contact information. Furthermore, you should define the preferred mode of communication such as e-mails or phone calls. Finally, you should set weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with the client where you will update them on the progress of the project, discuss any issues and ask any questions that you may have.
- Explain your process. Even though most web development shops follow a similar process, most clients do not know what this process is. This lack of knowledge causes much confusion and frustration during the project on the part of the client. To help mitigate this, you should explain your process in detail so that your client knows what the stages of the project are and how this project will progress into a finished product. You should connect each stage of the process to some type of timeline for this specific project. At each client check-in, you should remind your client at which stage of the process you are in and what stage is next.
- Explain to your client what he or she should do if they do not like something. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing a website that you think your client loves only to have them tell you that they actually hate the layout. This happens because the developer does not encourage the client to tell them immediately if they do not like something. To ensure that the finished project is what the client wants, you should explain to your client the fact that they should contact you immediately and tell you if they do not like something in the project and explain to you why.
These tips, combined with a software development contract, will help you ensure that your clients are happy and will lessen the likelihood of disputes and costly lawsuits.
Thank you for reading!