Paul Allington, a professional geek with 15 years’ experience, helps businesses become more productive, efficient and profitable. IPSE’s Freelancer of the Year in 2015 and owner of The Code Guy, he is a problem solver and digital engineer.
A project evolved from a simple content website to a sophisticated e-commerce and order management platform, with no change in the overall price.
Having been introduced to the client by a customer who was very pleased with my work, I was asked to design and build a relatively simple content website. The client was happy with the design stage, so I moved on to the build and demo.
As a freelancer, you regularly get asked to make ‘small tweaks’ to your work. When you’re a newcomer to the industry, it’s tempting to become a yes-man, in the fear of damaging your reputation and/or relationship with the client.
So when the client repeatedly asked ‘could you just,’ I didn’t have the confidence to say that changing the layout, colour, sizing and adding extra features was significantly adding to my workload and the value of the project.
As one of my first experiences as a freelancer, I bottled out of broaching the subject with the client. Unsurprisingly, the client was extremely happy with the results, so in that respect the outcome was positive.
However, it taught me to switch off to the phrase ‘could you just,’ as I realised how damaging this sort of client management could be. Now, when a client asks me for extra work, I will give them a quote.
Whilst the client may not have considered the amount of extra work they were giving me with each small tweak, in essence they were asking me to work for free. It’s crucial to gain the confidence to say no and ensure that your time is paid for appropriately.
It’s natural to fear upsetting the client, but often the response isn’t negative – they will gladly accept the quote, learn to value your time, or suddenly work out how to do the ‘extra work’ themselves…