How to stay on Budget?
The infamous “B” word. Web design free lancer love to stay on budget. As a matter of fact, blowing the budget could mean the difference from keeping your door open, and having to close shop. What are some ways, in which, I keep my projects on budget.
The first stage of my design process centers around discovery. In my discovery stage, figuring out all the features and functionality is outlined. Pricing plugins and memberships is such a huge part of the discovery stage. Doing some cost evaluations, and making sure the project makes sense from an economical standpoint is critical.
Communication – Client Responsibilities
While most of the responsibilities lay with the designer. It is very important to have a conversation with your client. Discuss your expectation. Who is the target audience? Are you going to have some sales funnels for the target audience? Who is going to be responsible for the sales funnel, especially if you are planning on using a third party software. What is the goals and objectives of the project?
Make sure to write everything down, prior to beginning the design and development stage. From my experience, most clients do not push boundaries during the discovery stage. However, once you begin to build out the design, then you will notice some clients will ask for more and more. Remember if eCommerce is not included in the discovery, then why are looking to add woocommerce to the project.
Communication – Your Responsibility
One thing that I tell all free lance web designer, “You are the project manager on all your projects.” If the client wants to push the boundaries and add more functionality, then you will need to assess the functionality and make adjustments to the cost of the project. That why is it very important to have everything written down, prior to beginning the project.
Talk to your client. Set up target dates and conduct regular meetings to discuss the project. I use Asana , which is a great software. Setting up target dates and providing feedback to the client really helps to keep everyone on the same page. Holding regular meeting is also very important. Allow your client to provide feedback, but remember feedback is not change of scope. And if your client wants to explore making changes, then make sure you outline cost of the changes. Do not forget cost of plugin and labor (how long this is going to take you to add). This might even add to the launch date, so factor in if this will cause a delay for a future project.
Blowing out the budget really centers around lack of communication. Make sure you have everything written down. Any changes proposed or suggested by the clients, need to involved a conversation. You need to advise the cost of the change (plugin and labor) and how it can effect the project. If the client is fine with the change, then submit an invoice (do not allow a change of scope to be paid at the conclusion of the project) and add it to your project manager.
Image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon.
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