I am currently working on two websites for separate clients and both projects ended up at the same point, a road block being some client input/information is needed regarding content, and I am wondering what others have done to either avoid this event or how they have handled it.

At this point, I am doing what I can on the projects that don't require their input but this is holding me up. I am interested in hearing what strategies people have used to overcome this, aside from patience.


  • Try sending them email stating that you feel like you are at a slow pace in their project because of their slow reply. Tell them is it OK that you put their project aside and accept another project in the meantime until they know what exactly they want. They will either give you some space or get scared and become serious. Either way, you are on the win.
    – Peter MV
    Nov 24 '14 at 11:43
  • @PeterMV: Don’t you want to make an answer about this?
    – unor
    Nov 25 '14 at 12:36
  • @unor There are better and larger answers already. This is just additional hint.
    – Peter MV
    Nov 25 '14 at 12:39
  • @PeterMV I did call them and they told they would get the content to me within the week, however, that was a week ago. I don't think this is intentional but they still haven't sent anything back.
    – matt6frey
    Dec 5 '14 at 4:48
  • 1
    When it's about the content, you should be pushy and ping them the first day after the last day they were about to send something. Be boring as their slowness effects your earnings. Of course, be prepared and have courage to either ditch the client or inform them that you took another project and once they gather work for the full week or two to let you know.
    – Peter MV
    Dec 5 '14 at 7:30

Well unfortunately there isn't much you can do at this stage, most of the tactics come with good preparation.

Client hold ups are one of the biggest struggles with freelancing and is still something myself and a lot of other freelancers struggle with.

The reason clients take their time with feedback or getting content together stems from the fact that they are paying you to provide a service. So they see the project as being on their terms, not yours.

What you need to do is position yourself as a busy person. Never start a project right away, even if you can, because you need clients to understand that the project needs to work to your timescales not theirs. So tell them when you can fit them in, if they want to work with you, they'll wait.

What you can also do at the start of each project is give them a project timeline. So send them over an exported calendar with key dates on where you will be providing comps to them but more importantly when they will need to feedback to you by.

So for example you can say the first draft will be with them by x-date, they will then have 3 days to review and provide you with feedback. So make it clear that they have deadlines as well as you.

How you enforce this is up to you. You can change for any hold ups on their part at the end but I've never needed to do this. Just talk to them (preferably by phone or Skype) as generally they don't even realise what a hold up on their end can do to the project.

Hope this helps in some way. In terms of right now, maybe you can use this time to do a personal project :) or just take some time out for yourself - ah the joys of freelance!

  • Hi Laura, thanks for your response. I gave them a project schedule and have been sending them reports, but I think I made the mistake of not specifying a deadline for them to respond. Cheers!
    – matt6frey
    Nov 25 '14 at 1:07

There are a few strategies I use to minimise this problem.

Some of these need to be put in place before the start of the project.

1. Up Front Deposit

Charging a 50% (or similar) up front fee at the start of the project makes clients take a stake in the project and they are more likely to work towards the conclusion of the project in a timely manner.

2. Contract / Terms and Conditions

Include in the contract or terms and conditions a clause that allows you to invoice for the work completed even if there is a delay in the supply of the content.

With this approach, you get paid on time and can let the client worry about whether the project is completed or not. If and when the content materialises, you can schedule the completion of the project to fit in with any other work you may have at the time.

3. Put Responsibility Back on the Client

Where the client is unreasonably delaying the agreed supply of the content, and assuming the client has appropriate access and skill to do so, or suitable instructions can be supplied, it may be reasonable for you to invoice the balance and leave the client to upload and publish the content and complete the project themselves.

4. Project Variation

Clients often don't realise how long it takes and how hard it is to write good content. There may be an opportunity for you to write the content for them or outsource this work for an additional fee.

5. Charge an Additional Fee if Agreed Content Deadline Exceeded

Unavailability of the content by the agreed deadline may mean extra work for you. If this is the case, you can probably justify charging an additional fee. You could explain to the client that you need the content by a certain date, or an additional fee will be incurred.

6. Restrict Your Availability

Assuming you have other work, you can impose a deadline and let the client know you may not be available for a while after the close of the deadline. For example, it might be reasonable to explain to the client that you have other commitments next month and that they need to supply all the required content within the next two weeks (or similar) if they want the project to be completed this month, otherwise there may be an additional delay.

  • 1
    Hi Neil, I especially like your points 2 & 3. I have milestone payments set and the one milestone is payment after the content is created, which I am realizing if I add the clause you suggest in your second point, eliminates that problem. Great advice!
    – matt6frey
    Nov 25 '14 at 4:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.