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I seem to be having the same problem with my projects, particularly my Wordpress website clients. I estimate the time it takes to complete the task but the project gets held up because the client doesn't have all of the content prepared. I understand they might not be able to visualise what is needed of them until the website is in place, but waiting for them to get it all ready really drags out the project and in turn affects my next / other project(s).

Or worse again, they give me half arsed copy that just ruins my design with one line sentences for spaces intended to be full paragraphs leaving these ugly gaps.

How do you prepare the job before actually starting the work so all expectations are met?

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Part of my contact, and Scope of Work, is that I list out what is required to meet each milestone. For Wordpress sites (or any website, really), I layout a task list such as:

The CLIENT must agree to provide the following before the server time is purchased and name is purchased: Authorization in writing from xxxx to pay a fee of $xxx per year in advance

The CLIENT must agree to provide the following before the web site is ready for access: All media assets (pictures, videos, drawings), layout design (agreed upon with me), and text for the xxx page, yyy page, and zzz page.

Failure to provide any of the above will result in delays, which will not be deductible from the agreed price

Have the client initial each section, explaining to him/her what is required and why. If they need another freelancer for part (i.e. creating the graphics when you only do web site back-end tasks), then it is on them to find someone to do it, or ask me for a referral.

Remember, as a Freelancer, our job is to not screw out the client; our job is to accomplish the client's goal as quickly and efficiently as possible. Explaining what you need to get their job done up front helps with communications, and therefore, expectations, placed upon you and future professionals.

I do the back-end stuff for a few websites. I do NOTHING in relation to making something look good, and I explain that. I then offer the contact details of a few people I trust to handle the parts I can't, and offer to connect them to my client. This has worked well for me, as I like working with the other freelancers I recommend, and it allows us to collaborate on bigger projects later on. By telling the client on the first meeting what my area of expertise is, they can make the business decision on how to move on, letting them have the power still.

Did I mention our job as a Freelancer is to sometimes stroke the client's ego? ;-)

  • Thanks for your reply @Canadian Luke! As remote freelancer, I always explain all of the requirements either through email or video call yet they still don't meet me half way in terms of meeting deadlines. I am always completely devoted to giving my clients the best experience they can possibly have by working with me and have a steady freelancing business purely driven by referrals that reflects it..... – cigarette_unicorn Feb 4 '18 at 6:29
  • .... As a graphic and front end designer, I think they expect me to cover all basis and under estimate the work they have to do despite me outlining it both on a visual and written timeline. I am going to try referring them to other people for the areas I don't do such as copy writing. It seems like it might really hammer the point home that it is not my job requirement. – cigarette_unicorn Feb 4 '18 at 6:30
  • All it takes is one customer who thought you are an expert at EVERYTHING seeing you fail at ONE part, and your reputation could take a hard hit. That's why I make it very clear what my skills are, and what the client needs to outsource for me to complete the parts I am good at – Canadian Luke Feb 4 '18 at 19:23
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State clearly in the contract (or any form of written agreement) what your requirements are.

  • content must be delivered on-time, otherwise there is an extra charge for the delay incurred;

  • content must be of a prescribed word count, otherwise there is an extra charge for layout adjustment.

For the second clause, you have to specify the word count early enough (possibly while showing a preview).

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