So as the title says, how do you (freelancers, or the company you work at) create some urgency feeling so that clients don't take forever to come up with content or to reply to your e-mails? There are some clients that are stretching projects way past their normal development time because they are just so slow when it comes to answering. I present them with a fully developed site with dummy content (if no final content is provided) and clients have CMS access. It seems to be more of an issue at the end of a development cycle when the site is ready for launch, sometimes clients get stuck on minor details or board approvals that take forever and some projects can get stuck for months even when it's a big company...I am not contemplating monetary fines but I'd like to know if you have any techniques to create some urgency feeling.

2 Answers 2


Honestly this is an ongoing issue for all of us, and there are no good solutions. I know you said you are not contemplating a fine, but that's what I've now resorted to after several years of dealing with this. Here are a few things I've tried:

  1. Clear language in the initial contract about the importance of deadlines.
  2. Set up project management software to automatically remind the client of deadlines as they approach.
  3. Weekly reminders/check-ins about upcoming and past deadlines.
  4. Higher-up point-of-contact if things get delayed.

Even with all of these, sometimes money is the only answer to create urgency. I've now added a "project reinstatement fee" for projects that are beyond 1 month delayed due to client inaction. It's up to my discretion to initiate it, and they'll be contacted first to let them know the fee is impending. Basically, it's to put them back in the queue rather than at the bottom. Good luck!

  • Thank you for your answer, it really is something to consider, I just wanted to make sure all of the possibilities are covered before getting to that but I'm sure it's the most effective way.
    – Sergi
    Jun 3, 2020 at 22:17

I ask closed questions and provide what I call "default answer" in case of missing reply.

E.g. "I've use this green color. If you want another shade of green you have 7 days to mail me with your preference" or "I've wrote this text, send me corrections. After 14 days with no replyes from you, the text is considered correct". When client has to provide content you can ask "I need this picture/text and If you provide me in the following days I will upload them for free. After 14 days with no content provided, you accept to receive an 'how to' explaining how to do it yourself at a cost of $$$". (Note: for practical use, it's better to add theese sentences a little more kindness :P they're just examples)

After the time frame you set, the client risks to pay a little fee justified by the fact you have to regain focus on the project.

In a wordpress script of mine a client took 1.5 years to check for correctness. Finally it was correct, but I've to wait so much to be paid and to declare the end of the project.

Now I've learn to use 'default answers'... maybe I wait a little more than claimed and I add a little of flexibility, but even from a legal point of view, I'm more protected (with pec or mail with receipt confirmation or whatsapp messages where you have proof of message read/received).

This way the client has a time limit to act and if he waits too much, he has accepted my 'default answers' so I can ask payments, continue with the following step of the project, ecc. In case of late reply I have to take extra steps or undo/change something and it can require a little extra payment.

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