How To Avoid Client Scope Creep

How to avoid client scope creep

Here’s an embarrassing story to tell...

I used to work for free for my clients.

Meaning, I’d do a whole bunch of work for exactly ZERO pay.

And I wondered why I wasn’t earning what I really wanted at the time *face palm*.

Here’s how all this happened…

When a new design client came my way we’d talk about their project and what they needed. We’d map everything out then I’d quote them a fee for the project. Client being happy given everything we discussed and the price - they’d give the nod, sign the contract and pay what we’d agreed.

However, I noticed two things start to happen…

Thing One // Either we’d get part way through and the client would say…

‘Actually, now seeing it could we just add in…’

…and with their extra request being something small (that would take me 30 mins or so) I’d say…

‘Sure, no worries…’

…and go do the thing.

The thing was though those ‘30 min… Can you just…’ requests starting adding up into more and more hours, and because I didn’t want to be seen as ‘greedy’ asking for more money for just ‘30 minutes of work’ - I kept saying yes.

Or Thing Two // The client didn’t have everything they needed to start (even though they thought they did).

For example, they’d hire me to do their Visual Branding and Website yet they didn’t have their Brand Strategy in place (knowing 100% what they did and who they did it for, what their offerings were going to be, what their business goals were...)

Basically the things I needed to do my job so I’d end up coaching them on this for free because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who ‘tricked’ their clients out of more money having now already signed up and paid for the other.

And to give you some perspective, those ‘30 mins here and there’ ended up working out to 8+ extra hours of work.

And to give you some more perspective when I finally figured this all out I ended up charging £1200+ for the Brand Strategy work I did with people IN ADDITION to the Visual Branding and Website Design.

I’d been giving away £1200 plus HOURS of my time, knowledge and experience all because I didn’t want to be seen as ‘greedy’ or ‘tricking someone’.

So anyway, sound at all familiar…?

Try this instead!

Step One // When you create your client contract detail ALL of the different things they’ll receive

For example if you’re doing their visual branding and building them a five page website, don’t just say ‘Branding and 5 Page Website Design, £5,250’ in your contract…

List it out like this:

Brand Strategy : £800

Includes initial Branding Questionnaire to understand your core values plus three Brand Strategy calls to develop the mission statement and messaging of your brand.

Visual Branding : £1200

Includes custom logo, secondary logo, colour palette and font choices, your own Brand Style Guide plus selected photo and texture choices for later use cohesive with your brand.

Five Page Custom Website Design : £2700

Includes five custom web pages - Homepage, About Page, Opt In Page, Sales Page, and Blog (to include five blog posts).

Website Handover Call : £250

After your website is complete, we’ll arrange a 90 minute handover call where I’ll show you how to use your new website and update the parts you’ll need (like your contact info).

30 Days Follow Up Support : £300

If you have any further questions about how to use your new site, you also receive 30 days email support where I’ll answer any other questions you have.

Listing and pricing each stage of the project lets your clients see the all of the value of all that they’ll receive when working with you.


Likewise, when you create your contract at the end add an hourly rate on top of your project fees for any… ‘Can you just…’ moments.

It saves any awkward conversations at the time plus if you client comes back to you at a later date (after your project is complete) wanting some small tweaks, changes or extra assets designing you can easily do them under your hourly fee.

When a client makes a request for something extra that’s outside of our agreed scope I’ll send them something like this as a reply…

‘Hey Client!

Sure we can add in __________ and __________!

It’s outside of our project and what’s already paid for, so this would be completed under my hourly fee of £X.

Looking at it I estimate it’ll take 3 hours to complete.

If you’d still like me to go ahead just holla, and I’ll get to work adding it in for you!

Ruth xo’

^^^ And as heads up, doing both of these things instantly saw my income increase 30%.

So over to you… Good luck!

And go get yourself paid for ALL of the work that you do.

Ruth Ridgeway

Hey, I’m Ruth

I teach designers how to start, grow and simplify their design business.