Dealing with Change in Scope
At the final art stage, if the client comes back with more changes, a new direction, beware. Just when you thought this class was almost over, some other thing that you might have to deal with. How to deal with a change of scope in a project. Okay, so change of scope is any additional work that is not included in the agreement. So most of the time when you take an illustration or design project to final, the whole time the scope remains consistent and this doesn't not happen very often. But now and again for a variety of reasons, the scope of a project grows larger and what you agreed to in the beginning becomes larger. So sometimes scope of change happens because the client changes their mind mid-stream. This is also sometimes why a job gets killed. But sometimes they wanna keep working with you, they just need something to be different, they're realizing what they originally concepted isn't working. The client likes what you're doing so much, they want more of it. The client ends up ...
unhappy with the final artwork, even though a sketch was approved. So, your sketch is also your security. An approved sketch that gets taken to final artwork, but then the final artwork they don't like. That can happen, but at least you've gotten through an approved sketch. So every approval phase you get in writing is really important in the process. A new stakeholder weighs in and everything changes. Oh, we had a new creative director start today. They don't, they're not keen on this. Okay. What to do when there's a change of scope. Stop! Negotiate additional fees before doing any extra work. So, here's one way to handle it. Example one, client is happy and wants more. We love this illustration you're doing we want more for more purposes. Thank you for your kind words. I'd love to do spot illustrations for you, but we'll need to revise the contract to reflect additional work. My fee for spot illustrations is fill-in-the-blank per illustration. Please let me know how that sounds to you and I'll get you a revised agreement. Okay, so thank you. However, you're gonna have to pay me for additional work. Okay? Any time you're going out of scope, it means the contract needs to be revised or updated, even if that's an addendum or an email agreement. Example two, client changes their mind or wants to backtrack. This is a tougher one because you have to be really delicate about how you communicate 'cause you don't necessarily want to sound like a jerk. It looks like we're heading out of scope. I've completed all of the agreed upon elements with your approval at each phase. So reminding them (laughs) you already approved my sketch and you know, seemed happy with it. I'm happy to do additional work or go in a new direction, but we'll need to add an addendum to the contract to reflect the changes, new direction, and additional fees. So, this is just an example of what you could say. That's why you have everything written down in a contract. Pro tip, never throw in extra work for free or without something in writing. Okay? Any questions about going out of scope? Yeah.
This might be a little bit specific, but if you're in a situation where, like for my instance it was like 50% up front and then 50% on completion. And you get like half-way through and they've already paid the 50% and everything is approved and everything is going fine and then they have a personal crisis in their life and all communication drops. At what point do you just write it off and be fine with that? Or do you keep trying to pursue and offer to wrap up the project?
I think that I would give it a couple of tries to try to wrap it up. But unfortunately, if somebody's having a personal crisis and can't give you the attention you need to help give you direction to complete an assignment, it's probably going to be an exercise in frustration anyway, and it's almost like, at least in your case you got paid 50% up front, so that's your kill fee. Right there. All right? And that is one thing you can also negotiate. Especially with, most of the time corporate clients won't pay you up front, but sometimes smaller clients or smaller businesses will give you almost like a retainer. Or an advance to start the work. Sometimes bigger clients will do that too, especially if it's a big project. And I would try to pursue finishing the job because ultimately, as we talked about earlier, you want the thing to happen. You want the project to come to completion. You want the thing to go out into the world. And it's frustrating when that can't happen. But at least in this case you got paid some money for your work fortunately, and hopefully if that hadn't been the case, you could've negotiated a kill fee legally. But that's a tough situation, yeah. And fortunately, probably not that common. 'Cause most of the time, when you're working with individuals that's more likely to happen. Or small businesses. When you're working with a corporate client, if somebody exits the scene, somebody else will take over usually. And I've had that happen, so and so got sick. I'm your new art director. Or I work under so and so, and I'm going to be handling this from now on. I worked on a book project once where I was literally working with five people. So it was great, because if one wasn't available then I could at least email somebody else.
Establishing yourself as a professional illustrator or designer requires a lot of dedication to building skill, brand and visibility. Equally important, yet often underestimated, is the development of client interaction skills. Working with clients takes practice! It’s not easy and it’s not always intuitive. Knowing how to communicate with clients clearly and effectively is a skill that will ultimately set you apart as a professional illustrator.
Fine artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon has worked with over 75 clients around the world, including MoMA, REI Co-op, Harvard University, Martha Stewart Living, Chronicle Books, and Random House Publishing, among many others. In this class she will share the knowledge she has acquired during her successful career, highlighting time-proven strategies for working effectively with clients. She will also discuss common mistakes to avoid when dealing with clients.
Lisa will teach you the skills you need to enter into client relationships with clarity and confidence.
In this class you will learn:
- How to communicate effectively and professionally with potential clients.
- What questions to ask when being approached by a potential client
- What to look for in a creative brief
- How to consider phases and deliverables of a project
- How to consider fee negotiation.
- How to read through a contract.
- How to address change of project scope with a client.
- And so much more...