10 Questions Freelancers Should Ask Clients Before a Project
Set Project Expectations with These Key Questions for Any Prospective Client
Are you tired of diving headfirst into a project, only to realize that the client’s brief is as vague as can be? Whatever your freelance niche, it can be frustrating when prospective clients provide vague or insufficient information, leaving you to decipher their expectations. It often feels like they expect you to read their minds!
Before embarking on any project, it’s crucial to engage in a thorough and insightful conversation with any prospective client. By asking the right questions in this onboarding process, you can gain clarity, eliminate uncertainties, and ensure that both you and your freelance client are on the same page from the start.
By proactively seeking the necessary information during a discovery call, you can mitigate risks, avoid potential nightmares, and align yourself with clients who appreciate and respect your work. So, let’s check out some key questions to ask potential clients to ensure a successful working relationship!
1. Have you ever worked with a freelancer before?
It may seem like a casual question, but trust us, it’s a nugget of information that can be pure gold. Whether you’re a freelance writer, marketer, or designer it’s crucial to gauge whether your potential client has prior experience with the world of freelancing.
Each client is unique in their expectations, and a new client who has never worked with a freelancer might have a different perspective or set of assumptions about how things work.
From a client’s perspective, it can be daunting working with a freelancer for the first time. They may have more follow-up questions about how everything works and are less streamlined to accommodate freelance projects.
This isn’t a problem but by uncovering their previous freelancer encounters, you can better tailor your approach, set expectations, and establish a solid foundation for a successful business collaboration.
2. What is the main goal of the project?
This question holds the key to unlocking the true purpose and vision behind the client’s projects. Sure, maybe the client requires captivating content for a marketing website for example, but it’s essential to understand that you’re not just a small cog in the wheel. By probing into the client’s overarching goal and target audience, you gain a deeper understanding of their business aspirations, not just your part of it.
Are they aiming to boost brand awareness, drive conversions, or establish thought leadership? Knowing the client’s goals allows you to align your creative efforts with their larger business objectives, ensuring that your work contributes meaningfully.
3. What are the specific deliverables?
Whether you’re crafting a captivating blog post or building a shiny new website, understanding what the client expects in terms of deliverables is vital.
By asking this question, you ensure that both you and your client are on the same page, avoiding any surprises or mismatched assumptions.
Finding out exactly what you are expected to deliver means there is no room for confusion or conflict with your freelance clients down the line.
4. What is the project timeline and deadline?
When embarking on a new project, don’t leave the timeline as an open-ended question. Get specific! Knowing the project’s timeline expectations and deadline is crucial for managing your time and avoiding those late-night cram sessions. It can help to use the right freelancer tools to manage the project effectively.
While you’ll want to ensure the project is completed on time; it’s also about setting realistic expectations and determining if you have the bandwidth to take on the job.
If the proposed timeline doesn’t align with your availability, don’t fret! Use this opportunity to negotiate a timeline that works for you both, striking a harmonious balance between delivering quality work and maintaining your sanity.
5. What is the budget for the project?
While discussing budgets can sometimes feel uncomfortable it’s one of those essential questions to ask new clients. Understanding the budget range for the project ensures that you and the client are on the same page when it comes to compensation.
Don’t lock yourself into a commitment until you fully grasp the scope of the project and the financial investment involved.
By discussing the budget upfront, you can assess whether the client’s expectations align with your own and determine if it’s a project worth pursuing. Remember, it’s about valuing your expertise and ensuring a fair exchange of services. So don’t shy away from asking this question; it’s one of those important details that can set you on the path to a successful and rewarding freelance journey.
6. Do you have any design preferences or a specific style in mind?
Asking this question allows you to align your vision with your client’s vision effectively.
By delving into their design preferences and style expectations, you can ensure that your creative genius shines while still achieving the same business goal!
Web designers may want to ask for inspiration website examples from the client or other business-related questions. As a freelance graphic designer, you may want some broader context on what the client is trying to achieve and some basic information on colour preferences or font styles.
7. How will you provide feedback and handle revisions?
It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of how the feedback loop will unfold and how the revision process will be handled.
Will you be dancing directly with the client or through a project manager? Who holds the final sign-off power to make those project decisions?
It can be wise to mention that extra revisions outside of the initial agreed amount may occur additional expenses. Outlining these important details helps you set the rhythm of your work and ensures smooth collaboration with your client’s business.
8. What are your preferred communication channels?
It’s wise to not only determine your client’s preferred channels for communication but also establish clear expectations regarding your availability and responsiveness. In your freelance business, it’s essential to strike the right balance between catering to your client’s communication preferences and managing your own workload.
Are you communicating via email? Slack? Social media platforms? You can ensure seamless collaboration and timely project management.
Remember, your freelancing business involves juggling multiple projects, so it’s vital to establish boundaries and communicate your availability to maintain a professional and efficient workflow.
9. What payment method will you use?
One question that new freelancers often overlook is, how exactly the client pays. It’s not just about the amount you’ll be paid as a freelancer, but also the method through which you’ll receive your hard-earned money! In today’s digital age, secure online payment platforms like PayPal or Stripe have become the norm for handling financial transactions. Read more here on how to create an invoice for freelance work.
However, it’s important to clarify with your client their preferred payment method, ensuring it aligns with your own convenience and security. While some clients may still prefer cash or cheque, it’s worth considering the practicality and ease of online payment options.
10. Do you have any questions or concerns for me?
As a freelancer, it’s crucial to give your clients the opportunity to express any lingering questions or concerns they may have by asking, “Do you have any questions?” This simple yet powerful question opens the floor for your client to voice their thoughts and ensure that all aspects of any client projects are addressed.
By actively encouraging their input, you demonstrate your commitment to transparency and effective communication. It also allows you to clarify any ambiguities, address potential issues proactively, and further strengthen your client’s confidence!
Before You Go
The onboarding process with clients is a critical step that freelancers should not overlook. By asking the right questions and obtaining a clear understanding of the project details, goals, and expectations, you can set yourself up for success and minimize potential issues down the line!
If you’re ready to take your freelancing career to the next level and build your portfolio, sign up for Revolancer Beta today and join a community dedicated to empowering freelancers with the tools and resources they need to thrive with bartering and service exchange.
For further reading, check out the Best Online Freelance Job Ideas for Students and How To Grow Your Freelance Business Without a Budget.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer