Ask DN: Freelancers, how do you scope your client projects?

over 6 years ago from , Head of Design @ Thesis

Right now, I'm trying to improve both sides of my onboarding process:

  1. Clarity for the client
  2. Safety for me

One sticking point for me has been how to properly write a (not novel sized) scope for simple webapps and websites. On the one hand I'd like to be specific to prevent creep, but on the other I want it to be open ended enough that we can do something cool/better if it comes up in design.

How do you handle this? Examples appreciated!


  • Tyler WanlassTyler Wanlass, over 6 years ago

    Hey Nick,

    After running an agency for a few years I finally landed on a great option for this - fixed priced iterations. We'd do some high level scope work but ultimately we'd bill by the week. We'd give clients a sense of how many weeks a project / app might take. At the end of the day, it was up to the client to keep iteration (polishing) or move on. This put the client in control and made our billing / scope so much easier.

    Happy to share an example doc / contract too if that would help. Shoot me an email, hello [at] tdub.co.

    Update: tons of lovely people emailed me about this. I thought I'd share here too. Feel free to make a copy or download in any format you need!

    Project agreement I've used to land over 250k in contract work


    5 points
  • Rocky Roark, over 6 years ago

    I'm a freelance Illustrator so this might be a little different then what you might do depending on your field.

    I always send my clients a proposal document before we start a project or even sign anything. The document includes:

    • Welcome Message
    • My Process
    • Scope of Work
    • Next Steps

    The Process allows them to see how everything will work out and also allows me to tweak it depending on the client or project.

    The Scope of Work lists each of the illustrations/branding/etc. that I'm going to create for the client.

    And the Next Steps gives them a call to action, either to ask me for more information or to move forward.

    Believe it or not but when I added the "Next Steps" I actually saw an increase in the number of proposals that turned into real projects. (:

    Hope this helps!

    4 points