How to Respond When Clients Ask for Too Much
It’s a delicate situation when your client continually asks for more than what is in the initial scope. You don’t want to offend them, lose the project, and/or damage the relationship, but you can’t let unreasonable demands cost you time and money. Here are five ways to make sure you don’t end up in a tough position:
1. Find out exactly who is in charge of the final cut.
If you’re working on a project that’s being overseen by multiple people, ask your main point of contact exactly who is in charge of making the final creative decisions. When there are several people working on a production, they might have conflicting visions for the video. Establishing who you should be reporting to, and taking directions from, will prevent you from messing up during production or damaging your relationship with the client.
2. Make your contract airtight.
If you don’t want your client to ask more from you than originally agreed upon, make sure you include the number of revisions you’ll be expected to do upfront in your contract. Outline what the process is and what the additional fees would be if the scope of the project increases. You should also establish how you will be reimbursed for certain expenditures as well as how payment will be decided on if the project is cancelled.
3. Explain what goes into extra work.
You can’t ever assume that the person you are providing video for understands the reality of the job. What seems easy to them may actually be difficult for you. If they ask you to do work beyond what is specified in your contract, explain exactly what goes into your job and how their extra request will change the project timeline or cost. Here’s a few things you can tell them depending on what they ask you to do:
Equipment rental: Doing a reshoot or upgrading your gear can be a big hassle, especially if you have to rent equipment. Let your client know that renting a camera requires time, effort, and money. You have to go pick up the gear, test it out, and possibly buy insurance for it if it’s above a certain price.
Video editing: Explain to your client that what they perceive to be a simple change could actually upset the entire project timeline. For example, what they think is a small change in music might mean you have to alter every audio clip. In the later stages of editing a video, moving one clip could change the entire project and result in extra hours of work.
Color correction: Color correction can be more difficult than video editing. It’s subjective due to the way we perceive color, the monitor the video is played on, or the video platform. If your client has a specific vision for the color of the video, you don’t need to ignore it, but if they insist on constant revisions, explain to them that color fixes may not be the answer.
Logistics: You may have to quickly put together car rentals and hotels. Your entire schedule may need to be reorganized. You should carefully see what details you will need to plan out and then relay that to your client. Explain in detail the difficulty of organizing all the moving pieces.
4. Establish boundaries for communication.
If your client gets a spark of creativity after midnight, you should not feel obligated to take their calls. It’s standard procedure to have a meeting or two to discuss your joint vision for the project, but too many phone calls can be a burden. Your client may think that frequently calling with ideas and suggestions is helpful, but you should explain that it can take time away from production and confuse your crew.
5. Don’t give away footage until the payment terms have been decided.
By the time you are transferring files, you should have already discussed payment terms, ironed out details, and signed a contract. However, if you still feel that some details have not been properly worked out, don’t give away your footage too eagerly. If you are using your own equipment and your own memory cards, you don’t have to give your client the footage until there is agreement on how you will be paid.
By Josh Futtersak, Storyhunter Writer