What to do When Your Copywriting Brief Changes

January 15th 2013       Sally Ormond       copywriting contract, Copywriting proposal, copywriting quotes, providing a quote, what to do when a client moves the goal posts

It happens a lot – you meet a customer, spend an hour or so with them taking a detailed brief, then you produce a proposal and quote outlining exactly what needs to be done (as agreed during your meeting), your customer is happy with it, says Copywriting proposal contract‘yes’ and you get started.

Then, just as you’re nearing completion they either move the goal posts or announce ‘no, I want it written like this…’, which is the complete opposite to what was discussed and agreed during the meeting.

What do you do?

Get it in writing

Make sure you always provide a written proposal and quote. That way, when your client changes their mind and you announce that that means the quote needs to amended, they can’t quibble (OK, they probably will, but at least you can show what the original quote covered and that the changes will mean more work on your part).

Even if they do a spot of negotiating after receiving your quote, make sure the final price that’s agreed (and what that will cover) is confirmed in writing; either in an email or a revised quote/proposal document.

So, what should be in your proposal document?

Details such as:

  • The aim of the project (what your client wants to achieve)
  • Your fee and what it will cover
  • Your hourly rate that will be chargeable for further meetings, additional rounds of amendments (beyond those that are included in your fee), which will cover you if the customer changes their mind and what’s extra work done
  • The services you will provide your client based on the brief they provided
  • The information your client agreed to provide you
  • How the work will be carried out
  • When the first and subsequent drafts will be emailed to your client
  • How/when the work will be invoiced and how payment is to be received

If you don’t have all  that in writing, you could struggle when they announce they want something different to what was originally agreed. This way you both know where you stand and what will happen if extra work is needed or the original brief is changed after the work has started.

Be professional

All of that might sound like a lot of hard work, but remember you are a professional copywriter and as such should work in a professional way.

Plus, can you afford not to adopt this method?

Be honest, how many times have you agreed to extend the work you originally agreed to because you had:

  • No way of proving what you thought had been agreed because nothing was in writing
  • You and your client had very different ideas about what was agreed
  • You felt awkward asking for more budget when your client changed something about the brief of the project

A detailed written document that outlines clearly the scope of the project, what you expect your client to provide, what they can expect from you and your fee and what it covers, will be worth its weight in gold.


Tags: copywriting contract, Copywriting proposal, copywriting quotes, providing a quote, what to do when a client moves the goal posts
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