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You’re super excited to kick off a new project with an awesome client! As you begin to dig into the work, you quickly realize that the client’s brand and business need more help than you originally thought.

Maybe you didn’t do a sufficiently thorough job in your discovery meeting or maybe the client did not divulge some of the things they should have. Either way, here you are with an inaccurate scope and you need more budget to solve the problems they need solved.

If you haven’t found yourself in this situation yet, you likely will at some point and there are a few different ways you can approach this issue. Let’s review each of them.

Option 01: Just do the original job.

You can keep your mouth shut, do the job you agreed to do, and move on. (This is the junior designer way of working and not recommended in most situations.)

Option 02: Absorb the extra work, over deliver on the project, and keep the budget the same.

You can absorb the extra work inside of the current project budget and “over deliver” in the eyes of your client. If you choose to go this route, be sure to let the client know that you are adding things to the project just to get them better results. (I have done this many times including fixing bad logos, reworking headline writing, making color palettes consistent etc.)

Option 03: Discuss the recommendations, explain the value, and increase the budget.

You can tell the client this, “I’m really excited about this project and want to do amazing work for you. As we’ve begun working, there are a few things not in our current project scope that we feel could be improved to help generate better results. We would recommend _____________, ______________, ______________, and _______________. If you are interested in having us make improvements to those items, I would love to jump on a call and discuss each item in more detail and work to agree on pricing for those extra items. Please let me know your thoughts. We can, of course, just continue with the project as it is currently scoped. I’m just bringing these things up because we want to deliver the best results we can for your business.”

You can email the above script, however, consider delivering these thoughts in a verbal conversation. I’m always a big fan of talking things through with your clients to help build a trusting relationship and helps you analyze their response and body language.

After the project is scoped and priced and you and the client are in agreement you are limited to one of these three options. I’ve done all of them depending on the situation I’m in. Next time you find yourself in a project that needs a bit of scope increase due to your advisement, choose the best option for you at the time.

Michael Janda

I am Michael Janda, an executive level creative leader with more than 25 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world including Disney, Google, Fox, ABC and NBC. I create books, courses, workshops, lectures and other training materials to help creative entrepreneurs run successful businesses.