You know, I love SEO. I love helping clients, and seeing them achieve results online. I find it very rewarding. As well as that, I love being a freelance consultant and meeting new people and taking on new challenges. This is the very reason why I quit my 9-5 job and decided to start an SEO business.
But as with any business, there’s always a few small niggling issues that seem to be constant, regardless of how great things are. And quite possibly, one of the most annoying issues for me as an SEO consultant are - change requests!
If you’ve never experienced this, prepare yourself, because it’s going to be inevitable. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse or frustrating than having a client continually call or email you demanding continual (and in most cases) completely unecessary or pointless change requests.
Now don’t get me wrong. Change requests are to be expected, and often they can be a good thing – but there’s a difference. What I’m talking about here are clients that make change requests simply for the sake of it. Or at least that’s how they appear.
“John, instead of those 10 keywords I gave you yesterday, here’s a list of 300 that we think could be good…”
“No I don’t like menu structure being on that side of the page, let’s move it over to the other side and down a little bit, and change the wording….”
Can you see where I’m going with this?
For whatever the reason, it sure is annoying, and it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed, ahead of taking on any project. To an extent, its about educating the client, or at the very least raising awareness about the potential implications of such requests.
Scope creep can eat you up.
Change requests, apart from causing potential delays, can lead to what’s known as scope creep. Scope creep in laymens terms means, that the project has no set boundaries, or they keep changing. This can then mean you end up working for what seems to be forever without actually achieving any set milestones. A project or campaign that was estimated to take 3 weeks, is now blowing out to 5 months!
So how exactly can you address change requests?
Firstly, let me say that unless you’re especially talented, that it’s highly unlikely you’re going to prevent change requests completely – it’s simply the nature of the business.
What then, can you do to prevent clients making ongoing change requests and disrupting any potentially set schedules? The answer lies in your seo contracts, seo proposals and signed agreements.
It is absolutely essential that you address change requests in your seo contract, which the client must sign off on before starting the project. In my SEO Business Startup Kit, I include a comprehensive seo contract template that touches on change requests.
It mentions that the
- Project scope will not be modified once agreement contract has been signed
- Direction of project will not be affected in any way due to change requests
- Additional fees and charges may be incurred upon requesting changes to the signed agreement.
This, at the very least lets the client know that....
a) Timeframes will be affected if they make constant changes, which in turn are likely to cause delays, and also…
b) Additional charges will be implemented should they do so.
So what else can be done in order to formalise change requests a little better? How can we take a "quick 5 minute change" request over the phone and document it, as well as invoice for it properly?
The answer is simple -- have the client sign off on a change request document!
Request change, you will not!
This way, you are formally addressing the change and making the client aware that you have no intention of just "doing it quickly" without being paid for your extra time. They either agree to the change, sign for it and pay for it – or it doesn’t get done. Simple.
What I have below is a change request document template. This is quite useful when dealing with annoying clients who cant make up their minds and wish to change things all the time and drive you slowly insane! Trust me, you’ll thank me for having this later!
This document template is yours free, so get started and begin using it straight away, click on the link and select "save target as"
DOWNLOAD THE SEO CHANGE REQUEST TEMPLATE HERE
In summary, I should also point out here that you most certainly don’t want to get into the habit of giving a quick “sure, okay, I can do that quickly for you now” over the phone or via email. Believe me, this is just asking for trouble!
Always use your change request document, unless of course, it the task doesn’t require it.
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