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Changing Lanes in the Middle of a Design Job

What should you do when a client changes lanes in the middle of a design job? It’s happened to all of us, and this question came up recently in our Structure coaching program, so I thought we should discuss the best ways to approach this situation.

Here’s the situation our designer was facing:

The client needs to cancel the project because they decided not to proceed with a new build. Instead, they will be looking to buy an existing home that is either brand new or won’t require much renovation.

The client gave the designer a 50% deposit on the first job. A good amount of work has been done, but not quite 50%.

The designer wants to know which option they should proceed with:

Break down the hours and give them a refund for the work that hasn’t been completed.
Offer a credit to use for design consulting on the next project.
Put it in writing that the project is canceled and the agreement is null and void.

I recommend canceling the contract in writing, making it null and void. This first job needs to be closed before starting the next one.

Now tracking your hours while doing a job is something you should be doing internally so that you’re prepared when things like this arise. You’ll need to create an invoice that shows the deposit amount, how many hours you invested, and what you accomplished during that time. If any deliverables are included in your work, you’ll need to hand those over to the client as a courtesy.

Once you know how many hours you invested, you’ll charge those toward the deposit, and any balance left will go back to the client as a credit for the next job.

You also have the opportunity to offer consulting services while they look for their new home. Once the client finds something they like, they could pull you in to ensure that it will work based on what they want design-wise.

Then, when the client is ready to move forward with the new project, you’ll start from a clean slate, which is the best way to handle these situations. It’s just like when clients want to add on to projects. Those should always be handled as separate agreements to keep everything clear and clean.

Watch the video above to learn more about changing lanes in the middle of a design job.

And, if you’re stuck in the middle of a design job and need guidance, IDBA’s Growth and Structure programs may be the answer you’ve been looking for. The programs are designed to give you answers and information quickly so you can successfully move forward with your job.

If you are interested in learning more about strategies for your business, book a clarity call with one of our coaches.

Until next time, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth.

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