At some point during your life you have been asked for a favour or asked for one. Sometimes these favours are small and easily achieved whereas others may cause you to travel to space and deliver the sun and several stars! Not for one second am I saying not to do favours but I do believe there are limitations. In healthy relationships, favours can be commonplace and you do these without thinking or with any designs on getting anything in return. When it comes to graphic design or web design or any creative discipline, what happens if you haven’t had a chance to build a healthy relationship with your client…?

‘Favourable’ clients

You’re working on a project and everything is going well, you’re on schedule and going to smash through the finish line with time to spare. All of a sudden you get a phone call or email asking for something that hasn’t been previously discussed and it goes something like this:

“Hey guys, quick favour…”

ALARM BELLS! More often than not when it’s supposed to be quick, it rarely is. Usually these favours are not part of the project proposal/brief or may be something that has nothing to do with the project at all (yes this happens). Clients like to think of you as their personal designer and you do want to give that impression because it shows your commitment to their project. With that in mind, you’re wondering what the favour is and if it really is small you can fit it in, no problem! But if its:

… can you just add an eBay type store on my website?”

*insert confused emoji*

OK, so that example is quite extreme but what do you do if you are faced with such a question?

If it’s a small favour you CAN do quickly then it may be worth it to keep the client happy. The small things can count for a lot when it comes to referrals and future work.
Let them know that you can do the favour this time but in future it may come at a cost because its not in keeping with your agreement. This shows that you are willing to go above and beyond but you won’t be taken for a ride.
Let them know that this favour will impact the time it takes to deliver the project. Outline how long it will take and any costs involved.
If the favour is quite significant you will want to charge for this. Be a realist, we live in a world where most want something for nothing. Your time is worth a lot.
Be firm and use your discretion. Refer to the original proposal or agreement and your T&C’s and don’t feel obliged to do something that hasn’t been agreed from the beginning.
If you don’t explain the conditions of you doing the favour they may keep coming back and asking for more and it will be harder to say no.
Your terms and conditions should state anything outside of the agreed proposal may come at an extra cost and impact on deadlines.
So if you ever encounter this type of situation and need some starting points on how to deal with them, these work for me so maybe they will for you too! These ‘rules’ can apply to graphic design, web design and many other disciplines.

What have your experiences been like? Add yours below and maybe we can create a more comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts.