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When to offer extra services to your design clients

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Have you ever started working on a design project for a client, only to realize that they need a lot of design work done in more than one area of their business?

For example: I was hired to design a web site for a local entertainment center and realized that they also needed a whole new branded look including business cards, flyers, and (of course) the web site that they hired me to do. I realized in that moment, that I needed to upsell this design project.

So when was the right time to pitch the idea of doing extra work for them? (I’d love to hear what you have to say.)

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As for me, there are two options:

Pitch extra services at the beginning of the relationship

There are a few advantages to this option. First, if you pitch to work on these from the beginning, you can do more work with less effort, many times. For example, you can create the background for a web site and use the same background for a business card. When deciding on typography you keep in mind that it needs to read well in print and on the web.

You’re also guaranteed the extra work from the get go which gives the client less opportunity to change their mind or drop you altogether.

On the negative side, many clients are hesitant to offer you complete control over their branding and design work when they don’t know you very well. If you design a killer website for them, however, they will be more willing to trust you with further design.

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Pitch extra services at the end of the project

I personally like to pitch extra services at the end of a successful project. Right at the moment when they are most pleased with your work (usually when the site goes live or the business cards get printed), pop the question. Request to help them with more projects.

The best part about this strategy is you’re using their emotions to help them make a decision. Work hard, be pleasant and get along with your client during the design process of the  initial project, and you will find they are more willing to hire you for more work.

The down side of this option deals mostly with finances. If they run out of money on the first project, they won’t be hiring you for more.

When you do you pitch extra services to your clients?

Is there a prime moment when you try to pitch extra work to your design clients? What moment works best for you? Share with us by leaving a comment on this post.

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About Preston D Lee

Preston is an entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, and the founder of this blog. You can contact him via twitter at @prestondlee.

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  1. I will outline additional projects under “Optional” services in my inital proposal and 75% of the time the client will ask to add one or two to the current project or they come back later to do it.
    That way I can address things which could be done without saying “you really should revamp this”. Certainly ends up adding to the original scope of work!

  2. Great timing on this article! I have a web project wrapping up that everybody is excited about (including myself) and collateral to match might just go over very well!

  3. I think this is different in my country, business owners tend to think that when they hire you to create a website you will also have to create business cards, flyers, SEO of the site and other graphic related stuff. Even though it’s in the contract (like Heidi said), they call it “extra service package” that they’ll ask to have for free.

  4. When we are coming to the end of a project we discuss extra design related services to our clients but never during our first project.

  5. I’d just like to add something. Always go on and design your work in high res first (you can always save a web version) and choose things that will work in print also (such as type), regardless of whether you end up doing the extra work or not. It will save you extra steps later and there’s a good chance your customer will end up asking you for a high res version of something you’ve done for another use later on.

  6. I try to show everything that can be done from the start. If I do a logo, I show how they would look on every product they may pus too their clients. Even if I focus on the job the client contact me for, at the middle of the project I get the following statement: “I thought about your proposition last time that we meet, could you show me how they would look?” and my job here is done.

  7. I will generally put the extra stuff on an estimate in the beginning, but if there are things that come up throughout the process, I will offer the services as I find out about the need. For example, I am currently designing a website for a client, and as we were going through the navigation strategy meeting, I found out that they were going to have an annual report button, but they’ve never done their annual report. I just casually added…I could design that for you.

  8. Thanks for the post. Actually I have never put to consideration to propose additional services, related to the project

    I will try that next time.



  1. […] So when was the right time to pitch the idea of doing extra work for them? (I’d love to hear what you have to say.) […]


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