Is it okay to ask a freelancer to do revisions?

Whoa there. Talk about a touchy subject. Revisions, amends, changes, call them what you want – they’re a source of conflict, frustration and division within the freelancer community. If you don’t know how to handle your freelancer-client relationship properly, revisions can end up being a vicious, never ending cycle which can leave both you and your freelancer never wanting to set eyes on each other again.

So, wise up and read our guide on how to ask a freelancer to do revisions:

What are revisions?

For the uninitiated, revisions are the changes that are made at the end of a project. Also called amends or changes. Once the freelancer has completed your project, it’s sent back to you to give feedback. You critique the project, and make a list of everything that’s not quite right, that needs changed or was missed. These are your revisions. These are sent back to the freelancer to change, before the project is marked as formally completed.

This sounds straightforward enough. Why is this a touchy subject?

Yes, however revisions are never quite as straightforward as they seem. There are a number of contributing factors:

Money:

Depending on the payment structure of your project, revisions may or may not be included in your fee. If they aren’t included, you’ll have to pay extra for them. If they are included then you won’t have to pay extra. However, in this situation you want to dial down the number of amends you send to your freelancer. Since they’re not being paid for this extra work, they’ll quickly start to feel like they’re being taken advantage of, especially if the emends are huge or drag on way past the original deadline. You could find that your freelancer loses interest or starts to produce rushed work, or worse – point blank refuses to do them.

Communication:

I’m going to keep harking back to this freelancer-client relationship because it really is key here. The better communication you have between freelancer and client, the less need there will be for multiple, drastic revisions. As the client, you should do all you can to clearly communicate what your project is and how you want it to be.

If, when you receive the finished project, you have tons of revisions, this is a sign that you haven’t been communicating with your freelancer properly during the project. Again, it’s a two-way street so your freelancer really should be doing all they can to show they’re on the same page as you.

revisions-chat-client

Ok, so it’s a simplistic example, but you can see how this situation could be avoided with better communication from both the client and freelancer. The client should be more specific about what they want. The designer should ask the client to be more specific early on, if they don’t get all the information they need to fulfil the task.

Can I even ask my freelancer for revisions?

Good question. The answer is usually yes, but there’s no one-size-fits-all for this. It all depends on your freelancer, the type of project you need and how you’re paying your freelancer. Freelancers are all different and have different ways of working. Check with them in advance.

If you’re paying per hour for your project, you can usually expect any revisions to be charged at that same hourly rate.

If you’re paying a one-off project fee, it’s less clear. Sometimes all revisions are included in the original price. Other times only a certain number of revisions are included. Or, all revisions could be charged separately. So, make sure you ask your freelancer before you commit to hiring them.

If I need to ask for revisions, how do I do it?

Try and send all of your revisions at once. Have good look at your project, and work out anything that needs to be changed. The worst case scenario for client and freelancer is when a client isn’t organised about the revisions they need, and end up drip-feeding the changes over a number of days/weeks to the freelancer.

This means that the project drags on for both client and freelancer. Not that your freelancer is desperate to shake you off once your project is completed, but they probably have other projects lined up that they need to start working on. If you’re constantly sending over change after change, your freelancer will start to get creative fatigue. They’ll begin to get frustrated with you, and start to feel like you’re taking advantage of their time. Nobody wants to feel like this, and it’ll drive down the quality of the work they do for you. You may find that they don’t want to work with you again.

revisions-client-amends

How can I avoid having tons of revisions?

Develop a good relationship with your freelancer. Sometimes, if there are a lot of revisions at the end of a project, it’s a sign that communication between freelancer and client has been poor. Theoretically, if a freelancer has been briefed properly on the project, and monitored carefully throughout, there should be no need for revisions. In reality, this very rarely happens, but if you’re prepared, you can get some damage limitation in place by building a good relationship with your freelancer.

Building a good relationship will help you identify potential problems that can lead to multiple revisions, such as timeframe. If the deadline you’ve given your freelancer is unreasonably short, this could lead to rushed work which needs lots of changes.

It’s also important to leave space in your timeframe for revisions. The last thing you want is to be shouting at your freelancer to complete your revisions as quickly as they possibly can.

Revisions are a part of the creative process. Ask your freelancer to explain more about the way they work, and show you where revisions fit into their process. If you’re aware of your freelancer’s process, this will put you in a stronger position and help you avoid needless revisions.

How do revisions work?

Revisions usually come in rounds. Your freelancer will specify how many rounds of revisions they are willing to do. Ask if they are covered by their fee, or whether they charge extra.

Once a project is completed, the client has a number of days to provide comments and feedback. Once this is gathered, your freelancer will make the suggested changes and present you with an amended project. This counts as one round of revisions.

When is a revision not a revision?

If the revisions you suggest are extremely large and will change the project considerably, they may not be counted as minor revisions anymore. They could be counted as major revisions or new project entirely.

Ask your freelancer about what they consider to be major and minor revisions. Freelancers could have a different pricing structure entirely for major revisions, so make sure you check.


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Vicky
After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design. She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look. Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.

Comments

Vicky

Vicky

After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design.

She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look.

Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.

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