Finishing a web design project is simple, right? You hand it in; your client is satisfied, you wave each other goodbye, and that’s it.
If you’re lucky, yes, but sometimes, it’s not so easy.
Clients are needy sometimes and any service contract comes with a long checklist of steps to take before you finish the project. By following these rules, you won’t find yourself in an endless loop of ‘What about…’ or contacting your client a few months later because you forgot something.
So here are nine steps for successfully offboarding your web design projects.
1. Send Final Email & Next Steps
For this step, refer to your contract for completion and payment arrangements. Based on proper onboarding, your client should already expect this and know when it’s going to happen.
Send an email to let the client know the work has been completed, the date payment is due and when the work will go live. Make it clear what your next steps are and likewise, what their next steps should be.
Even if you’ve had a verbal discussion, a follow-up email is a great way to ensure both parties are on the same page and to confirm what was discussed. By having it in writing, you will avoid many possible inconveniences later.
2. Collect Final Payment
Referring to your contract, the payment terms should be clear. The client should likely be making their final payment before the work goes live or is handed over. Again, consult and stay respectful with regards to the terms of your contract. Determine the sum the client still owes you and send the final invoice.
At this stage, you can have clients sign-off on the final work and then make their payment. Using Better Proposals is a great way to do this.
3. Schedule & Hold Client Training Call
Once your client has paid you, you should send another email to discuss a training call. Keep the message short, and ask them to schedule the call at their earliest convenience.
In the call itself, you will provide a behind-the-scenes tour of their newly created website. Show them how to edit content and make changes as they use the platform.
Hold the call using video chat and screen sharing. It would be ideal that you make notes before starting this call so that it would be as efficient and informative as possible. The goal is to make your client capable of taking over once you’re out of the picture.
4. Provide Client With Account Details
After the training call, your client needs some final pieces of information before they can start utilizing their website fully. You should send them:
- Login information of any accounts you created along the way
- Images or logos for them to use if they start cooperating with another designer in the future
- A style guide in PDF format which future designers will use
- Licenses for any design templates and images you used in the making of the website
- A client dashboard (or client portal) for them to use in their business
It would be best to send all data in a single message, so they have it in one place for future reference.
5. Post Project Feedback
You want to make sure that the work you’ve put in has been worthwhile, as well as check for any constructive criticism that may improve your future performance.
You should think about the following:
- Are there any gaps? While answering this, keep in mind the original requests and how close the final product came to fulfilling all of them.
- Are the goals of the project achieved? Consider the quality of the finished website, and especially the possible errors that may come up.
- Is the client satisfied? If not, how can you make the changes that lead to satisfaction?
- What did you learn? Try to identify the areas for future development based on the sample of this project.
6. Schedule Follow-Up Contact
Follow-up serves as a reminder that your services are there in case they need any help with the website, after having used it for a while. Of course, those services will be paid for on top of the work you have already done.
Offering website maintenance and support is a great way to continue supporting your clients and maintaining a long-term relationship.
You should do this about 30 days after the wrap-up. That way, they will have enough time to work with the platform you created and gather their impressions about it.
7. Request Testimonial & Referrals
Assuming the work represents future work you want (and you’ve done a great job of course), you want to showcase it to build a larger client base. One of the main reasons you’re not achieving this even though you deliver high-quality designs is – you’re not asking for it.
This is your time to ask!
Testimonials are comments on how well you did your job by your past clients. By collecting them, you’re ensuring any potential clients don’t have to take your word on a job well done. Plus, giving a testimonial takes only minutes of their time. Don’t be afraid to request a video testimonial too!
Referrals are a more direct way of steering clients towards you. Once you decide to ask for them, think of a reward system for clients that refer you to others. It could be as small as a gift card or as large as three months of free website maintenance – it’s up to you.
8. Add to Portfolio or Create Case Study
Whether or not you get a testimonial or a referral, you will need proof of what you made the next time you’re applying for a job. That is why any piece of work you’re satisfied with goes into your portfolio.
Screenshot the website and then optimize the image using Photoshop before adding it. You could also add a text describing the particular project, the work you did and the goals of the project.
You don’t want to gloss over your best work. For this reason, you should create a compelling case study that shows how capable you are as a designer. When creating a case study, you will want to include these five areas:
- An overview of the project at hand
- The context and difficulties you faced
- The workflow you follow when designing
- A detailed solution to any problem you encountered
- The result and testimonials you got
9. Promote Your Work
Last but not least, you should put yourself out there for the public to see what you can do. Here, social networks are your best friends. You could put together a video clip of the before and after work, write up a complete overview, showcase before and after images or before and after results or write a full blog post or case study. If you’ve received a written or video testimonial, this is a great place to add it!
Also, update your portfolio on popular websites. Designers tend to use them, so clients often visit them as well. Remember to ask for permission if it’s an active project, though.
You could also go the extra mile and enter a competition if it’s some of your best work. Either way, you should allow people to see it.
The Bottom Line
This set of steps isn’t revolutionary. Nevertheless, there’s so many of them that it’s easy to forget something important.
Use this offboarding web design clients checklist for a more comfortable journey towards the end goal – another project well done.