We felt like the best way to tell you about our process is to do a Q/A so without further ado, let’s get into it.
How many projects do you take on a month?
We take on a maximum of 2 branding projects and 2 website projects per month, and usually up to 4 smaller custom graphic projects. By working with no more than 6 clients at a time, we are able to ensure each project receives our full attention and provide us adequate time for research, design, and feedback while still giving us a little flexibility in case of any emergencies.
Our process is the same no matter how many people we work with.
So we signed a contract, now what?
Once you sign a contract and paid your deposit, we put your project on our calendar. We generally start all larger projects on Mondays unless we are doing a back-to-back project with you or you are a regular client.
The next step is we want to be very clear on your start date and your end date. We have learned this the hard way. When we first started Rooted Design, if we didn’t give a definite end date, we could be a month or two over our deadline, resulting in us not being paid and our patients wearing thin since the client was not prioritizing the project. So now we give a definite start date and end date, on the contract, on the invoice, on the quote, with reminder emails, so everyone is clear that we are starting on X date and we will finish on X date. If the project extends past the end date, we will discuss an adjusted project rate and set a new project end date. If we didn’t do this, it would impact other clients who have signed and are ready to move forward with their project. So we like to stick to strict schedules so everyone is happy.
For all larger projects and sometimes smaller projects, we will tell you a date for when your first draft will be ready for review. We mark the date on our calendar and will move heaven and hell to make that.
For branding packages, we give a 7-day turnaround on our designs, so if the project brief gets signed off on Monday, we will present the next Monday. If we don’t hear back until Tuesday and the project brief isn’t signed by Thursday, we will present the next Thursday. A delay on the client side has a direct impact on the timeline and vice versa, so we do not rush a design to present on Monday if we haven’t gotten a sign-off until the Thursday prior. If you take your time to reply, life got busy, it’s totally fine, but it will impact your deadline if you have one coming up. There are some circumstances where we may bust it to make a Monday deadline, as we do like to go above and beyond, but if it’s simply because you didn’t prioritize your workload, then it most likely won’t happen. This process is the same for our websites except it’s either a 2 or 3-week turnaround on your proof date.
Feedback round …
When we send you your designs, we will set a feedback turnaround time. At the bottom of your proof email we will write something like:
“Please return feedback within 3 business days either in 1 x Word/Google Doc or 1 x email. Let us know if you have any questions.”
While we are waiting on your feedback, we are generally working on other projects, writing blog posts, or creating something for Rooted Design.
What happens if a project gets behind …
As much as we plan, schedule, and prepare, things happen, so we have to adapt and look at our options to move forward. We generally list your options out in an email and try and take as much emotion out of it as possible, which is tough, but we are running a business so it has to be based on facts. We have X amount of time in the day/week/month and have X amount of clients we are also working with. At any given time we may have X number of clients on a waitlist and we only have so much wiggle room to work with a cancellation, postponement, or scope change request. So we factor this in when we go back with the options and consequences of the change request.
Usually, we will tackle consequences first to shed light on how it affects the project. Next, we will lay out the client’s options. For example, a client wants to postpone their project because they haven’t provided a lot of the content needed for their website:
Option A – We restart the project but it will have to be a month later instead of a week as we are now booked out. Restart fee will be $$$
Option B – We start the project as scheduled with what you have but on the condition that when you do finally get the other content to us, we may miss your deadline because of the delay and there may be $$$ fees as we will be out of scope
Option C – We work with the content you do have and you will just need to add in your finalized content after the project has wrapped up/when you have it and understand you’ll be signing off on a site that may have placeholder text and or/imagery
So that’s usually how we handle any change requests. We will outline the consequences of what will happen if they want to proceed down this path and then lay out the options as best we can. It changes person to person and project to project, but generally, any sort of change after a project has been agreed upon and scoped for will impact the deadline as well as the investment.
We know life happens and of course if suddenly a family member gets sick or there is a death in the family or a traumatic life experience etc then we will always be flexible as long as communication is open and honest and you let us know as soon as you can.
Our promise to you, the client
Never miss a hard deadline because we manage our time well
Always go above and beyond where possible because we value and respect the investment you made in us (and the time you may have waited to start your project)
Never ghost or disappear without any form of communication because we value open communication
Never overcharge or throw out ridiculous fees because we take the time to scope the project requirements and are transparent about what things cost and what may incur additional fees
Always provide thoughtful and purposeful design because we have planned for the time to generate this