One of the most challenging things about working with a new client is setting the proper expectations for the relationship early in the game—ideally before they’ve even signed a contract and paid you money.
Unfortunately, the online business space is rife with stories about difficult clients who start expecting services outside of the project scope, start calling or sending emails at all hours and expect an immediate answer, or who suddenly start changing the parameters of the project.
Even though a solid contract can and should include detailed information about what you’re offering and how you deliver, contracts usually come at the end of the sales process, and sending a contract before you’ve even sealed the deal can seem a bit unfriendly and premature.
So is there an easy way to professionally set client expectations and advertise how awesome your business is?
Using a welcome packet—also sometimes referred to as a “work with me” document or a “client magazine” in the wedding industry—is a fantastic way to:
- show off your work (especially if you’re a photographer or wedding vendor),
- break down the deets on cost and what you do (and don’t) include in your packages,
- explain your working process and what they can expect, and;
- wow your client with extra support like helpful articles, resource links, or recommendations for other service providers who might be needed for the project (like flower vendors for a wedding).
But the big question is, what details go in your welcome packet and what belongs in your contract?
Let’s break it down!
Details to include in an effective client welcome packet
The big thing to keep in mind here is that the Welcome Packet is a chance for you to really showcase yourself and your business, and help your potential client realize why you are the right choice for them.
Depending on your preferred method for onboarding, you might decide to make your welcome packet available to any your potential client, or you might it out after they’ve made a decision to work with you, but before they’ve signed a contract or paid money.
So exactly what you decide to include in the welcome packet depends a bit on where in the onboarding process your client receives it, but here are some suggestions:
- A brief, client-focused “about you” that either shows how your business will meet their needs or reinforces why you are the best choice,
- Full descriptions of what services and deliverables are included in each of your packages and descriptions of any extra “add on” services, OR;
- A full description of what is included in the package or service they are purchasing,
- What kind of timeline you follow for each project and what they can expect at each stage,
- When you’re available to take calls, answer emails, and your accepted methods of communication.
In short, the welcome packet is where you establish all the details of your working relationship. It should give your client a good idea of what it would be like to work with you and set their expectations of what you need and expect from them.
Details to include in an effective client contract
This is one of my favorite topics here at The Contract Shop. I’ve talked about everything from using a solid contract to keep your client happy to what you should include in wedding photography contracts.
Basically, your contract should cover all the nitty gritty details of the work you’ll be doing for your client and should also cover any unforeseen circumstances that could arise.
These things are all covered in our contract templates, of course, but if you are using your own contract, make sure it includes sections for:
- What services and/or deliverables you’ll be providing,
- The payment plan and your late fee policy,
- The project timeline and what happens if your client doesn’t get things to you on time, and;
- Intellectual property rights for the work that’s produced (ie: do you own the work you create, or does your client?).
By including all those tiny, mundane details, your contract serves as a final check before you and your client start working together.
Do you already use a welcome packet in your business, or are you planning to implement one now that you know how to combine one with your contract for business success? Let me know in the comments!