Is it ok to ask a freelancer to do revisions?

You’ve hired a freelancer and it’s all gone smoothly. They’ve stayed in touch and finished the project well on time. The problem is, now you want a few little things changing – maybe that font doesn’t look quite right or that colour scheme just doesn’t have the impact you expected? Or – worst case scenario – they just haven’t followed the brief at all. So what’s the deal with revisions? Can you ask for them or not? Here’s our guide on navigating these potentially treacherous waters.

Negotiate revisions in the contract

Different freelancers have different policies for revisions. In an ideal scenario, you’ll have laid out the terms for revisions in the project contract. Often, freelancers will include a certain number of revisions in the price, but don’t expect 5 rounds as standard. You’re far more likely to get one or two included, but make sure this is stated upfront. Similarly, if you do end up wanting more, decide what the cost will be after this. Remember, this is additional work for the freelancer that will take up more time than they initially allotted. And as they say, time is money.

A contract

Don’t take advantage

Don’t send back the project twenty times with tiny changes, or unspecific changes. It’s a very rare freelancer who’s going to be happy to provide unlimited revisions. You can avoid this scenario with clear communication in the first place. Figure out in great detail what you want and make sure the freelancer knows. Unclear project briefs are more trouble than they’re worth. Don’t say “you’re the designer, you decide”, because chances are you know exactly what you want and when that doesn’t happen you’ll throw a strop.

MyVisualBrief is a good way to articulate what you want in a design, as you’re not just relying on verbal description. You can create a design board which will help you avoid big misunderstandings.

Know what a revision is

Make sure you and your freelancer are in agreement over what exactly a ‘revision’ means. Often, it’s good to have a set process in place. They’ll send over the work, and you’ll have a few days to view it and send back any feedback/changes. This is a ’round’ of revisions.

It’s best to do your revisions in rounds, rather than sending in a slow but endless trickle of revisions while your designer is still in the middle of working. Stick to the agreed times for feedback and send revisions in bulk, rather than changing your mind on a whim and sending the freelancer an email at 2am.

Know what a revision is not

A revision is not you changing your mind over a fundamental part of the project brief and then demanding everything is altered to reflect this change. A revision should not change the scope of the project. They only cover what was already stated in the project brief.

Similarly, revisions should not be huge. If they’re going to massively disrupt your freelancer’s workflow, expect an additional charge, or to be charged an hourly rate for that work.

To: An Annoyed Designer. From: A Bad Client:

Revisions should not be endless. Once more, know ahead of time how many revisions you can expect. Don’t be unreasonable and expect your freelancer to bend to your will on a million tiny issues without being paid more.

A revision also isn’t you expecting the freelancer to draw up twenty different logos so you can choose your favourite. It’s better to work from and aim towards a single concept than ask for lots of different designs. If you want twenty logos, expect to pay twenty times as much. This is where having a clearly defined brief comes in handy, yet again!

It’s also worth remembering that your freelance is an expert in what you’re hiring them to do. If you’re disagreeing with something they’re saying, it might be worth stepping back and considering it a bit more.

The bottom line

It’s okay to ask for revisions. Well, kind of. It’s okay to ask for revisions in a way that’s been agreed between you and the freelancer. That might mean continuous requests for revisions aren’t okay, and that you’re expected to give feedback at specific times. The main thing to keep in mind is that they’re not a free-for-all.

So basically, be reasonable and stick to the contract!