Scoping projects (the total agreement between two parties on the total work to be done) is important to both the client and the service provider they choose. Whether it be blog writing or plumbing, it’s in the best interest of both parties to scope the job correctly. Why is this?
How Scoping badly can affect relationships
Scoping badly can turn both parties sour toward one another. It’s usually followed by finger-pointing, talk of scope creep, hidden payments and can sometimes cut the working relationship immediately. Scope creep is when the customer slowly adds more things to do without looking to provide payment.
Customers don’t like when they feel they’re being cheated out of money, and sometimes they are. This is because when a job is scoped, the client is paying for the job that’s being presented to them. It can feel like doing more is what the client wants and that it’s justified to ask for higher pay when it isn’t. The customer didn’t agree to those terms.
Sole traders don’t like when a scope is incorrectly done as it feels as if the customer is giving scope creep.
So, what does scoping correctly do?
Scoping correctly shines well on both the sole trader and the work done. The customer and sole trader both benefit from what is essentially a well-thought-out plan.
The client gets reassurance that the service is of high quality and that the sole trader isn’t simply looking to charge more. This heavily assists in future business with that client and building a reputation as an industry professional.
The sole trader benefits from knowing exactly what they can charge. Not only that, but they also benefit from the same excellent business relations as the customer.
How Scoping Incorrectly Affects Cash Flow
Scoping poorly makes for an unhealthy cash flow. This hinders your profits for the price of not doing a small bit of admin. The scope is the agreement of what work should be done, made between the sole trader and the client.
A poor scope means:
- Customers and sole traders disagree easily.
- There will be disagreements on what needs to be paid for.
- The project can run longer than intended.
- Contacts of that customer could lose interest in your business.
Scoping effectively is important when it comes to both customer relationships and maintaining a healthy cash flow. So how exactly do you do this?
Writing an SOW
A Scope Of Work (SOW) is the plan of work that is agreed upon by the client and the sole trader. It’s important to get it right. Keep in mind that all businesses are different, and this shouldn’t be seen as a “one size fits all” plan.
- The Product – Define exactly what it is you are trying to do. It’s best to leave not a single detail out when it comes to this step, no matter how small.
- The Timescale – How long do you need/want this to last. When exactly do you need to finish by or when will the service continue until.
- Milestones – What are the larger goals to hit and take note of hitting. This is important to monitor the progress of a job and should be parts that can be called done. Examples include:
- Taking down old parts of anything to be replaced.
- Finding the cause of a problem in a full plumbing examination and fix.
- Reaching a predetermined amount of articles written for a client.
- The Risks – This step is very important. You need to note down everything that can go wrong at every step. This is what helps avoid scope creep and shows the customer your experience and work ethic.
- Anything Extra – Let the customer know anything else they need on top. Nobody likes surprises, that goes double if it costs them money.
The Difficulties with Scoping
We have a plan, we know the benefits, so why is scoping still difficult. It’s because scoping is a conversation and that comes with its own challenges, especially since money is involved.
Talking with anybody about money is dreaded and difficult. Even when we know that we can ask for it because we have done the work, anxiety gets in the way.
Keep in mind that clients don’t want to part with their money. You need to ask them for payment on extra services and remind them regularly. To help, the invoice24 app can remind you of when clients need to pay for extra services.
Bad experiences can make it difficult to scope projects. This can occur both in general or with a specific client, and the solution is usually a review. Look back on that situation and find what made it difficult. Be critical of yourself and turn a bad experience into a good one.