Your client project is officially coming to an end.
You’ve finalized revisions, your client is pleased with the final outcome, and you’re ready to stick a fork in it because it’s done!
Not so fast, my friend.
Before you wipe your hands of the project, there are still some offboarding tasks to complete to make sure you end things on a good note.
Everyone’s offboarding process looks a little bit different, but today I’m giving you an inside look at mine.
My hope is that you’re able to glean a thing or two from my system that makes your offboarding process a little easier on both you and your client!
Before we dive in, these Elle & Company posts on client process might be helpful for you:
- An Inside Look at My Client Onboarding Process
- How to Ensure Clients Stick to Your Project Schedule
- Ellechat Recap: Streamlining Your Client Process
- 5 Tips for Improving Client Communication
1 | Prep files
Now that the final designs are finalized, I take time prepping the final files for my client.
I make sure to outline both text and strokes in Adobe Illustrator to maintain proportions and ensure that the text won’t get replaced if my client, printer, etc. hasn’t downloaded the correct fonts on their computer when they open the file.
For logos, I create one file with multiple artboards to keep everything in one place.
Once the artwork is good to go, I save one native Adobe Illustrator file and 3 small, medium, and large transparent .png files for each logo variation.
I choose PNGs because they allow you to have a transparent background. If my client wants to place their logo on something other than a white background, a transparent PNG ensures that they won’t have an obnoxious white box it.
And I save it in 3 different sizes to give my clients more versatility as they use and implement all of the components of their new brand.
I do the same for borders, icons, collateral items, and any other brand elements that I’ve created for them.
I also give my clients access to all of the (cleaned up) Adobe Illustrator files, just in case they need the vector files for something in the future.
Steps like this can be monotonous and not-so-glamorous, but they’re crucial to finishing well and making sure my client receives what they need and what they paid for.
2 | Send the final invoice
You want to think the best of people, especially after they’ve trusted you with their brand and website (or whatever type of project you’re working on).
But I’ve run into some sticky situations in the past where I’ve handed everything off to a client, sent them the final invoice, and never received a final payment.
Granted, you probably have a clause for prompt, complete payments in your client agreement or contract, but it’s best if you can avoid this situation altogether!
So before I hand off the final files to my client, I make sure to send their final invoice through Quickbooks.
This is already scheduled in the timeline so they know when to expect it, and I remind them that this invoice must be paid before I hand off the final files.
3 | Upload final files in a shared Google Drive folder
Once the final invoice has been taken care of, I upload all of the final files to my client’s shared Google Folder.
I create a subfolder called “Files” and add more subfolders inside for the different types of files (Collateral, Fonts, Logos, Process, etc.) to make them easier to find.
The great thing about Google Drive is that I can drag and drop the files from my computer right into a folder. And give my client access to just their folder and not my entire Google Drive. Super easy and convenient.
4 | Arrange Skype meeting to review files and website
The great thing about running an online business is that I’m able to work with clients all over the world.
The downside is that we usually can’t meet up in person to review the final files and my client’s new website.
Thankfully I’m able to screenshare on Skype and Google Hangouts, so I always arrange a final virtual meeting on whichever outlet is best for my client at the end of the project.
I go over the files I’ve added to the shared Google Folder so they know how to access it, I show them around the back end of their website, and I answer any of their remaining questions.
These meetings usually take anywhere between an hour to an hour and a half, and I record them using QuickTime so they can refer back to them later.
I add the video recording to their shared Google Folder for easy access (but because these are often large .mp4 files, this step can take a while!).
5 | Send a final thank you
I love surprising clients with client gifts throughout the design process, and figuring out a final thank you has been on my to-do list for a while now.
Because I work solely on brand and website design projects, I think it might be fun to send them a stamp with their new logo along with branded stickers and stationery.
I’ve also batted around the idea of an ornament around Christmas time with their new logo.
Whatever I choose to go with, I always try to include a handwritten thank you note as well.
Gifts are a fun, unexpected surprise for clients that make them feel important and valued. They also end the project on a positive note!
If you have any creative ideas for client gifts, feel free to share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them and give others out there ideas as well!
6 | Celebrate with a portfolio blog post
The last step in the offboarding process? Celebrate all your hard work!
I like to celebrate the launch of my client’s new brand and website by sharing a portfolio blog post that walks through the process from start to finish.
You can see the above blog post here: New Brand + Website Design for Full Circle Photo Project
Not only does it showcase my work in a non-salesy, organic way, but it provides more exposure for my client because I link to their website and draw attention to their new brand on my blog and social media as I promote the new blog post.
Because many of my clients find me through these portfolio blog posts or are familiar with them, they’ve become an expectation and clients look forward to them at the end of the project!
They always ask me when the post will go live and share the link on their social media accounts, too. So these posts provide really great exposure for both of us.
It’s easy to start a project with a ton of excitement and motivation, but the way you finish a project can make all the difference.
My offboarding process isn’t revolutionary, but the steps above can help you leave a positive lasting impression on your clients.
What does your offboarding process look like? Do you include any steps that I haven’t mentioned in this post?