A freelancer's guide to handling client feedback

A practical guide to handling positive and negative client feedback

It can be daunting wondering what response you'll receive for the work you've produced: will your client be happy? Will they want to make lots of amends? Either way, feedback is inevitable. But what's most important is how you handle it.

In this guide

handling feedback as a freelancer

How to prevent scope creep and endless rounds of amends

Define the project goals

Scope creep is where little extra jobs start getting added to the scope of your project as its underway. "Could you just add…", "Can you also include…" are usually how scope creeping request begin. To prevent unwanted scope creep discuss in detail and define the project goals (and boundaries) before starting any work or taking any payments. Making sure you and your client have the same expectations will mean you there are no nasty surprises when it comes to your feedback.

The 'setting boundaries' section of our guide to effective briefing might be a useful thing to read if you're having an issue with scope creep.

Be upfront about how many rounds of amends are included in the price

Some clients will expect any changes to be included in the price of the project, some freelancers will charge extra for each revision the client asks for.

There's no wonder revision requests can cause a headache and leave a bad taste in the mouth for either side if not managed properly.

Including your revision policy in your application or in discussions before starting the project means that both you and the client know upfront exactly what they're getting and what could be an extra cost.


Even if you produce great work you could still lose points if the client has really struggled to get hold of you. There may be information they need to give you that affects the scope of the project or they may be new to the world of freelancing and just need a little assurance the work is being done and on track for the agreed completion date. A quick message will put them at ease and show you're organised and focused.

Handling negative client feedback

Don't take it personally

If you define your project goals, give a clear revision policy and communicate throughout the project you're going a long way to making sure you have a satisfied client; but if a negative comment does come your way try not to take it personally.

They're very unlikely to be making a personal dig at you or your work and although it can be easy to feel deflated after putting your heart and soul into your work, this is your chance to learn from any mistakes and (believe it or not) build your confidence in your work.

Focus on the solution

When you receive negative feedback it's very difficult not to focus on...the negatives. By focusing on the solution, not only will you show your client you are proactive and dealing with any issues head on but you are also building more confidence in yourself and tools to eliminate this happening on your next project or with your next client.

Learn from the experience

You may feel you didn't do anything wrong and you just had a difficult client so there is nothing you could have done about it. This could be true but when you look at the experience as a whole you're bound to be able to see some things you could have done to help the project go more smoothly.

Whether it's communicating your expectations more clearly, keeping a written record of agreements in the messaging system or even taking on the wrong type of project for you there are always things to take away and build on.

freelancer project messaging
Project messaging screen example, with personal details blacked-out

Using positive feedback

Enjoy it!

It's so easy to let life rush by without giving our achievements the recognition they deserve. As a freelancer you may well just be focusing on the next project and fail to take time to appreciate that you have contributed to your client's business by providing value, skill and expertise.

Build your reviews

A great review or recommendation is worth a lot. Not only does it give you a nice boost and show your client's appreciation but it also gives you an opportunity to share your feedback to promote yourself.

Good reviews get you noticed and makes you more likely to be picked for projects with old and new clients.

If you know your client is happy with the work but they haven't completed your review yet, give them a little nudge and let the compliments roll in!

freelancer reviews
Positive reviews show on your profile and help you appear in 'find a freelancer' searches.

Other Resources

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Working with higher value projects

As your business begins to expand and you work on higher value projects, you need to work out ways of protecting yourself.

Tax tips and advice for UK freelancers

Lower your tax bill by following these practical tips and avoiding common mistakes. Written in partnership with FreeAgent.

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