11 questions that need to be discussed before starting work

11 questions that need to be discussed before starting work

Few people think about resolving or preventing conflict situations in the process of cooperation before they arise. Very often, not irreconcilable differences and not even the ability of each of the parties to fulfill their obligations lead to problems and damage to relations, but simple omissions, a different look at the “default values”. This small checklist will allow you to avoid many problems when working.

1. What work needs to be done

Not just in general, but in detail. It is important that both parties equally understand what needs to be done and what will be the result of cooperation. The more the better. It is important to fix the volume.

If there is no agreement, the lack of clarity in the interpretation of the volume leads to discontent and conflict. One thinks that the work is not fully done, the other way around, thinks that he has already done more than what has been stated and is being deceived.

2. Deadline for Completion

Accuracy is important. Whether the days off or only working days are taken into account, whether the dates for the execution of the edit and the process of acceptance and transfer of work are included.

What is the beginning of the term? From the moment of transfer of an advance payment, transfer of materials necessary for performance of work, granting access?

Unfortunately, the sides often understand the end date differently. The customer may think that he will receive a ready-to-use result by the end of the term, and the contractor considers that the deadlines are considered until the first option is submitted, and the changes are not included in these deadlines.
Or one counted the working days, and the other calendar days. And working days in different countries may vary.

One believes that everyone works 6 days a week, like himself, the other believes that the holidays are the same! And in general, who can not sleep at 16 o'clock in the morning? There may be conflicts and claims for deadlines.

3. Payment

The procedure and terms of payment, its size, currency. At what rate to count. Who pays the commission of the payment system.

In which case the prepayment is refunded, and in which it is not.

Problems may range from “I think in this currency at a different rate” to “I don’t know what electronic money is, where to send the pigeon?”

More payment methods described here: Freelance and Finance: 5 calculation methods between the customer and the freelancer

There are no pigeons there, unfortunately.

4. Discounts

If you make a discount to the customer - let us know. If this moment is not specified, then the customer believes that he pays the full price and claims normal work to his full height, and the contractor thinks that the customer has become impudent. He made a discount, and he pushes!

5. Work Acceptance Procedure

How and at what time the customer must check the work, in what form to submit comments, within what time frame these comments should be eliminated.

The customer can identify deficiencies for a very long time, moreover, he can not do it himself, but for example the one for whom he does this work. And as long as he did not accept the work, he should not pay for it. So what that six months have passed? He will pay necessarily. As soon as check.

6. Transferring source

Not all works are relevant, but in many cases, some established practices among the performers may be a surprise to customers. For example, the artist sends the model, in addition to the renderers, for some money. The same may apply to the transfer of source codes, fonts and other similar things.

If this clause is announced after the work has been completed, the customer may consider that they are trying to deceive him and receive money over and above the agreed price.


If the customer wants to change the task, refuse to do part of it, or vice versa, he will have an appetite while eating, how to count additional work? How to coordinate the volume?

It is also important to specify new deadlines for completion

There may be a different view of the parties on the revision. The customer believes that he gives additional work, is ready to pay for it, and sincerely does not understand why the artist is annoyed.

The performer, on the other hand, can reflexively perceive such proposals with hostility, as customers periodically understand the refinement as an extension of the initial task without additional payment. This happens more often if you neglect the first item on this list.

8. Using work in a portfolio

The contractor believes that once he has done this work, he can use it in the portfolio. The customer may not be satisfied with this, since he wants to put this work in his portfolio, for example. Or for some other reason, a public demonstration of the work of the customer does not suit.

Directly to the process of cooperation, this usually does not affect, but you can get an angry customer who suddenly found work in all search engines.

9. Share feedback

The customer may perceive the review as an additional (and sometimes the main) reward. Like, he does it only in exceptional cases, as a bonus.

A performer may be assigned a rating on a review, which is important to him.

10. Time zones, working days and working hours

This is important not only for the performer, but also for the customer. It’s not so much to stay in touch, but it’s important that the other side has a clear understanding of when to next contact, when you can ask clarifying questions.

Disagreements in this matter lead not only to tension and the feeling that the counterparty has disappeared, but also to a violation of the deadlines. If the customer comes in contact once every three days, and the executor counted on constant online and instant answers to questions, this could lead to a failure of the deadlines. And each side will assume that the other is guilty.

11. Commit your arrangements

Often people discuss the work by voice or in the mode of video communication. This is more productive than text format, but this kind of communication has an important, in the context of this topic, a disadvantage. The flow of information is great, but the agreements reached are not recorded in any way. Prove after weeks or months to the second side that this is exactly what was agreed is difficult. And remembering yourself whether a specific question was spoken or whether your current position is what you mean by default can also be a problem.

Fix an agreement. It is not necessary to communicate only with text. But transfer to the other party in a text format agreement as they are understood and to get agreement from him that he understands everything in the same way can be very useful.

This concerns not only the initial agreements, but also intermediate ones when the assignment or scope of work changes.


You can also prepare a "fish" which reflects your position on these issues, append variable things there and send for confirmation to the second side. It is not enough just to write it on your website or in your profile on the exchange, you just need to agree on the conditions, and not just read out your own. Some questions require positions from both sides. It is the discussion that makes it possible to identify possible problems and stop them before manifestation.

All this is somewhat routine and looks like a marriage contract, but it allows you to reduce the number of conflicts, reduce stress and increase the pleasure of working as a result.

And yes, it all makes sense if the work has not yet begun. Conditions need to be discussed “ashore”, before starting work on a project or stage.In the course of work, these issues usually emerge in the form of conflicts, and the discussion on heightened tones and damage to relationships is something that I would like to avoid.

Have something to add? Welcome to the comments!

Source text: 11 questions that need to be discussed before starting work