How to Give Yourself a Bonus Day (and Get Clients to Love You)

bonus-dayUnder-promise, over-deliver. We’ve all heard that before, but how often do you actually apply it in your freelancing?

We promise ourselves that the next time we get a project, we’re going to go beyond our clients’ expectations. Then the car breaks down or we get a cold and the next thing we know that project is delivered just like all the past ones–squeaked in just under the wire, with no extra shiny to impress the client.

Part of the problem in creating some extra shiny is that we don’t think of a specific way to over-deliver on every single project.

We think it’ll be one thing for this client, another for that one. We wing it as we go along. If it happens, it happens.

Instead, try focusing on one simple over-delivery and making it a regular part of your freelancing routine.

Give Yourself a Bonus Day

The next time you get a new project and the client asks you for the delivery date, tell them it’s going to be one day later than you would have normally offered any other time. Give yourself that one extra day.

Then don’t use it.

Let’s say you promised the client to deliver on the 5th. On your own schedule, though, write down the delivery date as being the 4th.

This is irrefutable. You are not allowed to deliver on the 5th, just because the client agreed to it. That’s a fake extra day, and it’s only for the client’s benefit. Not yours. It’s your under-promise.

Your real promise, the one you make to yourself, is that you’re going to deliver on the 4th come hell or high water.

Make this real to you in any way you have to. Create a penalty for yourself, if it helps enforce the rules. Take the promise to deliver on the 4th as seriously as you would if the client were expecting the project on the 4th, not the 5th.

Finish the project in the allotted time. Of course you knew you could, because you under-promised. You knew you could get it done by the 4th, and you would have quoted the client a delivery date of the 4th any other time.

This time, though, you’re going to over-deliver.

Give Your Clients a Little Bonus Boost

When you hand over your project a day early, do yourself a favor and draw a little attention to the fact. You don’t have to blow trumpets about it, but you can subtly make sure the client notices the project is early, all the while acting very casual about it, as though this is no big deal.

“Hey, I finished up a little early, so I thought I’d send this over to you today since I’m sure you’re on a tight schedule. Hope this helps alleviate that pressure a bit.”

You’re not asking for praise or accolades. You’re just doing something nice for your client and helping him out a little bit.

Clients remember when you over-deliver. They remember that you worked a little harder than you had to on their behalf. They remember that you made their lives easier, and they remember that in contrast, the last guy waited until the very last second and made them panic that it wasn’t going to arrive on time.

Clients remember that you were effortless to work with, that you got the job done before they ever started to feel the stress of the last minute. They’re surprised, they’re pleased, and they like you for it.

That’s over-delivering.

If your work isn’t the kind that lets you deliver a whole extra day in advance, find something else to over-deliver on. But, make it consistent. Make it the thing you over-deliver on every single time.

And you’ll notice that if you start to rely on over-delivering each time, it’ll become easy for you, and you won’t ever have to think about doing that little bit extra.

Your clients will think about it, though. Especially when they’re considering who to hire for that next gig. My bet’s on the guy who over-delivers.

How Do You Over-deliver?

Do you over-deliver to your clients?

Share some of the methods you use to under-promise and over-deliver in the comments.

Image by misshoneul