Gently Reminding Clients of Your Services and Limitations


As freelance web designers or small agency owners, we’re no strangers to the dance of client expectations. Our roles often extend beyond design and coding; we become advisors, troubleshooters, and sometimes, mind readers. However, assuming we can do everything can lead us down a path riddled with miscommunications and unrealistic expectations. This is why reminding clients of our services and limitations isn’t just helpful—it’s essential. Drawing from my own experience, I’ve found that a well-crafted service guide can help bridge this gap.

Identifying the Need for Clear Service Definitions

There was a time when I repeatedly clarified my services to long-standing clients—those who had hired me before I had a comprehensive onboarding process. It wasn’t their fault; services evolve, and without a clear guide, confusion is inevitable. From explaining that I don’t offer Google Ads services to setting the expectations on project timelines straight, each conversation was a gentle reminder of the boundaries of my expertise and availability. Below is an outline of what to include in a services guide to explain what you do and don’t do for your clients.

Key Components of an Effective Service Guide

Basic Service Offerings
The foundation of any service guide is a clear outline of what you do. A written guide can detail your web design and development services, explicitly stating what clients can expect.

Inclusions and Exclusions
Clarifying what you include in your services and what’s not offered can significantly reduce scope creep. This section saves you from awkward conversations about why SEO isn’t part of the web design package.

Trusted Partners and Referrals
For the services outside my expertise or offerings, I’m dedicated to supporting my clients’ diverse needs. Understanding that your project may require specialized skills I don’t provide, I have established relationships with trusted partners in various fields.

Timing and Project Length
Setting realistic expectations for project completion and ongoing maintenance is crucial. This part of the guide helps manage client expectations about how long their project will take and when they can expect updates. Existing clients who want a redesign may not know this request will take longer than a typical maintenance request.

Communication Policies
A section dedicated to communication sets the tone for how and when interactions will happen, including email response times and what qualifies as an emergency.

Additional Considerations
Addressing how changes in their company can affect your services is also essential. Let the client know if they change their theme, move their hosting or domain registration, sell their company, or hire an SEO firm, they need to alert you. Company changes may affect the service you offer them. It’s a catch-all for the finer points of your working relationship.

The Benefits of a Services Guide

The introduction of a service guide into my workflow is essential for me. I spend more time designing and less time clarifying with this document in my client communication arsenal.

How to Create and Share Your Services Guide

Start with a simple document outlining the points mentioned above. Write a rough draft first, then ask ChatGTP to refine it and “make it shorter.”

Please take a look at my WebCami Services Guide for inspiration.

A services guide is a constant reminder of what we offer, what we don’t, and how we operate. It’s about setting boundaries and managing expectations, creating a smoother workflow for us and a more precise understanding for our clients. I encourage you to craft your guide, drawing from your unique experiences and service offerings. The benefits will be well worth the effort.

Start today by examining the services you offer, the common questions you receive, and the areas where misunderstandings frequently arise. And remember, you’re not alone in this endeavor. Share your method of reminding clients of your service offerings in our Facebook group!

Cami MacNamara

Cami MacNamara has 20+ years of experience running a small, profitable, one-person web design business, so she can walk her dog whenever she likes. / Twitter / Instagram