How to Handle Additional Revision Requests as a Freelancer

Even the most meticulous and experienced freelancers out there will eventually have to handle revision requests.

Sometimes, clients will also decide that they’d like to get some additional work completed as a part of the project (and without paying more, of course).

Learning how to handle such requests isn’t always easy.

Some of them will make your blood boil. You’ll feel like a client is abusing their position and pushing you into agreeing to do work that you should be compensated for.

Is it possible to handle such challenges without completely destroying the relationship you’ve already established with the client?

Let’s examine a few of the best approaches that can be used to resolve the situation peacefully and to the benefit of everyone involved.

Determine Whether a Revision Request Is Reasonable

If you have a contract with your client (as you most definitely should), the document will outline the number of revisions you’ll do for free and the circumstances in which a client could request such edits.

Sometimes, clients are in their right to demand some additional changes to the output you’ve delivered.

It’s possible to misunderstand an assignment or to make a mistake. If that’s the case, you should definitely handle the revision request promptly and gracefully.

Being a freelancer involves putting your professional hat on at all times. Taking negative feedback personally is never a good idea. You’ll be emotional and incapable of adequately assessing the information that you’re being provided with.

So, take some time to calm down before deciding what you’re going to do next. If you have to, sleep on it. The next day, you’ll feel much calmer and capable of examining the revision request to decide if you’re going to honor it.

Face it – you’ll mess us every once in a while. Offering the client a fix for free is the best thing you can do to maintain that partnership and build your professional reputation.

Reach Out to the Client and Discuss the Details

Online communication can easily lead to miscommunication. You don’t have all of the important ques like tone of voice or body language to gauge a client’s mood and how far they’d want you to take the revision or additional work request.

So, if you feel that a client is being somewhat unreasonable, schedule a phone or a video call.

Use that opportunity to learn a bit more about their wants and needs.

Why would they want a revision?

What is it that they’re dissatisfied with? If they’re asking for additional work, try to understand where that request comes from and how it relates to the original scope of the project you’ve been given.

You don’t have to give the client an answer during that chat. Just use the opportunity to collect some additional details.

Let them know you’ll send them an offer or a proposal for additional work in a little while. Take a few hours to understand the specifics of the situation and the best course of action.

If you then decide that standing your ground is the right thing to do, you’ll be free to go ahead and communicate your decision.

Decide if Making a Compromise Is Going to Be Beneficial for Your Business in the Long Run

Sometimes, clients will be in the wrong when demanding more work from you without agreeing to pay for it.

In such instances, you’ll need to determine what your limits are and whether doing some work for free is going to benefit your business in the long run.

Are you dealing with a client who has a lot of work for you? Have you had a good, effective relationship so far?

If that’s the case, you may consider a compromise for the sake of the partnership continuing in the months (years) to come.

There’s one more thing you’ll need to do and that’s communicate the situation clearly with your client. Let them know the work you’re doing right now is a one-time thing.

They should understand you wouldn’t be handling additional work for free in the future. In the absence of such communication, making a compromise can do more damage than good.

Stand Your Ground

As difficult as this may seem to do, you’ll need to stand your ground whenever a client is burdening you with unreasonable requests.

This is why you need to have a contract. It will provide the legal framework of the relationship, giving you actual justification to refuse doing more without being paid.

Difficult clients are inevitable sooner or later in your career. Very often, they will burden you a lot more than what the money you’re getting paid justifies.

So, you may want to decide whether you’re going to fire a certain client and cut your losses.

Losing some money right now seems like a big deal but if you’re constantly wasting your time with a client who’s never happy, you’ll be losing a lot more in the future.

Instead, focus on finding new gigs that will fulfill you and provide an opportunity to make money by doing the things you enjoy.

Understand the Reasons Why (Endless) Revision Requests Happen

Every interaction with a client is a learning opportunity. Use it to streamline your processes and improve communication in the future.

Many clients make revision requests because they’re poor communicators or they don’t know exactly what they want. Once they get the outcome you deliver, they’ll decide it’s not what they’re looking for and they’ll get a better concept of what’s desired.

To overcome such issues, you may want to come up with a questionnaire that you send to new clients before you commence work.

The questionnaire should be used to come up with a detailed and very specific project brief, reducing the risk of misconceptions and miscommunication when the work begins.

Based on the questions that the client has answered, you can come up with an outline or an overview of the work you’re going to do.

Send back a document that details the steps (milestones), the output the client is going to get and the amount you’ll be paid for the work that you have done.

These two documents set clear expectations upfront. When the work is done, the client wouldn’t have the opportunity to tell you they weren’t informed or they expected a different kind of product.

Keep the Communication Going During Every Stage of the Process

Are you finding yourself frequently dealing with additional work requests?

If that’s the case, chances are that you’re not communicating well with your clients.

It’s possible for you to be creating expectations that aren’t being met when you deliver in the end of the interaction.

Over-promising is never a good thing and it can cost you a lot. You’ll either have to do a ton of revision requests or you’ll lose clients who are unhappy with your delivery.

Take some time to understand what is it that you’re promising to deliver and why are clients needing more in the end of the day.

Establishing some trends and identifying systemic errors can make you a better freelancer who is precise, professional and capable of delivering on promises.


Knowing when to be firm and when to be flexible as a freelancer isn’t easy, especially if you lack experience.

Some clients will try to take advantage of you. Others will honestly be unhappy with the work that you’ve done. Pinpointing the specifics of the situation is essential to do your job well without wasting your time.

Revision requests are a normal part of doing creative freelance work. Clients, however, should know how many free revisions they’re entitled to and what the scope of additional work can be.

Anything extra that they demand will have to be paid for.

Be open, be responsive but maintain your professional boundaries. That can be difficult to do, especially when you need the money.

Making too many compromises, however, will get you working for free way too often for such processes to make business sense.

Comments 1

  1. Pingback: How to Get Feedback on Videos as a Freelance Editor -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *