How to handle freelance designers that fail to meet expectations?

Lately we’ve been slammed we decided to out-source projects that a few designers would provide source files to. Per the initial contract terms and requirements with a spec delivery sheet are agreed upon. The expectations are noted and an initial brief meeting is setup to deliver the source files, etc. etc. and it is addressed what is expected.

When the project is delivered issues arise on the finish project, example:

Example 1

A designed piece, initially stated in the meeting and the contract, that all fonts to be used in the design must be Opentype and must be from our list because we have rights. Access to our font list database was provided and font access was granted. After reviewing the design we noticed that postscript fonts were used throughout. When noted to the designer they came back and said they were not going to be able to meet the contract completion date.

Example 2

Outsourcing work to a different designer it was noted in the meeting and in the contract the purpose of the design and its intended usage. We requested all vectors to be created in Illustrator because we were going to develop SVGs. Three weeks before deadline we were informed the designer was unaware how to do the needed task and requested us to train them.

None of these example cases are from starting out designers. All of the designers supposedly have more than five years experience and they did have pretty good portfolios.

So my question is how do you handle freelancers that do not meet expectations?


“People rise to the level of their incompetence.” 🙂

  • Should have a contract. Contract should contain penalties for the freelancer if they can not meet any of the terms they agree to.

  • Many projects I’ve worked on have a blanket contract then a “Scope of Work” contract which details exactly what is to be delivered and any specifications on that delivery.

In most cases, you can’t simply decide to take punitive action due to the failure on the part of the designer. I mean, you can definitely sue them if they’ve breached the contract. Which it sounds like they have. But who wants to be running to court every time? I don’t know many who are that litigious.

So, what I would do is ensure the contract clearly states expectations and requirements. And then clearly shows what punitive recourse you have should those expectations and requirements not be met. This is really where an attorney would be handy. If punitive actions are part of your contract, there’s no need to take the designer to court. They’ve already agreed on your recourse due to their failure.

Source : Link , Question Author : DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ , Answer Author : Scott

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