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Inquiry To Invoice - Client Management 101

Dear Fellow Calligrapher,

One of the most important things while building a creative business is - Client Management.

Let me take you through the entire process - from when you receive an inquiry from a potential client to actually completing their order.

1. Set up an introductory call to understand their requirements

First things first, when a client reaches out to you, you wanna get detailed information about their exact requirement for two reasons -

1. To provide a quotation which is inclusive of everything they need.

2. To further understand if their brief is within your scope of work, expertise, and timeline.

3. In my experience, it’s also important to understand if you and your client are on the same page when it comes to the overall vibe and aesthetic expectations

At TBLC, we like to get on a call with our clients to further discuss their inquiry to take it forward. (If you like to go that extra mile for your client, a video call is great so that the client can put a face to the name)

You can also ask them for reference links and images, so you can better understand their expectations.

Once the client has taken us through what they need, we send them an email summarizing the call reconfirming everything.

2. Providing A Quotation

Once you’ve got a good idea of what the client is looking for, prepare a costing sheet for yourself where you’ve put down all expenses that will be incurred. For eg - if it’s wedding invites, then you want to account for printing, designing, the labor of packing everything etc.

I would highly suggest that you don’t provide a quotation in the introductory call, it’s crucial that you take some time, think about all your costs and get back to them. It’s very unprofessional to change the quote once you’ve agreed to a given number.

A quotation is essential not only for talking about the money but also for discussing things like the timeline of the project, the number of times you’ll provide edits/changes, your payment terms, working hours etc.

3. Payment Terms

Once you’ve finalized the quotation, share an Invoice with them. We use a software called Quickbooks to manage invoices but there are plenty of resources that can help you do this.

Here is something that is non-negotiable, a 50% advance payment is required to commence the project and the pending payment has to be made before the order is dispatched.

Sometimes if it’s a relatively complicated project that I’ve not taken up at lot, I like to give my client a heads up that the total budget can vary by 10-15%

You always want to clearly communicate this with your client while you’re providing the quotation so there’s no room for miscommunication later on.

4. Client Approval + Working Process

Once you’ve shared the quotations, you must ensure that you have received their approval before you process their order. (preferably written, over mail or WhatsApp). It could also be helpful to explore a T&C doc before you commence the project.

Once that’s out of the way, we begin work and always make sure that your client is a part of the entire process.

Here are a few ways in which we keep our clients in the loop -

  1. Share a physical sample with them if it’s a wedding invite.

  2. If it’s envelope addressing, we share a picture of one addressed envelope so they have a good idea of how everything’s gonna turn out.

  3. For nameplates, we like to send our clients a few options for the name unit that they can select from.

These were a few examples but I hope you got the point!

It’s essential that you keep your client in the loop and if they’d like any changes that are within the scope of what you have agreed, be more than willing to do them.

5. Finishing Touches, Packaging, and Feedback

Now that the order is ready, let’s jump into packaging. Packaging sets the tone and creates the first impression of your brand and you wanna make sure it’s a good one.

When it comes to packaging, you want to pay attention to not just how pretty it looks but also how functional it is. Always ensure that the actual product reaches your client intact and not in a damaged condition.

Once the client has received the order, be sure to check in with them personally and see if they were satisfied with your work, and ask them to share a testimonial.

BUT WHAT IF THINGS GO WRONG? C'mon, Life happens :P

If at any point there's any miscommunication with the client or they're not satisfied with your work because of something that you did incorrectly - and you can manage and fix it for them, you should most definitely help them out. Another situation where we offer complete replacement is when there's transit damage.

We have an entire detailed blog that talks about improving client experience and its importance, linked below.

If you find it useful, be sure to let us know by taking a screenshot of your favorite part of the blog (the one that gave you an 'aha' moment) or sharing a tip that has worked for you by posting it on Instagram, don't forget to tag us @bombaylettering


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