How I organize my client onboarding process


Is it just me, or is pulling back the curtain from processes always super interesting!?

Over the years, I’ve nailed down a solid onboarding process that helps me book projects super efficiently so that my clients and I can quickly get started working on projects together.

the step-by-step guide to organizing client onboarding process:

01. Inquiry

Most of my inquiries come through the form on this page or a past client referral.

My questionnaire is pretty light (I know some people set theirs up to mirror a comprehensive creative brief).

But I prefer to hop on the phone to chat about details, this also is a quick an easy way to see if we're a good fit!


02. Book a consult call

Most of the time, we book a complimentary call (20 minutes) to discuss their project in more detail.

Sometimes, I’ve been talking to folks via social media or email for a few weeks and we're both comfortable moving forward without the call! I think the key is to allow a little flexibility here. Some people hate talking on the phone or are really busy and I'm A-OK with that.


03. Contract & Deposit

After we chat about their project in more detail (and if they're ready to move forward!) I use Hello Sign for contracts which is connected to my Google Docs. That means I can quickly edit a template and send over for a signature.

In the contract, you'll find a detailed list of everything included in your project, the number of logo concepts, website pages, how many revisions for each phase of the project, etc.

I'll also include the estimated project start time & launch date.

Like most creatives, I hate sounding like a car salesmen... but since I only take 10 website projects a year, I try to make it clear throughout the booking process that I can't officially hold space in my schedule until contract & deposit are received. 

Deposit gets sent out at the same time, (25% of the total cost).


04. Project MGMT Setup

Then (my favorite part!) setting up in Basecamp, my project management system.

This could probably be a post by itself, but here's a peek of how it works:

project mgmt for brand and web design clients.png

> for Brand & Website Design Projects

I setup the calendar so they know the project kick off date.

Then I usually break the project up into 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Research & Discovery - Filling out creative briefs, website planner, creating a mood board and brand strategy guide.
  • Step 2: Brand Identity Design - Logo design concepts, color palette, typography pairings.
  • Step 3: Marketing Materials - Social media banners, business cards, newsletter templates, etc.
  • Step 4: Website Design - Squarespace setup, page layout, brand  & content implementation.
  • Step 5: Launch! - Project wrap-up including making the site live, having a tutorial call, so my clients feel comfortable editing their site and sending over the final design files and style guide.

businessBecky Kinkead