New ID Client Questionaires?

Anyone here give new potenial clients a standard questionaire prior to discussing a project with them? It would be like a tool to kind of weed out serious clients from ones to stay away from. What questions would be on this? I figure their budget would be one thing to ask…

I was thiking of making up a standard initial contact questionaire to email back to potential clients when they first contact me.

If anyone has sany samples I’d be interested in seeing what you ask. If not maybe we put together a list of standard questions we can use to get the skinny on clients before we decide to agree to meet them.

That is a good idea, though usually it’s pretty easy to tell if they are a good fit in the first meeting… but this may save some time up front.

Sometimes. This is a good tool to use to qualify potential clients. The best types of questions to put on a questionnaire are more fact finding questions or simple yes/no questions. Getting the facts on budget, turn-around, project/product type, etc are helpful in qualifying, you know, like project criteria or project parameter facts. Once you get a feel the project maybe be doable then get together for a personal meeting to ask the deeper questions and get a feel for what it might be to work with them. You can then skip most of the factual stuff in the meeting simply by referring to the questionnaire, making sure it’s accurate, and then move forward.

Questionnaires should be factual
Meetings should be personal

Yeah my whole reason for this is that I waste a lot of time meeting them only to find out they not good projects or they don’t ahve realistic budgets.

I have to sign NDAs and meet them to see what it is they want and that’s time for travel, gas, not to mention the meeting time and proposal quoting.
It would be good to qualify them before I throw any real time into it.

Asking about turnaround it good. Most want it yesterday or spring it on me after I committed to a price and then I eat it. The sooner they want it the more it should cost for rush but unfortunately I have found most clients come with rush expectations due to poor planning on their end and last minute hiring. Sometimes I suspect it is a diabolical plan to act like the time is longer and then tell you sudenly something like a investor meeting is coming up so youhave to suddenly rush it.

ID is often a tough racket cause there are few standards and each cilent and project is different and bespoke.

Being that I am an internal designer in a corporate company I can give a bit of what I like to find out when looking for a firm.

The first I want to know what their process is. I think this is a standard question, but I am really looking for how the firm is going to research our consumer and or brands before even putting pen to paper. This I feel is one of the most important parts of the design process and even if we give you a brief on what we think it is it is always a good idea to do your own research to validate it.

This on your end could be flipped. Finding out what the companies process is can tell you a lot about how they work. It can give you a sense of their culture and how many decision makers you have to go through to get a product out there.

Another one to keep in mind is a lot of corporate companies do concept projects, or will be serious about a project and then it can cancelled or dropped. This is mostly due budgets, if the customer is interest ex. Wal-Mart, or even if upper management thinks that it may not be a big enough idea. Finding out these things in the beginning can save you a lot of headache down the road. The fact of the matter is though that we as designers know that not every design we do goes to market.

And lastly, find out what there R&D structure is. Do they have an internal design team that you can tap into. This is a valuable source that not a lot of firms take advantage of. I do not mean to use them as your own designers and delegate work to, but more as support of looking at concepts and validating research.

Hope this helps.

I know where you are coming from, as I also get a lot of people contacting me for projects that don’t happen or clients who aren’t serious, don’t have budgets, etc…


I think for a small consultancy or freelance, making prospective clients answer a questionnaire sends the wrong message. essentially at first contact you are presenting a barrier to working with you and maybe scaring them off. validating clients is important, but it’s equally important that you don’t present a feeling of “I don’t want to work with you, unless you jump through hoops… My time is too important to waste on getting to know you”. If I were looking for a designer, even knowing the business and someone presented me with such a thing, I’d be immediately turned off and would go elsewhere.

What’s better, and what I try to do is ask a few more general questions in an email to get and idea of where they are and what they want (esp. if the initial contact email is very brief), and then judge them by their response. Similar idea to the questionnaire, but not as formal and can be more personalized depending on their initial contact.

typical questions you might want to ask is-

  1. what’s your deisgn budget?
  2. do they have the capital expenses in place for development/production
  3. what is the timeline
  4. what are the projected production quantities

After that a good idea would be to have a brief phone call (you can have them call you to save LD calling costs or arrange a skype call), to chat with them and get more details. guaranteed in 5 minutes of chatting, you’ll have a good idea if they know what they are talking about or are a waste of time.

I’d also recommend it’s a good idea to have a consultancy mailer or web site of some sort that gives an overview of your services and capabilities which you can direct them to to give more info and possibly answer questions they may have.

one other bit of advice i’ve discovered to get rid of those potential clients that keep emailing with questions, back and forth useless contact, and such before any proposal or real contact is to email something along the lines of “sure we can do that type of design work. do you have the $200,000+ capital needed for tooling available?”… most often you’ll never hear back if they aren’t serious or have no idea what is required to bring their “idea” to market :slight_smile: