Copy My Client Intake Form

the business Jun 14, 2022

The client onboarding process can be... awkward.

And I've heard the same sentiment from various creatives, not just photographers.

There's all this back-and-forth of "what are your rates?" and always the first response: "Well what's the scope of the project?" It's a lot of emails figuring out usage rights and precise deliverables, and THEN putting together an estimate and likely tweaking that as well.

Basically, a lot of your valuable time and energy gets sucked into simply communicating and negotiating with a potential client– all for the hope that they'll work with you and (eventually) pay you.

But what if there's a better way?

Well there is and it's called a client intake form. Yes, I still talk with clients. Directly communicating with your clients is still very much necessary, but having them start by filling out a clear and concise intake form makes it all so much easier for both parties going foward.

Whenever a potential client reaches out to me, asking for my rates or for a quote on a project, I send them this exact form.

I have a slightly different one for sponsored social media content that you can view here, and another one for local bar and restaurant clients here.

And I'm serious: nearly every time I send my intake form to potential clients they respond with something like, "Wow, this is so well organized. Thank you for having one of these!"

As you can see on this form, it asks all the important questions in order for me to supply them with an accurate quote. There are of course exceptions, where I may need to follow-up afterwards and clarify some details they entered or even ask additional questions. BUT having an intake form considerably cuts down on a TON of laborious email time– allowing me to spend that valuable energy elsewhere in my business.

To be perfectly clear, feel free to copy my client intake form. Yes, do it! You have my full permission.

Take these same questions and create your own form. Although I do recommend tweaking questions and answers slightly to best fit your business and how you work. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you create your own form:

  1. Be thorough but brief – It's a balance here. Keep your intake form as short as possible, but make sure to request as much info as you will likely need in order to provide an accurate estimate after they complete the form.
  2. Make the budget-range question *required* – Most platforms like Google Forms and Bonsai allow you to make certain questions required, so potential clients cannot submit the form without answering the required question(s). I always ask clients for a general budget range for the project, so an intake form is a great way to get that sometimes difficult question answered.
  3. Respond ASAP – If a potential client takes the time to fill out your form, don't leave them waiting. Create an auto-responder at the end of the form that tells potential clients when they can except to hear from you. Give them a reasonable amount of time (i.e. 24-48 hours is safe) and then respond to them much sooner– start exceeding their expectations early in the process of working with you.

I created my client intake forms in my customer management and invoicing system called Bonsai (affiliate link). It fully integrates client profiles with creating proposals, contracts, invoices and even accounting. I've been using it since day 1 of freelancing and have never looked back.

However, if you aren't quite to the place professionally yet where you want to pay for a monthly platform, just create something in Google Forms. It's not as customizable and professional looking as Bonsai but it still does the job.

Questions about creating your own client intake form? Hit me up!
[email protected]


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