When I’m working with a corporate client, one of the first questions I often ask before finalizing a quote or even accepting an assignment is: Will I be working with a group of people or a committee?

When I first started out, I didn’t know to do this. However, I learned rather quickly when a representative from one business told me that she wanted to pay me $300 more than what I had originally quoted her.

“I sincerely believe that this project will be more complicated than you think,” he explained when I questioned him.

So, I guess that’s one way a committee can cost you money – in guilt pay. Here are five other costly problems that I initially had in mind when I first developed this post about hiring a copywriter.

Problem #1: You Don’t Have a Single Point of Contact.

Two committee members who answer questions and give instructions equals two sometimes completely different messages. Three equals three, four equals four, and so on. Next thing you know, your freelancer has logged 100 hours on the phone and has started her 53rd draft. The consequence? You’re over your budget.

Solution: One person – ideally the chair of the committee – has the copywriter’s email address and phone number, and the copywriter has the contact information of that same person.

Problem #2: You’re Trying Too Hard to Have Everyone Attend the Same Meeting

While it’s nice to be inclusive, waiting for that one day every five or six months that all committee members are free to meet for lunch in your favorite establishment will no doubt push back your deadlines. That won’t make any money.

Solution: Just let it go. Pick one day, any day, and whoever is there, is there.

Problem #3: Everyone Has an Opinion

My standard contract comes with two revisions built into the price. Subsequent revisions will change the scope of the project, and that will ultimately mean additional charges.

Solution: Committees that give everyone equal authority will milk your funds dry. Opinions such as, “I’d like to see us try something with a parrot, just to see how it goes,” should be stifled by a spokesperson or committee chair before the copywriter even gets wind of it.

Problem #4: There are Too Many People on Your Committee

Forget the copywriter for a second. Think about the number of people you pull away from their daily tasks to sit around your table and disagree with each other. The selection of your committee should be a vigilant process, because even copywriters who don’t charge by the hour typically base their quotes on an estimate of how much time it will take to complete your project. A veteran copywriter will know how to charge you for the added frustration and time.

Solution: If you interview potential copywriters on-site, make sure that no more than five committee members are in the room. Pick the five employees who are most qualified to ask questions and assist you, and tell everyone else that they must wait for the report.

Problem #5: You Haven’t Defined the Project.

See problem #2. Trust me when I say that you only think you’re on the same page. If you haven’t come to an agreement on the project’s details, such as voice, length, genre, purpose, and audience, and you’ve sent your copywriter off to begin the first draft, you may find yourself facing complications down the road. You will likely pay for them in the end.

Solution: Put the details of the project in writing before turning your copywriter loose.