Oh I have been there and have the polyps on my lungs to prove it. I usually ask them the following questions: http://www.polination.net/reference/TheProjectProfiler.htm I posted them rather than bugging digest readers (please excuse this I had this as a word doc and then saved as HTML so it's a little odd. ) I got these from the book Secrets to Great Websites. In my experience most people don't really want to ask these questions and then they end up with a project they do not like. But they need to ask them Also I find that starting with a site map rather than the look and feel helps because they really have to nail down what they want the site to do and what information they want in the site. Also nail down the approval process in the contract. most of my friends do the following: 1. give three mock-ups client chooses one 2. designer refines mock-up client approves and makes changes 3. designer refines further based on client input. design locked. When they want to make changes say . "That sounds interesting but changes at this point will cost you A, B,C." or if you do not know say "let me look into how much extra that will be". Have the Big wig at the company sign off of the final design trust me if the guy/gal does not see it he may be unpleasantly surprised.