I hear ya!
I too am a designer developer and am in the non-envious position of also teaching designers and large companies that hire designers how to become more efficient so they can also make more of a profit from their work or their budgets.
The toughest part of that exercise is to get a mind shift from
"Design thinking cannot be defined into steps" into a mind set of Stategic Excecution that says…
"When there is a set of Tasks that must be aligned to between client and Hybrid Professional such as…
• Design Brief
• Technical Brief
• Critical Path Schedule (CPS)
• Revision versus Correction definition and scope…
Then the project path is completely transparent and if need be can be drawn upon if a disagreement occurs during the project."
Most design professionals that I work with will respond first with …"it can't be done on my projects, or it can't be done with my clients" "And my budgets won't allow for it"
But it is not true. Everything we do is a process of steps or variables.
When you outline in a clear "Non design jargon" discussion helping the client to understand that their choices and your executional approach must be in sync otherwise you will have
• Cost overrun for the client
• Delivery delays.
Then they will understand what they are getting for the money…Hopefully your valued insight and creative problem solving that they will not get for less somewhere else.
The other item to get clarity on in the beginning is
The Champagne Dreams and Beer Budget concept.
If the client wants the world but only has a small budget then the options come into play.
IF ( Client wants a 10,000 site)
AND (Client only has 1,000 budget)
THEN ( I show client what $1,000.00 will get them)
At that point I need to be creative and understand that if they want a function that would take me 10 hours to write by hand or use a jQuery library script I show them the difference between the 2 from a cost perspective AND make certain I document where my involvement and liability ends based on their choice for awarding me that 1,000.00 budget.
I do get it though I have been in hundreds of these "wish I did not take on this project" nightmares before.
But taking the time to strategically plan and communicate the execution in a WRITTEN E OR PAPER TRAIL THAT IS COMMUNICATED EARLY AND OFTEN.
Helps out greatly if things begin to get out of hand.
And Oh Yeah create and organize a great library of re-usable code and templates (HYPE works here) that can be used to build efficiencies.
A great primer on this thinking is by Larry Bossidy, and Ram Charan
"Execution, the Discipline of Getting Things Done"