First step when I get a commission request is to do a concept sketch of the character. This lets the client see how their character will look in my style as well as help me spot any issues I'm likely to have drawing the character.
In this case I coloured the concept sketch to help me get the colour scheme set in my mind. From here I'll do a set of four pose sketches for the client to choose as the final piece. There's generally a bunch of extra sketches as well as I get a feel for the character and how they flow. :3
I also set a hard deadline of two weeks on a commission - this gives me time to work on it and still play games and generally bugger round on the web. Full refund if I miss a deadline, no refund otherwise.
The gradient colours on this character are going to be a challenge :3