This has happened to me so many times that seeing the comic is just painful. Can I send this to clients before I start to work with them?
Also depends how many iterations there are… Danger is things go round and round in some sort of negative spiral. 🙁
My PPC did get a bunch of friends and relatives to go over the site and give feedback. Fortunately she did it with the old version, and 95% of the feedback was on my list of things to fix in the new template anyway. So getting relatives to do cheap user testing can be effective. But, yeah, mostly it depends on asking them the right questions.