It’s important for any business to get to know every prospective client before taking on a new job. The relationship with your client is very crucial. A healthy client relationship means easier and more enjoyable work. It is also good for your wallet and overall success.
We’ve All Been There
I have learned the hard way that some clients are just not worth the aggravation. You’re putting in way too many hours, dealing with an unhappy customer and ultimately a bad project.
Before you accept a new client you need to figure out whether your services and abilities match your client’s expectations. Taking on a project that doesn’t really fit with your skills and abilities will only guarantee a dissatisfied client and more workload for you. You also have to make sure that your personalities are a good match.
By far, however, the most important question you need to ask yourself is “Will this be a high-maintenance client?”
Some client can not only cause a lot of stress but can cost you money. However, there are warning signs that every designer should look for, signs that may point to a ‘problem client’ and they might just save you a lot of time and stress.
- Bargain Client – There are plenty of clients who will want to haggle you down in price as if you were selling apples at a flea market. These people have no understanding of or just no respect for your skills and abilities. Do research and figure out what you are worth. Then stick to it.
- Tire Kicker – This guys will call you, email you, ask questions and do everything else but get on board. Tire Kickers “shop around” but never intend to actually become your client. Don’t waste your time. Recognize them and move on.
- Tight Budget Client – My favorite type of client is one who wants a gorgeous website with all the bells and whistles but gives you a warning right up front that they are on a very tight budget. Move on.
- “Whatever” Client – This guy will tell you that you can do anything you want: layout, design, color theme are all up to you. The reality is that everyone has a vision and you need to figure out what it is that your client wants / likes / dislikes if you are to create a successful product. Otherwise, you will be going back and forth, often starting from scratch.
- Do-It-Yourselfer – This is the client who thinks “I could do this myself but I don’t have the time.” If he thinks he can do it himself, he thinks he can do it better than you. You’ve been warned.
There’s no getting around it. At some point in your career you will be dealing with a difficult client and it will make you question your skills, your career choice, your sanity. It often takes one client from hell to wreck havoc in your professional life so the more prepared you are to spot them, the better off you are.