Finding your own dream clients can be hard, but what’s even harder is working with a client who isn’t exactly the most ideal person to work with. But, before it becomes difficult to work with your client – there are ways you can spot a problem from a web design client from the very beginning. Thus leaving you room to either set clearer expectations to avoid potential conflicts or helping yourself avoid the client altogether.
After working with paying clients for almost 6 years, I have seen quite a few different client profiles – both good and bad.
These clients don’t always seem so bad at first, but upon a closer look if you come across any of these five types of web design clients to avoid- take caution.
- The “A.S.A.P” Client – Clients that claim their project needs to be done fast, as soon as possible, and need to take priority over anything else you are doing could potentially cause conflict. Usually clients who need their project done right away have no real urgency. Usually these clients are being pushy and taking something that has an arbitrary deadline way too seriously. At the end of the day, you are designing and developing a website. You aren’t saving their business from failure. You aren’t taking their business to the next level. You are building a site for a pre-existing business. Beyond that, clients seem to think that because they are paying you for your time, you need to work on their schedule and that of course is not true.
- The “Specific Instructions” Client – Of course when you are working with a client, you need to listen to what they might be looking for and take direction from them. But, where I draw the line is if the client tells you that it should be an easy project because they only have a few things they need and they list out every one of these things. Now keep in mind that this type of client never really tells you what type of website they need, the type of design they are looking for, or anything relevant to you as a web designer/developer. The list of their “specifications” would include something along the lines of “I need all my text bolded” or “the logo must also appear in the footer” or “I need this video removed”. These are all minor things that you could fix in a second, but overall to the project – this is not important. These clients, especially in my experience nit pick everything and even after you do exactly as told, there will always be something you have to change again and again.
- The “Burned Before” Client – Some clients by the time they contact you have already worked with a web designer or developer in the past and are in the market looking for another. These clients are hardly ever easy to please. Regardless of your willingness to help and accommodate your client, your client will always compare you to the previous person or company they worked with. “Burned Before” clients make their frustrations about those who serviced them before explicit. They will mention it sooner or later. Keep something in mind, if your potential client worked with someone else and it did not work out with them, what are the chances it would work out with you?
- The “Tech-Expert” Client – Oh boy, how I can’t stand the “I know how to design my website and know how to code” clients. Avoid these clients at all costs. These clients are searching the market for a web designer, but convince themselves that they also can design websites based on the one and only YouTube video they saw on DreamWeaver 2 years ago. Or they will demand that you “help” them instead of hiring you because they know what they are doing. They don’t know what they are doing if they are contacting web designers and if not that, then they don’t have the time to create a website start to finish and that’s what they need you for.
- The “No Business Hours” Client – This was a hard lesson for me to learn. Clients would e-mail me at 3am or call me at 10pm and I would willingly answer because well I used to work from home so technically if I was on my laptop, I was working anyway. THIS IS WRONG! Set real business hours, set real expectations, and let your clients know that they can’t just call or e-mail you and expect a response so late. Just recently, I decided to go hard core on this and I let all my clients know that they must schedule a call with me at least 24 hours before and can e-mail me at anytime, but will only receive a response during normal office hours. These clients believe you work solely for them and think that outside their project, you have nothing better to do. Seriously. This is what they think.
Of course there are ways for your to set better expectations so that you don’t necessarily have to call it quits on a project that is making you money.
One way to do this is to let the client know exactly what to expect and when in their project proposal. Include exact times you will be available, how often you will be in contact with them, when they expect deliverables, and how feedback and collaboration should be conducted. Before the client even signs a contract and makes their deposit – giving this information helps them understand how you will do your job best and leave you to it.