Problem clients don’t get better over time; worse case scenario they go from being challenging to litigious. And that’s why screening your clients is an important message. Once you’ve established yourself, you soon realize that your time is money. And while no one wants a Nightmare Client, not everyone is in a position to pick and choose. But with experience comes wisdom and a keen sense to spot potential problem people.
Here’s a list of several red flags:
Red Flag #1: The Blabber
This client wants to meet in person (under the pretense of paying you) and/or expects you to hold hour long phone conversations or Skype meetings with them. Their excessive talking has little to do with the task and much more to do with their incessant need to hear the sound of their own voice. Avoid this client at all costs and consider them a bullet dodged.
Red Flag #2: The Demander
“I need it done now!” is something you’ll hear this client say. They have no respect for your time. Therefore, they demand that you stop what you’re doing to attend to their project immediately. A RUSH Fee is suitable for handling these types.
Red Flag #3: The Excessive Emailer
Successful clients are busy and assume you are too, so they tend to keep communication short and to the point. The Excessive Emailer doesn’t understand the meaning of brief. With this type, you’re left sorting (and deleting) numerous messages in your inbox. It only takes one long-winded email and/or late-night chat request to spot them. Direct these prospects to your Call Center or Tech Support Department. If you have neither of these options, implement an online Help Desk system.
Red Flag #4: The Budgeter
With today’s economy I think it’s safe to say that most people are on a budget. So when a prospect leads with this rationale, it’s best to assume they’re looking for a discount. Unless you’re currently offering a sale on your services, never discount your prices. (Source)
Red Flag #5: The Simplifier
This is the client who understates the parameters of the project by stating, “What we want is very simple.” More times than not, these “simple” projects turn out to be the most complicated and time consuming. Remember, nothing is ever simple unless it involves time and know-how. Obviously, The Simplifier must pay for your time due to his lack of know-how.
Once a good working relationship is established, most freelancers agree that they accept phone calls at odd hours and offer free help to clients with whom they have a good rapport. These clients are keepers and assets to your design firm. Follow your instincts. Trust your subconscious mind when picking up on these clues. We can’t guarantee that you’ll never take on a bad client but we can at least equip you with a defense.