No matter our profession, we all encounter those clients that make us either want to go run and hide behind our mom’s skirt or act a complete fool. Here is a list of these dread-worthy clients and how to deal with them.
one: the friend
We love our friends. And our family members. (Or at least we should.) But sometimes, a lot of times, this makes business difficult.
Here are a few reasons why.
They expect a discount, feel they can dictate a price, or worst, they think you’ll work for free.
They don’t take what you do seriously–and this reflects when the subject of payment arises.
You can’t surf Facebook, attend a party, or just get a break that involves other people without them secretly or openly wondering why you’re not spending that very moment working on their project.
If your friends value you as well as what you do, then they’re bound to be great clients. Otherwise, brace yourself: danger ahead.
two: the cheapskate
We don’t always know if this person is just über frugal or an avowed miser, but they don’t want to spend too much money on your services–and likely anything else either. This person doesn’t understand or embrace the concept of investing in a product or service of excellence. They’re not your ideal client, I promise. Don’t bother with them.
three: the negotiator
This is the client that goes all Medieval-market on you and expects to negotiate every single one of your rates. This may be a temporary rush like couponing or an honest belief that they should never have to pay market value for anything. They’ll say things like, “Well, so-and-so only charged me ___ for the same service.” Whether this is true or not is unknown, yet they are more than welcome to go hire so-and-so.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy negotiation in its place. The wedding and event industry, for instance, is a great place to kindly (read= not insultingly) haggle for lower prices. Yet for more serious industries such as medicine, corporate, consulting, etc., negotiating is best kept to a minimum or better yet, not done at all.
Note: Special allowances may almost always be made for your loyal clients who value your services and refer you to others. Always do your darndest to maintain and even spoil these awesome individuals.
four: the tardy payer
You know this client. It’s the one that NEVER pays on time. EVER. You have one of three choices in how you deal with them in the future:
Create (and or enforce) late fees.
Amend your payments, if possible, to be made up front. Period. (You may even to choose to enforce this option with only the one problematic client(s).)
Drop them as soon as possible. Don’t ask them to refer you to anyone.
Decide what’s best for you and your company. Sometimes if the client refuses to pay, you just have to chalk up your losses and keep it moving. If it’s a serious amount of money, then you may consider taking them to court on the matter.
five: the entitled
This is the absolute worst client possible. It could be the client who thinks since they’ve hired you, that they are your boss. They would be woefully mistaken. They’re your boss as much as you are your doctor, hair stylist, or CPA’s boss. This is also likely the [potential] client that just tosses work at you, doesn’t concern themselves with whatever inquiry/acceptance process you may or may not have in place, and expects you to get to work “for” them immediately. It’s also likely, they haven’t paid you and won’t consider doing so until you complete the said work to their utmost satisfaction. This person has little to no regard for you and if at all possible, should be avoided like the plague.
Did I leave any out? Who is your client à la nightmare and how do you deal with them?
Desiree M. Mondesir is a columnist, blogger, author, as well as freelance writing and idea consultant. To connect, please visit http://DesireeMMondesir.com.