business It's Business

How to spot difficult clients

March 27, 2016

As a small business owner I come across all types of clients. For the most part I have had great clients but of course as any business owner knows you will get some bad apples. Here is a great list of warning signs when taking on new clients and how to avoid getting bad ones.

They don’t like your policies – I have a simple contract that states that I won’t revise over 5 times. I don’t have anything in my contract that doesn’t speak plain English. I don’t use big words and I don’t put a lot of fluff in my statements. I am a straight to the point type of person. If a client has issues and questions your contract that is a huge red flag. If they don’t sign the contract that is another huge red flag. A lot of clients don’t send back the contract that I have signed. I use to let it go but lately I need a signed contract back from you before any work is to begin. This saves us both. If the client does not send you the contract back….red flag.

They mention problems with past designers – Normally this is a huge red flag because if they had problems with other designers 9 times out of 10 they will have problems with you also. It’s not you believe me, it’s them. If a client tells me that they worked with several people before me who still couldn’t get their logo right then you do not want to work with them because that means they find fault in to many things and it will cause you a headache. Politely decline to work with them and move on. I learned this lesson the hard way.

how to spot difficult clients
They question your rate and ask for numerous examples – let’s start with the examples first. My website that I own should be the biggest example you should see. I do not mind showing examples of my past work but if a client asks to see over 10 examples politely decline to work with them. I do not have to prove my work to you. If you can’t trust me with the examples I have shown then you won’t trust me to do your work. I have a nice portfolio of my work on my site. I give you the url to it and you are free to choose if you want to work with me or not. If you can’t trust my word on letting you know what we can do then the trust will never be gained.

Some of my clients have asked me not to share their work because they may not have anything up yet, or they want to have an official launch date. I respect my clients wishes. When you question my rate and say I am to much then please do not ask me to go down on the price. I am already priced fair and below average. I do have to pay for the cost of my software, my time working on your site, and the cost to put different elements together to bring your site together. If I give you a price I will include what I offer in it. If you do not like my price you are free to shop elsewhere.

Stick to your gut. If the client doesn’t feel right or comes at you with problems then please do not work with them. Be really clear in your explanation, and take care of it as soon as you’ve decided that it’s not going to work. Cut ties quickly and graciously so that you can spend your time with clients you like working with. Any tips you want to add?

  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Totally in agreement with this. Kita I use to accept difficult clients as a challenge but not anymore. And the mist difficult ones had one or more of the traits you mentioned. This was confirmation again.

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