A job of a freelance web-designer, or web-developer, is not
only tricky because web-designing is itself a very tricky and difficult job,
but also because these people get into contact with all sorts of clients. They
are considered to be the key figures, when a designer’s overall success is
The following text is concerned with the most common characteristics
of different types of clients. It is imperative to know how to deal with these
people in order to have a good and fruitful career.
At first, curious clients seem to be totally OK. They are involved in the project, they are very talkative and they ask a lot of questions, not just related to what is being done, but to how it is done, as well. You are to have regular meetings with him or her. All this can be a good thing, but only if it is controlled.
Curious clients tend to take up a lot of the designer’s time, and this is not good for business. So, you are advised to do some of the following things:
- Let the client know that your time is precious to you. When you tell them that you need time to work undistracted, they will, in most cases, respect that and back off.
- You should have predetermined time limits for every meeting and every phone call. This focuses both you and the client strictly on work.
- Furthermore, if your client is constantly asking you questions related to work, and he or she wants to learn something, then, simply, charge for your consulting services.
It is only natural that you will come across a client that doesn’t have a clue about what can be done in a web-design and development business. He or she is, in most cases, an older person, that doesn’t know a thing about computers. They can be very hard to work with, since they do not use any sort of social media network available.
Keep in mind that these people have most certainly suffered consequences (mostly financial) due to their ignorance. If you want to maintain a good reputation, try not to exploit them, but rather:
- Explain things to them by using examples that they can relate to and terms that they are familiar with.
- Use various visual aids to explain what you want to do.
- Have a very clear and comprehensive contract, for security reasons. This contributes to you and to the client, so it’s a win win situation.
You might come across a client that will appear to know everything about your work. One has to wonder why these people hire other people to do their work, when they know how to do it “the best way”.
These kind of clients can be a bit of a drag, and they should be approached in some of the following ways:
- These people want control and respect, so, give them control and respect. This way, the situation will not get worse.
- Complement them from time to time, and use their ideas and advices in your work, in order to improve your chances of selling your design.
- Do not argue with them for most things, but just for the ones where you totally disagree with them.
- If they prove to be absolutely intolerable, you should think about ending the collaboration and start looking for a new job.
This is a very common type of clients. He or she has a certain budget, and is looking for the cheapest solution. They just want the end-product to work.
You should talk to them and determine exactly what they want, and do nothing more. Here is some further advice on how to approach them:
- Work quickly and efficiently with as less of an effort as possible.
- Make sure that you have a contract signed, because, in some cases, a tightwad will not even pay.
- Start the “bidding” for your product very high, since the tightwad will most certainly want to lower the price. In the end, you will get paid as you usually do.
This kind of client is, you can say, a dreamer. He or she does not only want the final product to be extraordinary good, but the best ever. You should try and:
- Impress them with some of your work, to let them know that you are highly qualified and professional.
- You must give them a taste of reality, because in some cases, what they want cannot be done. Be careful to make sure that when you do this, do it with care, so as not to discourage their passion.
- Ask for exact examples that depict what he or she wants, and be persistent. Also, while working, do not hesitate to ask them for instructions on what to do with all the little details.
- If the work is hard (and with this type of clients, it usually is) make sure that you get paid for it adequately, and also make sure that you have enough time to work.
The helping hand
This kind of client can be a nuisance, but he or she can also be a lot of help when handled properly. Since they have to work with you, you should:
- Give the client simple tasks to do. That way you will save a lot of time and money. Just make sure that client knows what he or she is doing.
- The research process in the web-design business can be very dull. You can use the helper to help you with this as well.
- If they don’t want to leave you alone, make loud noises, just to scare them off for a while. This might sound strange, but it has worked in my experience. In the office, I played loud heavy metal music, and the helper just left.
For this type of client, everything is connected to time. They always have a deadline. Also, they are usually very hard-working people, so it is only natural that they expect you to be hard-working as well. These kinds of clients should be handled with care:
- Make sure that you know that the work given to you can be done within the time limit.
- When the deadline is given, make sure to respect it accurately.
- Since you are working fast, you should be very well organized.
This is a sort of client that has a higher authority. He or she needs an approval from the “boss” before making any decision. It is very hard to do business with them, since, in most cases, they don’t know anything.
You should think like an employee when working with the minion. So, you are advised to:
- Make a list of all the questions that you have and give it to him or her, so that you get all the information you need in one sitting.
- Ask all the questions up front, since it will take time for you to get the answer.
- Keep in mind that the superior of the minion is probably someone from the list, so cut him or her some slack if they are not efficient enough.
This is the most professional type of client. Usually, what you do for a delegator is just part of a very big project. They don’t have time to have meetings and discussions.
They send you what they need and you supply the product. So:
- Make sure that you have respect for their time. When talking to them, be prepared and keep it brief.
- Be very direct. This type of client is not concerned with anything other than the end-product.
- It is better to talk to them via any sort of paperwork, since they don’t have time to meet with you on regular bases.
As you can see, all these kinds of clients are very different, and the fact of the matter is that this list isn’t full. There are many other types of people that you have to work with as a freelance web-designer.
I hope that this article will provide you with enough information regarding the topic and that it will be of use to you.
Images courtesy of kozzi.com