One thing all web designers are wary of is working with a bad client. A bad client doesn’t only mean one who doesn’t pay you on time but also one who creates unnecessary problems in the professional association. But in a world where there is intense competition among designers to source projects and outbid each other, how do you zero in on bad clients? One of the ways to do so is to look into the other side of the picture or in other words take note of early warning signs. Let’s take a look at some early warning signs which will help you judge bad clients and avoid them.
Over Criticizing Your Previous Work
This is something which new designers have to often face as they have a small portfolio to showcase and often quote rates lesser than the established designers. Here the clients would corner you by highlighting flaws in your previous work in a bid to lower the rates further. Do yourself a favor and turn down any offer from such a client.
‘Easy’ and ‘Simple’ Project
You might have come across the statement “we want a very simple website” from many of your clients. Sometimes they say this out of sheer ignorance or in other cases they try to downplay the effort that is required to develop a quality website to bring down your fees for the project. Explain the client in brief the effort that his/her project would require and see the reaction. If they acknowledge your effort, go ahead and if they don’t, it’s time you look elsewhere.
Promise of Work in Future
This is one of the things with which the client often tends to lure the developers into their projects. Not only that, they would also try to get their current project done at extremely lower rates with lots of promises for the future. Just question yourself three things – Is there any guarantee that the client would hire you again? Will the client hire you in the future if you deliver poor quality work even though at a low price? And lastly, will the client exponentially increase your rates in the future? These three answers would help you take a decision on such clients.
Vague Idea of Project
There are clients who cannot put their idea into paper and talk on superficial lines such as “We want the website to rock” or “we want it to be functionally great”. Such statements are often confusing for designer as you would like the client to communicate their plan in realistic terms such as structure, graphics, layout and the functionality etc. Working with such clients who aren’t sure about their idea can mean unnecessary wastage of time and lead to man hour loss.
One of the most dangerous types of clients is the ‘know-it-all’ breed. They would leave no room for you to suggest anything regarding the project and also mention you the rates that they are willing to offer and leave no space for negotiation. Such clients are usually arrogant and treat the developers badly. Unless you have extreme patience and are in desperate need of work such clients are best avoided. Remember, a thorough professional would always be open to ideas no matter how much he/she knows about web development.
There are some clients who always set unrealistic deadlines on their projects and use the term ASAP in each and every correspondence. Here you need to use your discretion in taking up such projects as they may continue to set such deadlines even if you deliver their work pushing aside the work that you already have on hand. The best way to deal with such clients is to ask them for urgency fee explaining them the reasons for it. If they don’t agree, you should in most cases walk out of such projects
Clients Who Disappear
One of the dangerous breeds of clients is one who keep disappearing. You might mail them to resolve a doubt and they would come back to you after a week or so and jeopardize your entire schedule. You can look out for early warning signs when you initially communicate with them and get replies after considerable amount of time. This can also mean that the client has asked for proposals from many freelancers and is hunting for the guy with the least quote. Such clients are quite a pain to work with and it would be wise to turn your back on them.
Most of the above scenarios are common in the web development industry. However none of these warning signs should put an end to any deal with a client. You should rather use your discretion in every case and try and negotiate the deal in your favor.