New freelancers accept clients on a first come first serve basis but here are 10 types of clients freelancers should always avoid
Freelancers typically accept clients on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, as a freelancer, one should always avoid clients as well.
Because if you allow all the clients in, you may need to say NO to a client in the future you don’t want to.
One should pick and choose.
Some may argue it is for the experienced freelancers to pick and choose, but it isn’t true. Taking up everything and anything is thrown can mean one can’t choose the right freelancing niche or opt to work in a specific technology.
So freelancers shouldn’t let the clients drift them from what they want to be doing. Moreover, in such drift, there are clients whom one should always say a “no” no matter what.
Here are some of those types of clients:
1. Not Open To Suggestions
Some clients are rigid with what they want and how they want without actually knowing if it is the right thing to do.
Often such clients are better avoided. The reason being even if you do good for them, they aren’t ready to accept it.
Let me share an example.
One of my clients wanted to launch a XenForo forum after he had created hundreds of forums and sub-forums, which he thought were a must. He hired me to create a script to create forums by uploading a CSV file. I insisted it isn’t a critical aspect to launch a forum because once you have the users, you can always move the threads to a different forum or a sub-forum. He insisted on getting the script done.
I did what he wanted and was happy with it. The forum was launched as planned, but the irony is, the forum is dead now.
He wasn’t ready to accept an option for posting the thread in the right forum won’t drive users to create threads, but it will work against it. If users see no activity in a forum or sub-forum, he or she won’t post their questions or start a discussion.
Having all threads in a few forums will make others feel it is an active community, and as one grows big can always split the threads into forums and sub-forums as and when needed.
Having built many thriving communities, it is pretty apparent to me, but the client never took the suggestion.
2. Want Suggestion on Every Bits and Piece
Some clients are not open to any suggestions whereas others aren’t sure what they want and are looking for advice on every aspect. The client isn’t sure what is needed, but more importantly, why is it required?
Both the extremes cases aren’t going to help, and the types of clients freelancers should avoid.
Have conversations with the client where you can understand what the client is looking for? Also, find out why it is essential for the client to get it done. What are the long-term goals they want to achieve?
If you aren’t sure if a client has a long-term goal, it is better to avoid such clients because they may be doing for the sake of doing something.
One needs a plan for things to work. Working without a plan will lead nowhere, and soon everyone will lose interest, which can lead to payment issues at the end of it for a freelancer.
3. Late Payers
Some clients want to delay the payment no matter what.
Again, some clients can have an issue with payment once or twice, or they can be traveling, but if the issue happens more often, it is better to avoid such clients.
4. Too Much Detailing
Some clients ask for minute details on every task.
They aren’t technically very equipped to know what is done. I still prefer to know. It can be useful, but beyond a point, it can be too time-consuming.
A broad level explanation of each item via email is fine, but if those details need elaboration, it can be tough to explain to a non-techy person. Moreover, when you explain, they don’t even understand.
Make sure you move on because either the client has trust issues or he is too much involved in things he knows very little about.
5. Focuses More on Saving than Earning
Some clients are too concerned about spending than earning. They are more eager to save more than making.
Outsourcing and hiring a freelancer is to save on the cost. However, clients should have a mindset to do the right things for their business as well. If they are more inclined towards deferring good suggestions for the future, it is better off to let go of such clients.
When I moved out of vBulletin to XenForo, I suggested the same to my existing clients, but some weren’t willing to make a move because of the cost involved (Purchase of XenForo and hire me to move vBulletin to XenForo).
Those who stayed with vBulletin found it challenging to grow the community and either made a move to XenForo or has given up on the growth aspect of a community.
As a freelancer, if you happen to be working for such a client, it is better to avoid them.
6. Focus on Price than Value
I get a better hourly rate, but in the midst of it all, I often come across a client who says they have an offer from other developers who are willing to work for much less. Such things are part and parcel of competitive freelancing websites.
My answer to such clients are:
You are free to hire them and I don’t compete with them on price. If you need a good developer who creates better code and less bug with fast turn around time, I am right here.
And I move on. It is a way to say no to such a client who is more concerned about the price than the value a developer can add to the business.
Out of my hundreds of clients, only one client in my whole freelancing career wanted a detailed breakdown of each 10 minutes of work done. After completing the first task of a few hours, I reported the job as complete and moved on.
I don’t overcharge hours but often undercharge them when I don’t consider my input as productive enough as I wanted it to be. However, the client was too concerned about the hourly price he was paying than the value it was adding to the website.
7. Very Difficult to Work With
Every client won’t be easy to work with, and it is easy to say no to such clients. The best way to tell a no is to refer them to others.
In my early days of freelancing, I used to manage 5 to 7 clients at a time. I could manage to work for so many clients because I prefer working for those who aren’t very tough to work with.
One of my recent clients had an issue hearing. So I couldn’t explain things over a voice call and had to type everything in chat. I had to move on because it was getting too difficult for me to explain things.
8. Very Busy Client
Some clients may be too busy to work with. Freelancers should avoid them because it can be tough to plan to work for such clients.
In a recent client interaction, I had a similar issue where reply to messages took days.
I am okay with a 48 hour turnaround time for weekdays, but more than that doesn’t work well for me. I am more than happy to let the client pass.
9. The Non-cash Deal Client
Some clients may be short on funds. So they want to offer you non-cash benefits in return for the services.
If you need those non-cash benefits, you can still work for them, but I prefer t avoid such clients.
I have been offered partnership on many occasions by many clients, and though I am open to it. In meetings and before any commitments, I always put forward the question related to my responsibilities and exit plans.
Often asking about exit plans makes the deal fall apart.
10. The Never Happy Client
Some clients won’t be happy no matter what has been done for them.
The best is to avoid such clients beforehand to avoid negative feedback.
Research about the client’s feedback from other freelancers but, more importantly, read what the client has to say for others. Every other freelancer can’t be wrong. Either client prefers working with low-quality freelancers, or he is a tough nut to crack. In both cases, clients are an avoid for freelancers.
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