Freelancers typically accept clients on a first come first serve basis but 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.
Freelancers typically accept clients on a first come first serve basis but 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 but in the midst of such drift, there will always be 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 because 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 he thought were a must. He hired me to create a script to create forums from by uploading a CSV file. I insisted it isn’t an important 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 really 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 a no activity in a forum or sub-forum, he or she won’t post their questions or start a discussion.
Having all threads in 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 successful communities, it is pretty obvious 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 suggestions on every aspect. The client isn’t sure what is needed but more importantly why?
Both the extremes cases aren’t going to help.
Have conversations with the client where you can understand what client is looking for but also find out why it is important for the client to get it done. What are their 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 than one would like, it is better to avoid such clients.
4. Too Much Detailing
Some clients ask for minute details on each and every task.
They aren’t technically very equipped to know what is done but still prefer to know. It can be good 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.
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 and are more eager to save more than earning more.
Outsourcing and hiring a freelancer is to save on the cost but client 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 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 difficult to grow the community and either made a move to XenForo or has given up on the growth aspect of a community.
If you happen to be working for such client, it is better off avoiding them.
6. Focus on Price than Value
I get 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 and it is part and parcel of competitive freelancing websites.
My answer to such client is:
You are free to hire them and I don’t compete with them on price but if you need good developer with fast turn around time, I am right here.
And I move on. It is a way to say no to such 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 wanted a detailed breakdown of each 10 minutes of work done. After the completing the first task of few hours, I reported the job as complete as soon as I completed the first milestone and moved on. I don’t overcharge hours but often under charge them when I do not consider my input as productive enough but the client was too concerned about the price he was paying for what was worked on rather than the value it was adding to his or her 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. Best way to say a no is referring them to others.
I often manage 5 to 7 clients at a time and the reason being, I prefer working with clients who aren’t very tough to work with.
One of my recent clients had issue hearing and 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. It is better for freelancers to avoid them because it can be really tough to plan to work for such clients.
In a recent client interaction, I had a similar issue.
I am fine with a 48 hour turnaround time for weekdays but more than that doesn’t work well for me and I am more than happy to let the client pass.
9. The Non-cash Deal Client
Some clients may be short on funds and so may offer you non-cash benefits in return for your services.
If you really need those non-cash benefits and may use it, then it may be something you can consider but not otherwise.
I have been offered partnership on many occasions by many clients and though I am open to it. In meetings and prior to any commitments I always put forward the question related to my responsibilities and the 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 prefer working with low-quality freelancers or he is a tough nut to crack but in both the cases, clients are best avoided.
Further Reading …