After you finally become a web designer and start fighting for success in the real world, you can find yourself in a rather difficult position. The teachers probably warned (or you heard) that there may be different problems with future clients. However, the reality is often even more brutal than we initially think.
The bills start to accumulate, the payment term for the apartment is getting closer and in such conditions, a dubious customer who wants you to design a logo and website design for him for $ 100- $ 150 looks not such a bad option. We all know how difficult it is to stick to our principles and find a good job that allows careers and skills to grow, and not get bogged down in a routine, but in difficult times it is difficult to think about it.
When you take on an order from a terrible customer who refuses to pay in full or in part, or someone who has a million complaints about a job, you spend much more time working with him than finding a good customer. A bad customer will always cost you more than the price they pay.
Customers turn to freelance designers in connection with the desire to increase the profitability of their business, whether it is creating a website or developing a brand. At least initially, they understand that they need the services of a professional who can create something useful to help increase profits. I have found that reminding clients politely but firmly is an effective way of not interfering with your work.
Your ultimate goal as a designer is to find clients who will trust you. Otherwise, too fearful customers may start to find fault with the little things. In most cases (but not always) the higher you rate your design services, the more often you will find clients who respect your opinion and trust you. At the same time, especially picky people who want to control everything, your proposal will scare away.
Set a decent and adequate price for your services. If you underestimate the cost of work at the very beginning of your career, it will be very difficult to increase it later.
See no evil
Today, more and more designers are choosing to work remotely rather than face to face with customers. There are pros and cons to this. If you find a great client, then infrequent e-mail only contributes to productivity.
If your customer is of a different type, collaboration can be a nightmare. Many studies show that face-to-face communication helps to establish contact between people, especially when it comes to business / work.
If you work remotely, then you have little or no way to visually assess your client. Skype can be a huge help here, but it’s even better if you manage to meet him in person. Regardless of whether it will be a meeting or communication using special programs, in long-term projects it is important to see your client’s face and accept the task from his mouth.
From such communication, you can find out what type of customer you are dealing with. This can be understood by the words he uses in describing his work, how he explains your future tasks, or even the appearance of the office. If you are not satisfied with something or an unpleasant feeling from the customer arises, it is worth considering whether you need to take on this work at all. In any case, you will not receive an unexpected unpleasant surprise in the future.
If the client doesn’t respect your work, they’ll let you know in a subtle (or not so) way, such as when discussing a project. The most alarming signs are offers to work for “notoriety” and “large number of customers” in the uncertain future. If you have been with online designers for some time, you should know for sure that doing unpaid work is one of the most damaging things you can do for your own career and for the design industry in general…
Even paying customers will sometimes offer this to you, knowing that any other web designer would take such an offer as an insult. You don’t want to always “work for fame”, do you? Yes, sometimes it can be a good incentive to get future orders, however, you should be aware that potential customers do not always pay attention to this.
For you, fame means a specific movement in a specific direction. If your client is ready to provide you with a list of actual customers who will be interested in you as a specialist, after working for him, then this work makes sense, otherwise, you shouldn’t even start. In this case, most likely, they are just playing with you, wanting to receive your services for free. Run.
The next big warning is clients who are trying to play down the amount of time and effort to work on a project. Phrases such as “Oh, it shouldn’t take you long”, “Any student could do it” and my favorite “I could do this little thing myself, but I just don’t have time for it” should alert you … By the way, if they don’t have time to do “this little thing,” how can they know that it will take five minutes?
If the client assumes that your work does not take a lot of time, then they do not understand the web design process at all. You want to run away from such a customer. Why? Because this is the very person who will constantly argue with you about payment, being sure that you deliberately delay the deadlines in order to get more. Theoretically, you can prescribe all the main nuances in the contract, but why put up with this headache when you can simply refuse such an order?
The last and perhaps most dangerous type of client is the “designer” or “art director.” You’ve probably met such people. A person of a completely different profession who in the future wants to do design or even attends special courses. However, he wants to play an active role in the design process without having any professional knowledge of web design.
Most sane designers try not to get involved with such customers, since they often have an unfinished design project and want to complete it with your help. They may call you at 3 am with an “urgent” change or a brilliant idea. Often, they cannot specifically explain what they really want or should get.
Firstly, I want to say that the article is a translation of the publication The Types of Web Design Clients to Avoid (pictures are taken from the same place). The author raised a rather interesting topic that, I think, everyone came across. Surely, you have come across some of the types of clients described here. I have had especially picky, and know-it-alls, and lovers of the phrase “I just have no time to do this trifle myself.” Practice shows that it is better to stay away from such characters.
When you first interact with a potential client, try to rate him in the same way he rates you. If you can’t communicate in person, try to clarify as accurately as possible all the details and nuances of work. Both parties must understand what is required of them – what result the contractor will present and what the customer expects.
A good customer will always respect your time and experience. He will adequately and promptly respond to all questions and comments. Actually, I wish you such customers!
It would be interesting to read your tips and tricks for identifying good clients.