Wednesday, December 30, 2009

They Love Me...They Love Me Not...

Good Clients Vs. Bad Clients & how to deal

As a freelancer, it is important to have a mutual beneficial relationship with your client. Most issues that arise from client/freelancer relationships are derived from a lack of communication as well as lack of understanding. In this diary entry, I will explain the five most critical and common client types. It doesn't matter what your freelancing endeavor consists of, at some point in you freelancing career you will run into at least one of these client types.

Client Type # 1 - Paranoia

This client tends to be very legal savvy. He or she probably will not want to discuss particulars with you until you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and more than likely it will lie heavily in their favor. The upside of this is to remember you are being protected as well. I once had a prospect who would not even disclose the brand's name to me without me signing a NDA, but wanted me to send her digital copies of my portfolio before we sat down for the signing. Needless to say, I politely turned down any future business with her company, but after that situation I realized the importance of an NDA. Sometimes dealing with this type of client adds more risk than gain, so try to consider if it is worth it before accepting the project. Weigh out all the pros and cons, and read that NDA very closely. Most importantly do not be afraid to ask questions!

Client # 2 - The Bargain Hunter

This client type believes all prices should be negotiable. This means agreeing on price and job descriptions can get a bit frustrating, complicated, and drawn out. The best way to handle them is to take the same bargain-like approach. Negotiate with the client to find a fair price. This usually involves bidding at a higher price model and working your way down to a reasonable price. Remember to be assertive on what is expected as far as payment and workload.

Client # 3- The Indecisive-Decision Maker

This client type has the inability to articulate what he or she wants, which makes this client more higher risk than most. The risk is higher because if you don't produce what they think they want at the time; this client freelancer relationship can become quite costly in both terms of time and money. Not to mention, this can create a strain between both parties which can end in a negative way. The best way to deal with this client is to be very clear with how much revisions cost, and let them know your revision policy. A good design brief is also another way to help guide the client into the right direction as far as his or her needs go. I will cover design briefs in another diary entry so stay tuned!

Client # 4 - The Budget Client

This client is similar to the bargain hunter, but usually has a much tighter budget to start with. Its best to take time to think about the quality of work they expect and how much this project will cost in terms of time, and look at the budget realistically. Make sure you reiterate the amount of work that comes with their limited budget. Let the limitations be known early on, and if they become negative or pushy, its best to just leave this client alone all together.

Client # 5 - 'The Right-Now!' Client

This client usually requests your services and expect completion on a very tight schedule. This client assumes their project has the highest priority, and therefor expect things at the snap of a finger. This client can develop into an inconvenience being that they may require extra attention than most. If this client gives you a very short time frame for an intensive project, be sure to adjust your price accordingly, and explain this price modification before accepting. Try to limit the amount of these types of clients if possible, because they can become quite stressful.

There you have it the five client types to keep any eye out for. Keep in mind some clients may share some of those traits, and this is only to be used as a guide; because of course, not everyone is made equal. I hope this helps you along your freelancing journey! Stay tuned for next week's post on freelance portfolio advice.

Fashionably Yours,

Since the tender age of twelve, Schaumin Chanel Alexander has been creating fashion illustrations, and designing womenswear apparel. Shortly after graduating college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design & Marketing, she began freelancing her talents. Schaumin is the designer and chief operator of Creative Conceptz Ltd., a company dedicated to freelance fashion design


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