Whether you work at an agency, as a freelancer, or have started your own service-based business, dealing with clients must be handled as fragilely as the work you put into your final deliverables.
Most clients are a joy to work with.
Some clients, however, may become the bane of your existence.
When it comes to the latter breed of clients descended from hell, you’ll want to be able to see red flags before getting into business together.
Being able to identify situations that will inevitably lead to stress will help you preserve room in your schedule for clients who are worth keeping around for eternity.
Let’s look at 8 of the biggest warning signs that you might be dealing with a client from hell.
No Direction with endless revisions
Although the client may be expecting you to dawn upon ground-breaking ideas, but what is the point of brainstorming when there is no direction to work with?
As a logo design agency, we start off by sending a questionnaire to our client as an attempt to glean all the pertinent details about their business model and pick their brains. Once we have secured a sneak-peak into their workings and preferences, it serves as a direction to move us along in our design journey.
However, sometimes we too come across exasperating clients who appear rather clueless as to what they want from us!
If you still decide to move forward without clarifying the end-goal, brace yourself for endless bouts of revisions. Even revisions which are not a part of the initial scope of work.
To save yourself from falling prey to such situations, you can take precautions before shaking hands with the client.
The best way to proceed with such a client is to start off with a questionnaire. And along with that, make sure you are clear on the payments. In this way, your efforts won’t go down the drain.
They complain that you charge too high
Maybe you’re charging on the pricier end of the spectrum, as far as their budget goes.
But some customers make it their life mission to complain about the price and still prefer to buy from you instead of looking for a more affordable alternative.
When someone disparages you, it clearly shows that they’re not valuing your effort and time.
To steer clear of this scenario, it is advised to list your rates publicly for everyone to see. This helps you shake off those pesky clients from the word go, while bringing you in the limelight for other potential clients.
They don’t listen and complain later
This client genre is by far the worst. They avoid heeding your words, and when things go south, they look for a scapegoat in you.
When clients come to us for their e-commerce website development, we try to sell them on what is best for them and educate them on what’s trending in their industry. But some clients try to impose upon us their ideas which they had heard from some third party freelance developers or because they saw someone else do it. Most of the times, these ideas are downright preposterous or not in the best interests of the client. But since our clients compel us to implement those ideas, we are left with no option but to comply. And when their project plummets to the ground, we bear the brunt of a tirade of unsolicited accusations.
To avoid this type of arrangement, you can ask the client for their requirements in writing before the project starts, so that you can justify your stance if the client puts down their foot down the road.
They think you’re always available on-call
Yes, it is good to accommodate your clients in matters of utmost urgency, but the clients from hell expect you to remain on-call all the time. As if you have nothing better to do than wait on them round the clock.
They expect instant results and even immediate deliverables.
You can evade such a scenario by mentioning the rush fees for accepting any off-time-calls or to make alterations or revisions on an urgent basis.
Stress on the importance of work-life balance. It is perfectly okay to reject assignments if you find them toppling your personal life.
They take all the credit
I am sure most of you have encountered this situation back in the school days. When you help your friends out with the exam preparation and they end up with a higher score, even though you studied your brains out for an entire year. And worst still, your friend cannot stop boasting of their skills to all who would listen.
Unfortunately this doesn’t stop at school; professional life meets the same fate. When the clients from hell take all the credit for your job, it is all you can do not to run berserk.
Perhaps you would be better able to gulp down the bitter sip if the client is paying you handsomely, but if the client is holding back on what you are due and not giving you the credit as well, it is high time to fire your client and move on to the next one.
Unplanned weekly meetings
Good things take time. You cannot update your client every week on your progress, but the clients from hell demand a weekly meeting to stay updated on what you have been up to the preceding week.
The best approach is to set a time and day for such meetings. For instance, give your client a 15 days window and after that, update them on what you have done so far.
There is no need to answer every call of the client or entertain preposterous requests for such redundant meetings just for the sake of keeping your client happy.
They destroy your work with their novice editing
Being a website design agency, we often come across clients who ask us for the workable file of the logo and wreak havoc on our months of sweat and blood with their downright abominable editing skills. Not only do they end-up changing the overall concept of the designed logo “in an attempt to make it better”, they have the nerve to tell you how it’s done!
Even if they don’t blame you for their Frankenstein edits in your deliverable, it is not something that you can be proud of, especially if your reputation is at stake.
If a client constantly puts you in a position where your work is transformed into something tacky, you’re better off spending your time looking for someone who appreciates you as you are.
They Threaten Your Reputation
Despite your best efforts, these clients from hell not only tweak your work without taking you in confidence, they vilify you in front of your other clients.
Set the record straight for clients who publicly disgrace you.
Publish the story on your own account and let people know what actually happened.
Keep in mind that once you start the game of tug and war, your private conversations with the client can go public.
The closing thought
If reading these warning signs is starting to give you hives because you’re thinking about your own past – or present – clients from hell, take a break and blow off some steam.