As in any business understanding the Freelance client and their requirements should be one of your top priorites. Well we know the different types of people we deal with everyday, likewise the clients who provide freelancing jobs to you can be categorized in many ways. In this article our focus is not to identify the client charecteristics but to help you work with different characters and make the most of your freelance business.
Clients we love to have: These clients are easy to spot and easy to work with. They are flexible in their requirements and willing to pay the right price for the right job. They are easy to please with the work and certainly wont pester you to make many revisions. They are very important to boost your morale as well to keep you interested in the freelancing industry. This breed of clients are not easily found and hence should be kept happy with decent efforts by you. Since they are loved by all they can easily be swayed by a better job from a competitor. So try to add in some goodies and freebies which they would appreciate and try to make them good as well.
Clients you should avoid: Like those good hearted folks arounds there are those sharks lurking in the industry. These types are more into legal agreements and have more Do's and Dont's and payment clauses than the project requirements. Avoid them if you are new to the industry and dont sign anything for them. Unless you are big enough to have your own legal counsel and have the resources to complete job you would be better off avoiding these projects. The second type you would want to avoid are the ones whow dont know what they want. These are the folks who would say get me a logo for my business you create some variations and I will see if i like one of them. These are very bad for business because they are hard to understand they expect you to create something they would like. Ah if it were that easy. And the same folks are the ones who would complain later if they find any problems and wont pay you for revisions. Try to avoid or ask them to be more specific and get your terms right with them. The other type of people to avoid is folks who think their project is the only project you are working on and what they provide is the most urgent always. These folks will drain your energy and make you work long hours, unless it is a lean month avoid them.
Now that we have covered 20% of the potential clients you will have, now we will take a look at the clients who will be the bread and butter for your freelancing business. We will keep it simple in this article as we will be dedicating a full session in the coming months on this topic. So we wont add variations to the types we discuss just the main characteristics are dealt with here.
Clients looking for a discount in the advertised prices: These clients are the easy to please as they can live with a reduced service level. IF you have added the price for some of the premium services we can take them off and provide a discounted rates. Have you seen the hotels and how they price their rooms you may want to try and mimic them. Inorder to work with these clients be specific on what type of service will be provided. You dont have to convey what they wont be getting at the discounted price. You may want to ask them to be flexible on their schedule and try to engage them in your lean months and time of the year.
Clients looking for a babysitter: they are not so tech savvy and want you ro hand hold them through the project. You should bill every hour you spend in helping them along with the project hours. You should be upfront about this and before rendering the needed help you may want to politely say that the time you spend helping them will be billed. This would avoid confrontations later and if you think the projects are good you may want to thow some extra hours to them to win future projects and referals. These folks typically have a word of mouth network which cannot be targeted by any advertisements but just by good work.
Clients who tell you what they "exactly" want: This type of clients are often outsourcing because they dont have time or they think they can do something better with their time. They will be very specific on what they want and dont anticipate your expertize in pruning or updating the requirements. The best way to deal with them is to tell them you will be doing as told and stick to what they want to get done. You can try to suggest a few changes but if they are in a dont care mode then just forget this and get the job done as quickly as possible.
We are on a "tight budget" type client: There are clients who are genuinely on a tight budget to finish some of the projects due to lack of cash flows or due to some outside commitments they have. You should evaluate if the requirement can be finished on budget in the time alloted. if you cannot please be upfront and try to reduce the amount of requirements that should be met. If they are not flexible and the money involved is very less or you dont think they will bring repeat business just be polite and refer someone else for the job. Then again there are those folks who are trying to look for deals and prey on the light hearted freelancers. They are the ones to watch out for, they would ask in different ways to get more done for free or pay less than committed. Deal with caution when you handle the second variety.
Now that we have seen some of the client types we will be dealing with in the freelancing industry you can apply this knowledge the next time you deal with your clients appropriately. More to come real soon on this topic, so stay tuned.