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When you’re starting out in your own business it’s tempting to say yes to every job that comes along. Unless you’re one of the rare ones beginning your new career with work already lined up, you’re probably grateful for anything that comes along. What if it’s the only work you get offered this month?

However, as times goes by, you gain more confidence in your abilities. Along the way, you’ll realise that not all clients are created equal. And you’ll probably encounter these three types of client…

The late payers

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Not all late-paying clients are awful to work with. Some are funny and seem kind. The work they offer is interesting and some of them offer you a lot of it!

But, come invoice time, the problems appear, along with the excuses.

They didn’t get the invoice. They thought their accounts manager/secretary/deputy/cat had paid it. They haven’t been in the office.

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It’s a question of whether you’re prepared for the working relationship to be like this. If the size of the contracts make you feel that it’s worth waiting longer for payment, great.

Keep the lines of communication open, and let the client know that it’s not good enough to be consistently late. Chasing payment doesn’t have to be something which ends your relationship.

The ones who send the nightmare brief

A clear brief is a must. You need to know the exact scope of the project, how the clients wants it to be done, and who for. Knowing the brief is how you price the job, after all! It’s also useful to know what rights you retain to your work.

Some clients just don’t know how to send a brief. Others will always change their minds half way through, or suddenly remember things which need to be included.

Sometimes it might be a communication issue, and the client just needs a lot of managing to get the exact brief out of them. Sadly, some people are too easily swayed, and the brief will change constantly as they encounter new influences.

It can help if you’re the one who writes the brief, by compiling everything that they say. Send this over to the client for review. It ensures everything included is relevant, and might jog their memory for the other things to be included.

The unreasonable demanders

This covers the project scope expanders and the late-night-callers. Some clients don’t really have a sense of personal boundaries. Of course, if they’re leaving a message at a time convenient for them, for you to pick up at your convenience, that’s fair enough. The clients who expect you to be always-on are harder to deal with.

There is seldom a gentle way to deal with these sorts of demanding clients. Be firm about your limitations, and if you ever decide to make an exception, be clear that it is a one-off. Don’t tie yourself in knots for unreasonable clients. Think of your blood pressure!

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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