Not all clients are created equal. Every client that comes along may not be a match for your services, or for you and your team. That’s a particularly harsh reality when the project and money are great, but the client reputation is bad.
What do you do? Do you take the client and tell yourself its only one project? Do you say the money is good enough to overlook the fact that the next 6 months or a year will likely be filled with strife and anxiety? Or do you graciously walk away?
A client that’s worked with multiple designers or firms and is openly critical of all of them, should trigger an auto-response to run the other direction.
But, if you’re inclined to take on a notoriously “bad client”, here’s 5 things you should consider:
1. Consider the emotional toll the client will take on your team.
A client who takes a blow-torch to your front line not only creates a toxic relationship, but also demoralizes and fatigues you and your team. You may lose some of your best people (or yourself!) if they’re required to regularly interact with an abusive or disruptive client.
2. Consider the resources required to keep the client at least somewhat satisfied with the work you’re doing.
Typically, these difficult clients require more resources than your average client. Will those additional resources take away from other elements of your business? What are the additional costs? Can your fees cover them?
3. Consider how the client will affect the work you’re doing for other clients.
If you take this client on, will your other clients suffer? Will the good ones get short-serviced so the bad one is kept marginally happy?
4. Consider whether you can really make a profit servicing the demands of this client.
With the additional talent and resources needed to service the client, can you actually make a profit on the project? Or, will your profits be devoured by re-works, dealing with client tantrums, or demands to see additional design work and renderings?
5. Consider the repercussions if the client fires you mid-project.
Getting fired mid-project has to be one of the worst situations in our business. Obviously, it doesn’t look good to the outside world, and your reputation could be tarnished. Except in rare instances, or when it is clearly spelled out in your upfront contract, it’s often hard to recoup financially. Never mind the psychological and emotional upheaval that goes with getting fired.
You’ll spare yourself from a tremendous amount of stress, time, and money by avoiding difficult clients. If you do decide to take one on, make sure you’re prepared, and get off to the best start possible. An air-tight contract is a must.
Do you have thoughts about taking on bad clients? We’d love to hear them.
VIOSKI is an experience of artistic expression brought to life in timeless modern furniture design. Unique in style, charismatic and sensual. Each piece is masterfully created to be simple yet complex. Proportional yet fluid. Handcrafted in California by master artisans who devote themselves to extraordinary quality. VIOSKI is New-Century Modern.