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How can I avoid problematic clients?

When offering a professional service, clients help your business grow. While they’re an integral aspect of being successful, you also want to choose your clients wisely to prevent serious issues, such as contract disputes, from occurring down the line. Medium explains some common client red flags to look for so you can avoid problems.

Downplaying the amount of work

While it’s not always the case, some clients downplay the amount of work that it takes to finish the project because they don’t understand the actual work process. This is often the case for clients in need of design help, which may seem simple to the untrained eye but is actually quite complex in the execution. Clients who claim to have extensive knowledge of the service they’re seeking can also cause issues. Although it may be beneficial in some respects, be wary of your professional decisions of being undermined.

Setting the bar too high

Of course, you want your client to be impressed at the end of the project, but when the bar is set too high it can be a recipe for disaster. For example, the person you’re working with is bound to be disappointed at the end of the day when his vision isn’t exactly achieved. Try to rein in expectations to a reasonable level by asking a lot of questions. This will help you pinpoint what the client is hoping to see, while also avoiding any disputes about a seemingly lackluster output.

Offering future work in lieu of pay

Building a portfolio is great for people in design, but it can’t replace income. Unfortunately, some clients will ask for a lower price by promising that future work will be forthcoming. If you set your rates reasonably, consider that the real reason this person is asking for lower pay is because they can’t cover the costs now. This doesn’t bode well for future projects, and you should stand firm on you’re asking price, especially with new clients.