If there is anything that bonds designers, writers, programmers and other freelance careers together, it’s the “C” word. CLIENTS. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. We’ve all had them. They come in varying degrees of trouble or joy, but ultimately when we are dealing with others, we’re always in for some surprises along the way.
Can we do anything about it? Short of moving to a deserted island I don’t think so. But, the thing that we can do is watch for the warning signs during meetings and along the path of a project.
The other day, over lunch a designer friend and I were swapping stories. Before we knew it we had developed a “Quiz” for clients. No, this is not something I’d really give a client, but I can attest that ever question on this “quiz” is based from a real life client experience. Things that are hard to believe, but true.
The good news is, for all the bad clients out there, there are also great clients out there. Just for grins, join me now for “The Client Quiz”.
1. When your designer tells you they require the project communication to be conducted via email you . . .
A. Call your designer at 8 AM
B. Text, because you don’t want to be rude by calling too much.
C. Email, but then you call them to confirm they got your email.
D. Email your designer and wait for their reply.
2. When composing an email to your designer you. . .
A. Ignore ALL punctuation because this is casual communication and write the entire thing in ALL CAPS to add emphasis.
B. Use random punctuation, change your text color to red, Capitalizing OFTEN with lots of exclamation points because you are excited!!!
C. Use texting slang and avoid punctuation creating an entirely long run-on sentence of sorts.
D. Compose a well written, intelligent email to your designer with your request.
3. When requesting a quote from a new designer you . . .
A. Keep details vague yet pressure the designer into quoting it.
B. Confuse the designer and change your mind several times during the initial conversation.
C. Provide the designer with a ‘mock-up’ you created in Word.
D. Give the designer clear, concise information on what you’re looking for and leave the details to them.
4. When looking at other designs for inspiration you . . .
A. Email your designer with the link to what you want to be your new website, just with your logo instead of the current one.
B. Call your designer with the names of 20 websites you want to copy.
C. Email your designer scanned pages out of your niece’s coloring book colored with “the best color combinations” you’ve ever seen.
D. Send your designer several links of the style and colors you would like and ask for their feedback.
5. When discussing project budget with your designer you . . .
A. Show up in a Rolls Royce and explain how you will pay no more than minimum wage for this project as it’s “just fun for the designer”.
B. Make a point of letting the designer know that you have a lot of other bills and prefer to work on a “cash” basis (and don’t need a receipt).
C. Carefully scrutinize every dollar figure on the contract and repeatedly ask, “What does this cover again?”
D. Show the designer the courtesy of respecting their time and efforts
by offering to pay them well for their work.
6. When you receive an invoice you . . .
A. Ignore it and call to discuss a new set of changes you are sending.
B. Put a “check” in the mail that happens to get lost.
C. Send a check on the day the balance is due.
D. Send your payment to arrive on or prior to the date it is due.
7. When you determine that you want to change a project you . . .
A. Send the designer new directions demanding changes immediately.
B. Subtly send the changes in a series of emails as if they were part of the original agreement.
C. Apologize for the changes but ask that they “bear with you”.
D. Send the changes and ask what the revision fee will be.
8. When you come across a picture of your great-great grandparents, but discover your grandmother’s face has worn off you . . .
A. Send a scanned version of the old photo and ask the designer to touch it up and replace your great-great grandmother’s face.
B. Email a scanned version of the old photo and then a photo of your grandmother right before she passed asking the designer to “go ahead and rebuild her face”.
C. Ask the designer to come meet you to pick up the photo so they can touch it up.
D. Send your designer a scanned in version of the photo and ask them if they can touch it up.
9. When you meet with a new designer at a coffeeshop for the first time you . . .
A. Wait awkwardly for them to offer to buy your coffee and then order the most expensive drink in the shop.
B. Refuse any coffee or drink, because you only drink “folgers.”
C. Allow the designer to buy your drink but thank them and order a moderate size
D. Insist on buying the designer’s coffee as you appreciate them taking the time to meet with you
10. When you discover a problem with the final design that you didn’t catch you . . .
A. Call them screaming, ranting, and firing personal insults at them
B. Write them an email in all caps (because you ARE angry) and threaten to not pay them the balance, blaming them for the problem.
C. Call your designer and demand they make the adjustment and pay any extra costs
D. Email your designer, inform them of what you have discovered, and see what your options are.
A dog runs out in front of your car. . .
A. You speed up to try to hit it
B. You start screaming and swearing at it to get out of your way
C. Wait until the very last minute to swerve out of the way almost hitting another driver.
D. Hit the brakes and pray you don’t hit the dog!
What Can You Expect?
A’s. A designer will say, “I’m sorry but we will be unable to fulfill your needs and requirements for this project.”
B’s. A designer will say, “I’m sorry, at this time we just can’t take on any new projects. Let me give you the number of. . . .(muahahahaha).”
C’s. A designer will say, “We will be sending you a quote with a built in fee for the therapy we will need if this project takes a turn for the worse.”
D’s. A designer will say, “Here’s my business card please email me the specs of your project and we will get you a quote!”
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Thanks for reading and good luck with your clients!