I’ve been working as a designer for over ten years, and trust me when I say I’ve had my share of BAD clients. Don’t underestimate the power of a bad client experience….not just on them, but on the toll it can take on you as a designer. Over the past year I have had a handful of negative experiences with clients, simply because I decided to look past things that otherwise would have made me say no to working with them. And I wholly regret that. These are things I look for before I even schedule a clarity call!
1) They just assume you will want to work with them, no questions asked.
If they’re not concerned whether or not you would be a good fit for each other, or they are pushy/demanding in their initial email, it’s probably NOT going to be a good fit.
2) They have no idea what they need or want.
One of the worst clients I ever had told me from the very beginning “I have no idea what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I see it.” Looking back….I should have run for the hills.
I also find that this frequently happens with business that are just getting started…and for this reason I state on my website and on my contact form that I only work with clients who have been in business for 3 years or more.
3) They email you rather than filling out your contact form, and clearly have never looked at your website.
90% of the time when this happens, they’re asking me questions that would easily be answered if they had looked at my website (pricing, availability, timeline, etc). Chances are, they’ve emailed a handful of designers, and will hire whoever gets back to them the fastest with the lowest price. And when it’s obvious that someone hasn’t looked at your website, you KNOW they haven’t looked at yourportfolio. Never work with someone who isn’t familiar with your work, your process, or your brand values. HUGE red flag!
4) They send follow up emails saying “just checking to see if you got my last email” when only a few hours have passed.
The worst is when they send that…..after business hours…respect some boundaries, people!!
5) They say “I’ve already worked with another designer on this project but they just didn’t ‘get me.'”
9 times out of 10 this means the client doesn’t know what they want, communicates their ideas poorly, and/or was extremely difficult to work with.