Client input is either a really great resource or just a pain in the process. For me it goes both ways, some clients offer input that is useful and important to the design while others need something that will either hurt their image or is impossible to give. In this article we will give you the pros and cons of each type of client as well as how you can redirect bad clients in a way that will help you in your process.
Good clients have their cons just like bad clients have their pros. Just because a client fits the bill as a typical good client does not mean that they will not give you a hard time in the long run. Use the article below to help you decide if a good client will go bad or a bad client is able to be molded into a good client.
Good Vs. Bad
What does it mean to be good or bad? We all have our own ideas about what makes a client good verses what makes a client bad. My idea for a good client is helpful, willing to take critical views of their ideas, and knows that we know more about the internet and web design then they do. My idea of a bad client is that they are to picky and seldom ever change their ideas no matter how tasteless or impossible.
Here is a brief overview of a typical good client for me. They give me links and text that helps me visualize their company image and what their website should look like. These clients have content they can provide that is original, checked for writing errors, and helpful to your overall goal.
A good client seldom complains because they give you such a good idea of what they want that they know what to expect. They have approved mockups and realize that changing the design scheme 1 day before project completion is a bad idea and would make the website designer’s life a lot harder. A good client provides their own content long before the deadline.
Pros for Good Clients
Always provides content
Always gives constructive input regarding the design and the process
Always uses email unless their issue is important like “site down”, etc
Always allows the creativeness of the designer to flow without constant supervision
Always keeps with scheduled deadlines regarding payment and content
Always makes change known before deadline for project
Cons for Good Clients
Sometimes they are to picky and do not allow you to actually design
They send emails for every single issue they have no matter how mundane
They have a set idea for costs since they have calculated what a project should cost based on the content provided
Here is a brief overview of a typical bad client for me. They usually provide you with content either late or incomplete. They expect you, since you are the designer, to be able to make their $1,000 website function and look exactly like the $30,000 website their established competitor has (with over 50 years in the business and a complete customer following), don’t forget they want their competitor’s customers to switch the day after the site is published. A bad client changes their mind with every website they compare their’s to and in turn needs you to implement these changes on schedule and below budget.
A bad client is not all bad though. Usually if you catch them early enough with a good contract and a good design you can easily turn them into a good client….but if you miss that window you may just have to let them go and move on to a new client. If you can mold their ideas and opinions into something that is productive for you then you may very well have a good client in the making. Sometimes a bad client is always a bad client regardless of what you do….they will never be happy or content and you should let them go quickly before its to late. As unlikely as it sounds, we have complied a list of pros for a bad client.
Pros for Bad Clients
Open to your opinion if you show them that your idea is worth while
If they are stuck to a contract then they can not manipulate you into busy work
NO is the easiest answer regarding a bad client, if they don’t like it then most likely they would not have been beneficial for you anyway
Bad clients are rare, unless you do not make them sign contracts or you say yes to everything
Cons for Bad Clients
No need to list these, just read the above paragraph.
Now, I know that most designers run into a “ugly” client every now and then, but they are even more rare then the bad clients. An ugly client can not only ruin their project but can ruin your reputation. A ugly client begins as a good client that provides all content on time and allows you to open be creative and keeps the project on schedule without tying you up to much.
They no longer listen to your suggestions on good design practice and now they want to incorporate a music player that automatically plays without the possibility of being turned off (hidden from the user). In the end a ugly client gives you ideas that if incorporated into their website would either make it a train wreck you do not want to have in your portfolio or your lack of cooperation makes them back out of the agreement completely (forfeiting their down payment and you lose the final payment).
Luckily we have only had one client that turned into an ugly client but they were quickly let go forfeiting their down payment and saving us a tarnished portfolio. With our other clients we have had better luck then some.