10 Signs Of a Bad Client You Should Drop

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It’s been about a week since I haven’t made a post. I was really busy, so I was nowhere near my computer. I’m back now and will be doing two posts a week again, Thank you for staying tune and I hope to bring more creative and useful posts. Here is a great start for a new post 10 Signs Of a Bad Client You Should Drop. I know many of you have had a client that you didn’t enjoy working with, but it was too late to drop the client. Read this list of signs that show you the clients that you can drop before starting the project. I hope you enjoy this post.

Phone Meeting or In person

Phone meeting or in person:

You should get an impression of the client in the first meet-up.  I think this is the best time to get to know your new client.  One thing that makes for a bad client is when their ideas sound like something from the 90’s, like gif images that move around the page, ugly background colors, and we can’t forget the use of really big, colorful fonts because this client wants the user to clearly the main font.  If every idea you present to the client gets rejected, then that’s a sure sign of a bad client.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay for a client to say no to ideas, but every idea is a different story.  By this time, you should be planning your exit.

No supplies

No supplies:

No Supplies is a good way of saying the client can’t get vital items to you on time.  Half of the time, you’re taking a website from point A to point B, but there are material a client will need to give you to finish the project on time.  We are talking content, images, the hosting, and so on.  I feel this one is important because freelance designers normally want to finish a project on a set date.  Every day after is just losing money.  If losing money is not a bad sign, then what is?

To picky

To picky:

When you hand in your initial mock ups to your client, and they just say they hate it.  Honest feedback is great, but there is a line that you shouldn’t cross.  Once a client crosses the line, it’s time for you to call it quits for this project.  If you don’t, you will just have a client that complains too much and will never be happy with your work.  This can discourage you and make you think you’re not good at designing, which is not true.  You just have a client that will never be satisfied, so move on to the next client.

Payment Not on Time

Payment Not on Time:

After working hard, day and night, making the perfect website for your client, it is now time to pay.  You’re calling and emailing, but the client is not getting back to you.  You send out an invoice, 30 days pass, and no sign of your check in the mail.  You’re also stuck with a website that you can’t sell or use because it was a specific design for this client.  If the client can’t pay you online or in person, this is a major sign to not to work with this client again.  If you have trouble getting the 50% upfront, just move on to a new client.

Making Changes

Making Changes:

This one is 50/50 with me, but I think some clients take it overboard with changes.  Sometimes, you make so many changes that in the end, you have a completely different website.  Now, you’ve designed two websites for the price of one.  A client that asks for too many changes is not good to work with because you never have time to move on to another project (you will be making changes for a 100 years).  The best way to take care of this problem is to set up a contract that tells the client they are entitled to make a certain amount of changes or whatever you feel works best for you.

Doesn't Keep to the Contract

Doesn’t Keep to the Contract:

A very important rule that many designers, including me, don’t do at some point is to set up a contract with the client.  If you don’t make a contract, they will always want to add new things as you go. You’re asking for big trouble when a client requests round after round, revisions with new requests each time.  In the end, you’re the one losing. This one is for sure, a bad sign.

Really Cheap

Really Cheap:

At one point, we all worked for a low wage because we needed the money.  A client that tries to talk down the price is not a client that you want to work with.  First of all, you will be doing a lot more work than you are getting paid for.  It’s not worth it.  You’re also going to have trouble getting paid from a client like this.  For example, some clients would say:  “Come on, that price is too much for what I want you to do.  It’s really easy!”  If it’s so easy, then do it yourself.

Not in Touch much

Not in Touch much:

One of the best ways to get a project done on time is with great communication.  If it takes a client longer than 3 days to return your phone call or emails, this is definitely not a good sign.  I’m not talking about having a 2 hour talk, but just keeping them up to date with the project and you might have some questions along the way too.  If there is no communication from the start, there will be problems in the end.

Making Them self at Home

Making Them self at Home:

Always be professional when you’re with a client.  Some clients get unprofessional quickly.  It is okay to be friendly with your client because that’s what got you the project in the first place.  Some clients like to bad mouth their past designers or just talk unprofessionally about others.  So just remember you will be that old designer at one point.  Would you want someone talking about you like that?

No Idea

No Idea:

It’s safe to say that 90% of clients know what they want for a website, but the remaining 10% have no idea what they want.  This can quickly become an issue for you.  Getting a client that has no idea will really take a lot out of you.  Try to walk away without leaving a trail.  This client will be all over the place when ideas do start coming in.

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Creative Director
My name is Julio A Rivera, I'm a Creative Director/Web Designer from New York City and I'm the Founder of Underworld Magazines also Mydesign7.com. I'm happy to share some of the web best resources and give you Inspiration. Follow me on Twitter @mydesign7
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  • http://www.ahkeno.com ahkeno

    I agreed your point of view…Especially in No Idea and Making Changes.Really Good Points.


  • http://www.blazewebstudio.co.za/marketing_guide Geoffrey Gordon

    Excellent article Julio, when it comes to the pitfalls of clients in design you have definitely nailed it on the head. I think the fussy ones are the worst. I had a client that it took six months to complete, information came slow and non responsiveness. Ended up not liking the design at all. Great points.


  • http://n/a Exumer

    Its funny how you list this as bad signs of a client..but more times than not its the designer who breaks these rules. ive worked with plenty of designers for logo and web design for a past project and they were all flakey. This was a common trail for just about every designer ive worked with: never adhered to their own set schedule, never really designing for you personally (instead they tweak something theyve done in the past and hope it will fit your project), barely keeping in touch (we used basecamp for every project and even then i wouldnt hear back for weeks). just a thought.


    Creative Director Reply:

    Yea I know there will always be designers that can’t finish a project and keep you running around. so I’m with you on this one to.


  • http://www.paddyvisions.com/insta-website.html Aditya Menon

    Hi Julio, the points you make are good. However, the spelling and grammar are slipping dude, take care of that! It looks like you wrote this is in a REAL hurry, and forgot to add the commas, fullstops etc…


    Good Post, otherwise.


    Creative Director Reply:

    Lol I’m not a writer I’m a designer so I just do the best i can, =)


  • http:/pablolarah.cl/ Pablo Lara H

    Excellent article!


  • http://www.artfans.info/ Fandy

    Good article Julio, nice tips…
    You should put your experiences with bad client on clientsfromhell.net :)


  • http://www.lkrvk.com lakshmi kanth raju

    exactly a true story explained in a professional way……….face a few customers who have no idea how they want the site to be. they agree first day wit one layout and go on google check other layout and come back to me to change it like dat and by the time i change dey tell another site layout for their site………….ridiculous and funny.Cant hold on long with the quote which they have signed with us in between the work start to bargain on the cost for the site, so foolish and selfish blats


    Creative Director Reply:

    I just had a client like that to way to much work for little pay for a project that should have taking me about one week to finish.


  • http://www.ChatterboxDesigns.com Mike Burke

    I have been a professional freelancer for over 10 years. This information is PERFECT.

    Designers, who are learning business, should really, really take heed to this article.

    Eat it, sleep it, walk it, and reduce the amount of wasted time and money dealing with drop-shot clients.

    Very good article.

    I have fired a many of clients. Don’t waste your time. Learn how to say, “no.”


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  • http://www.dzinepress.com Dzinepress

    you sharing some positive tips.


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  • http://www.topgoldforum.com Dennis

    “can discourage you and make you think you’re not good at designing, which is not true. ”

    Really I work a lot with freelancers and sometimes I’ve seen really ugly creations like 2002 look templates where now we are in WEB 2.0 era and so forth Some people can’t design so let’s hope that if they receive enough bad feedback will stop.. dont encourage them is the customer’s fault. Sarcams ended 😉


    Creative Director Reply:

    I’m not. I think when your in school for designing and your not doing so good that’s the best time to think of doing something different in life.


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  • http://www.sensitivedesigns.com/ Sensitive Designs

    WoW just enjoyed reading this post as am working with some clients from the hell :((

    and i liked this ” ”Come on, that price is too much for what I want you to do. It’s really easy!” If it’s so easy, then do it yourself.” LOL

    cheerss \m/


  • http://www.egydes.com Husien Adel

    thanks for that helpful article 😀 that’s realistic with some clients


  • http://www.twitter.com/penguinstampede penguinstampede

    Another tip that I’d like to pass along, that I’ve been seeing a lot lately… drop a client who claims to know exactly how to sell their product. Especially if it turns out to be a copycat product. Chances are high they really have zero idea… but will still claim to know more than you about everything!


    Richard L Reply:

    100% agree. I deal with that all the time. Or they always want to take shortcuts or yes you to death and then do nothing. Very frustrating.


  • http://www.techwench.com techwench

    really this post is very helpful one
    thanks!!! for the info


  • http:www.bydj.ca DJ. Perez

    That’s a great list for sure!!

    DJ. Perez


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  • http://www.nbrii.com/ LP99

    If its a struggle to get money at the very first go-around, its just going to get harder!


  • http://www.richartstudio.com Richard L

    This article not only applies to web design freelancing. This applies to anyone with a small design business or any freelancer. Very solid points.


  • http://eraldmariano.com erald

    nice post. my question now is, how do you drop or turn your back on these clients?


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