If you’ve been in business for long enough to have had more than a handful of clients, then chances are you’ve had at least one bad client. If you’ve never had a bad client then you’re either very lucky or lying. Unfortunately, as sure as taxes and death, we all experience at least one bad client.
There is no typical bad client and they come in all different shapes and sizes. Their degree of bad also varies, from just mildly annoying to wishing very bad things on them. There are the ones you can put up with because you know you only have to deal with them for a short time. Plus the money is good. Then there are the ones that cause you sleepless nights. The feeling of absolute dread when you see their name on an incoming email. And then there are the ones you would happily punch as hard as you could rather than ever have to speak with them again.
Warning! Bad Client Ahead
Unfortunately, we often miss the signs that someone is going to turn into the client from hell until it’s too late. I missed a glaring one not so long back when the prospective client told me that they had fired their previous agency after the owner called them a bad client. The agency in question didn’t particularly have a great reputation themselves so I took this comment with a pinch of salt. I then went out to endure probably the worst client I have every had. The signs were all there from the start and I only had myself to blame for taking them on in the first place.
Top tip for you. If someone has actually been called a bad client by another business chances are they are exactly that. When I’ve asked around nobody I know has ever actually told a client that they are a bad client. They’ve all fired clients but never told them the ultimate reason why. Many of them admitted to wanting to tell the client the truth but held their professionalism and just called it a bad fit. For a business to actually tell a client they are a bad client must mean they are a really bad client.
Likewise, a glaring red flag I’ve now come to take notice of is when a prospective client tells you they have been through a lot of your type. In my business it’s web designers, SEO people, social media people, marketing people etc etc. I accept that there are some bad agencies and freelancers out there. But how unlucky would someone be if every single person they’ve every hired turned out to be bad? Unlucky or just a sign of a very bad client?
How To Cope With A Bad Client
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