I cover the 3 types of client nightmares facing new small business owners and then give you suggestions on how to handle them at the end.
Not all clients are made equal. The sooner new small business owners learn this the better. A “bad” client can ruin your new small business in no time. Not all doom and gloom though, this will help you see the good clients and focus on them so you can increase profits and service form your best customers.
Client nightmares #1: The stretcher
The try to stretch your quote to include much more than what you quoted on. This client gets a quote and then has a 30 minute chat with you. They call back a day or two later with more questions. Now you have to break everything down within your quote into small units. If you are a consultant basically every major task. So you disassemble the whole offer and send it off. A few days later they call back and assemble everything you sent them but in 5 or 6 different configurations and they themselves then added their own cost calculations. You get confused along the way. This goes back and forth for a few times and until you start dropping prices and give certain elements of your work away for free.
Client nightmares #2: The goalie
The goalie always moves the goalposts. You quote on an amazing job and then they move the goal post of what they expect. You change the quote and raise the price but they say no to the price increase because it was small. You agree. They move the goalposts once more. You try to adjust the price but the last time you did not and they remind you of it. You cannot raise your price. This crap goes on until you have little or no profit left and they then want it delivered in less time as well.
Client nightmares #3: The blonde in stilettos
This client is just very very expensive to maintain. A comedian on a car show once commented if you date a blonde that always wears skirts and stilettos you are in for a high maintenance relationship. Many clients are high maintenance. They call you 2 or 3 times a day and chat 20 minutes or more without paying for it. They always want something “extra” when you see them or do work for them. “Can you quickly do this or that for me?”. When you sit back at the end of the month and count up all the phone calls and the extra’s you realize you have given them 1 day of full billable time.
How to handle this
Care for your clients but also care for yourself. Before sending a quote for a job make sure you set the parameters for yourself as to what you will do extra and what not. What you are prepared to discount and what not. If the clients move you out of those boundaries, walk away. When it comes to high maintenance clients, let them go. See who are your low maintenance clients and then slowly let your high maintenance clients go. I would advise every year to let go of your bottom 15% of clients. This frees resources to give better service to your low maintenance clients.