Handling Clients from Hell
Last year, I had an experience dealing with a client whom I believe is straight from hell. So here goes the story.
The client calls me and praises my work, “Wow, you do amazing websites and I would like you to redesign mine.”
The next day, he comes to office but hesitates to pay as I usually take 50% upfront before I start work. Funny thing is that I did not make him sign a contract. I always make sure I don’t start a project without the client signing a contract. Am not quite sure why I did not make him sign a contract. May be he seemed a simple guy who will not run away with my money once am done with the project.
We agreed on the amount and he made the first payment and off I started. The work entailed redesign of the theme, content structure and I suggested Search Engine Optimization. Payment terms were 50% before start of work, and monthly installments on the other 50%. Now he pushed me to complete the website as quickly as possible not knowing his motives.
After the first month, I was expecting the second installment. I had already finished the redesign of the website with a good percentage of content structure done. On calling the client, he doesn’t pick my calls, no response on emails. I was like maybe he is held up on work and he will get back to me. Two days passed, no calls were returned. I sent him an sms and he was like, “A family member was admitted so I had to chop in. Things are really bad… ”
We are all humans, we became sick, we die, economy hits us bad. If things happen, it’s good to communicate to your business partners. We can’t know your problems unless you speak them up and as a businessman, you don’t have to go into details of your problems. Its enough to say am not able to pay you but I will in a months time. Yes, give a period of time when you will be able to pay back.
How to handle such clients
With every client that I work with, I learn how to handle others of their sort. Here is a list of how to make sure both of you are happy with the project.
- Do not start a website project if the client, from the very beginning, hesitates to pay you or has trust issues
- Sign a contract before execution of any work
- List down all services to be done on the amount agreed
- How the payment is to be made and on what specific day of the month
- Time delivery of the website project
- Who will write the content and provide pictures
- Maintenance of the project should be started
- After the project is live, how will you charge for other changes submitted by the client
All these are supposed to be laid out correctly before the work starts. Failure to do so, you will get frustrated with the project and the client will see you as the bad guy even when they liked your work on the first place.