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How do you deal with awkward clients

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Jazajay, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Think I need a rant lol, but I do have a question :).

    I have just taken on a client, who is a friend of mine, £1000 for 2 weeks worth of work, now all he said last night was that the colours are to be blue and green, and for me to design everything the logo the works, that's it, so I think brilliant easy job, right?

    So I wack him out a design last night, I really like it, one of the best designs I have done, and send him the URL.

    He turns around and says yeah really like the design, the logo great, goes well with the site and he's fallen in love with it, however for a first attempt it's O.K.

    So I say fair enough what don't you like?
    Bare in mind the brief I had to work with, well I want a more in depth search function in the top right, shorter home page with a map of the UK on the home page at the top that they can chose by category, not even 24 hours have pasted at this point. So I'm thinking O.K. could have done with that before I started, explain why my layout is better from a SEO point of view, usability point of view than what he is saying. Bare in mind I had already added a pic of the UK in basically the same way he wanted just further down the page, as TBH his site is going to be searched based and the map will just waste valuable real estate by repeating the same feature, as his more in depth search function will do the same job if not a far better one. But no his idea, which he has had for some time apparently, is how he wants it.

    I don't think I would be annoyed if he had actually told me what he wanted in the first place or if he hated the design as that would be in-line with his brief, but he likes it, it's just the layout he doesn't like which I got absolute no brief on and was told do it how you want and let me know.

    TBH I'm think I'm going to sod it off and get on with completing my latest one, I could do with the money but not the hassle and especially not being talked to like a little child, that and he is a friend and I can see this being longer than a 2 week job and putting our friendship under too much of a strain. I'm currently an usher at his wedding and I'm not sure I will be if I take the job.

    So my long winded question is what would you do?
    I think the answer is obvious, get on with it and stop wining about it, but TBH I either need free rain or structure, not the in-between as I do have a bit of a control freak personality at times and that drives me nuts.

    If he said what we wanted first time around I wouldn't have an issue, nor would I have if he had just said sorry I should have said this is how I would like it, my fault, not talk to me like I had a more in depth brief and I just ignored it, and did it my way.

    Ha rant over and there is a question in there, somewhere, what do you guys and gals recommend, or do you have any similar past examples and what did you do, did it work out alright in the end? :)
  2. mrleesimpson

    mrleesimpson Guest


    Some people will tell you "Tell him to stick it up his arse, we're the designers and we know best" and some people will tell you to "Stick it out, after all the the customer (client) is always right" and at the end of the day both of these work in the right instance.

    But in terms of this job I'd come clean with you friend and tell him you don't want to push forward with the work because you think it'll put too much strain on your friendship. Simple as that really.

    The money *would* be nice but whats more important the cash or your friendship?
  3. berry

    berry Active Member

    I think I've covered this topic in another thread...but it's a favourite area of mine. Interfering clients.
    The key having an easy life and not being treat like a dog is for you to stop thinking as a designer but a businessman first. Don't design, do business. That means before you rush off doing any work, spend time discussing the brief, interogating the client, asking the questions that provide you with the solution so he says YES! Planning and prepping a project will save more headaches and rejection in the long run. Also NEVER do works with friends unless you can set the business parameters. Lesson: Sometimes No is an answer.
  4. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Thanks for the info guys I can see where you are both coming from and I do agree friendship is definitely the best option.

    Berry no I totally agree that is what I should have done, I tend to do my own sites how I want them plan them out to what will work best for the user and the search engines, the thing that I'm struggling with here, I think, is having to include other peoples ideas.

    I wouldn't have a problem with them if they had the facts to back them up, but he doesn't.

    I know if I went into sales, his area of expertise, I would ask him how he goes about doing it, because to me he knows the industry better than I do.

    I'm just having an issue not being able to see why he doesn't see it that way here, to me his stubbornness is just illogical, but maybe that is me.

    I spoke to my wife, who was totally up for me doing it, after posting and she to has pretty much said the same thing, well she used the word moron, but the same idea lol.

    Cheers for the opinions very much appreciated, I think I needed a rant more than anything else :D

  5. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Jaz,

    I hope you don't mind, but I've moved this thread to the 'Running a Design Business' forums section as felt it was more suited to this area.

  6. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    No that's fine buddy, my apologies for posting in the wrong forum.

  7. MissBlossom

    MissBlossom Junior Member

    Personally a client is only valuable when they contribute to your business in terms of money and/or your sense of well-being.

    I have had to fire clients for a number of reasons, but mainly because they take a lot of time out of my billable hours, and also make me so stressed and anxious I find it hard to keep churning out great work, because I question my abilities.

  8. berry

    berry Active Member

    I'll agree with that, time is money. we work to live not live to work
  9. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hi MissBlossom.
    Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts, they are very much appreciated.

    No I agree, and the job is capped at £1000 and as I can see it going way beyond 2 weeks, mainly because he wants me to build him a custom content management system (CMS) which is over half the build time alone, therefore arguing over the point that I am right :D would take me longer than the allotted time frame I have allowed for for the design, or I can give to this project at the moment due to other work constraints so I do agree.

  10. warrengroom

    warrengroom Junior Member

    MIssBlossom has just summed it up or me too :) Thanks MissBlossom,

    I have said 'No' for the first time recently, but it's the best thing i've done.

    I believe in customer satisfaction, and i'll do over and above in the right circumstances, but when doing over and above imposes on circumstances outside of that project/job, and your work life on a whole... a polite 'No' is in order I feel....
  11. berry

    berry Active Member

    One of the best bits of advice i got was.

    "No, is an answer"
  12. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    I think that, that is probably the best advice in the world TBH :D
  13. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Di,

    As the other guys have said that's a great bit of advice, and I've had experience with a couple of clients that have left me feeling that way, once I finally realized and made the decision it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders and I've never looked back. I guess everyone needs some experience like that to help them assess future clients and what potential the relationship with that client could have, be that positive or negative.

    Welcome to Design Forums by the way :up:
  14. tim

    tim Senior Member

    I've had near the same problem with my latest e-commerce clients!

    They basically said, I want a 500 page site up by christmas with over 1000 sales. they told me this end of september. after submitting many attractive designs that would be easily integrated and easily launched, they finally picked one. by this time it was november.

    I have a three year contract with them and there's no way I will be able to put up with them for that long! Oh, and icing on the cake... this week, they announced they were going to BARBADOS tomorrow and that I had to close the site down until end of january.


    But the real question is, how the hell do I tell a client that I don't want to work with them anymore and still have a good reputation?
  15. berry

    berry Active Member

    Depends how you define the importance of your reputation?
    Do you want a good reputation for being an asshole?
    A good reputation for being a soft touch?
    A good reputation for being precious of having a good reputation?
    A good reputation for being a bad businessman?
    A good reputation fro wanting a reputation?

    Reputations are not like Ebay feeback stars. Quality not quantity.
    The only thing that matters is you, not other people.
    Once you start worrying what other people think then you'll be 'working for them' forever
    You've told us on the forum how you feel. Now tell them. Simple is. Simple does.
  16. tim

    tim Senior Member

    true, but at the same time, does your work not travel through word of mouth? i've just had an enquiry through the site i built for another e-commerce site, so I assume it was worth sticking it out.

    Despite that, i think it's too late for me to be realising now that I should be firing 'em
  17. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    Hay guys and gals.
    My mate phoned me up letting me know he was filing for bankruptcy. :cry:
    I felt so bad because I was nattering on about how I was spending a few hundred quid on a car a month, this that and the other and how things have picked up nicely since the beggining of last year before he told me.

    I have only just thought though that if he is filling for bankruptcy how would he have paid me for the work???????

    I feel really sad for him, I do honestly, and I know this may sound harsh, but I'm glad I made the right call TBH.

    Anyway it made me think of this post, and the dishes need doing TBH, lol, but I just wanted to say thanks for all for your great comments regarding my, in comparison, silly problem. :)

    It's a time to be lucky for what we have IMO.

    Thanks again.

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