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A Guide About How to Pick Your Clients

Active Member
sivakumar r Member Since: Jul 20, 2010
1 of 13
I think this guide would help all my fellow freelancers in picking and choosing their clients before committing with them long term. Of course this guide won't help new freelancers and freelancers who are financially lacking. How i choose: 1.) For me communication is the number 1 thing. I expect my clients to answer emails instantly and also be on skype while i work. This way i can get the things i want. 2.) I also require my clients to provide me all the info i need to do the job successfully. This includes direct access to websites, analytics, adwords, etc. 3.) I also hate to work with agencies as third persons interact with my work frequently and don't know what they want. 4.) I require my clients to at least have the basic knowledge about what they want. Without this it would be like teaching a blind person how a elephant will look like. How to test: Not all clients are forthcoming with all the info before hiring freelancers. Many clients are shy even to reveal their website address. In that case what i will do is 1.) In case of an hourly job, i would work for them without tracking my hours for the first two hours and see if they are good at communicating and know what they want. This ensures they do not leave negative feedback if we part ways. Note: Working for first two hours means communicating and discussing and see if they are a perfect fit for you. 2.) In case of an fixed job, you don't have to worry about anything and you can part ways at any time. Since they are paying you only after the job is completed you don't have to worry about negative feedback. 3.) You can apply the same strategy for Money Back Guaranteed job. I appreciate everyone feedback on this. Thanks, Siva. Disclosure: The opinions are my own and i request fellow freelancers to not take this personally
Active Member
Exp U Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
2 of 13
Just as "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy", I have difficulty believing that your guide would survive contact with clients in the real world. Certainly if I was clienting and you put those demands to me phrased like that; there is no way in hell that you would get the job. [quote]I expect my clients to answer emails instantly and also be on skype while i work. This way i can get the things i want.[/quote] Well that's not going to work. There are two people's schedules to consider here; not to mention time zones. The client sets the pace, usually. [quote]I also require my clients to provide me all the info i need to do the job successfully. This includes direct access to websites, analytics, adwords, etc.[/quote] Well yes, you do need information and access in order to do the job; but you have to remember that giving access is a risk for the client. Again the client sets the pace. Whether that means full access; partial access (and therefore slower work because it's more awkward) or no access and talking the client through changes (commendably paranoid...a client after my own heart) is down to the client. And yes, without essential information, the job can only go so far. I wouldn't be using the word 'require' in this context though...even if it is true. It comes across as massively arrogant. [quote]I require my clients to at least have the basic knowledge about what they want. Without this it would be like teaching a blind person how a elephant will look like.[/quote] Again the require. Agreed to the extent that if the client doesn't know what results they are after then you're both wasting time. But being a freelancer is sometimes about teaching people what's involved with their project; and the sundry alternate ways of achieving that with pros and cons of each method. Sometimes you have to supply the knowledge.
Active Member
sivakumar r Member Since: Jul 20, 2010
3 of 13
Thanks for your detailed review of my post. I may seem arrogant but these are my problems. I am not charging for communicating with my clients so i expect they bring everything to the table. I don't know how you charge your clients but how will you feel if you wait for weeks before you get the things you need like website login, etc. I think you would have had more experiences like this than me since you are a developer. Let me know and i am willing to have a healthy discussion. Siva.
Active Member
Exp U Member Since: Oct 29, 2014
4 of 13
First and foremost, the client sets the pace. Demanding things of them just isn't going to work. I tell the client my availability; contact methods; and the info I need to do that particular job as a first step. I usually throw in a brief explanation of why I need a particular bit of information or access. If the infomation/access isn't forthcoming, the job doesn't get started. No skin off my nethers...I'll just get on with something else. If a client really needs a project to be done on a tight deadline then they'll probably hover of their own accord (and some people are micro-managers anyway); but some people have a much more relaxed attitude to things. Doesn't worry me either way. People who wait for weeks are possibly not interested in the job; or possibly they are in a slow-moving work environment where everything has to be approved in triplicate by a committee first. Life happens.
Community Guru
Misty K Member Since: Feb 5, 2012
5 of 13
[quote=sivakumar ramamoorthy]I think this guide would help all my fellow freelancers in picking and choosing their clients before committing with them long term. Of course this guide won't help new freelancers and freelancers who are financially lacking. How i choose: 1.) For me communication is the number 1 thing. I expect my clients to answer emails instantly and also be on skype while i work. This way i can get the things i want. Are you kidding me? You expect your clients to answer your email instantly? Who do you think you are? Not all of your clients will be on your time frame so how can they answer you? And if the time differential is 10 to 12 hours different, how can they be on Skype? I'd laugh at you and move along. This statement pissed me the hell off. It is disgustingly rude and even condescending toward people who are going to pay you to work for them. You would never be hired by anyone if any client got whiff of this right here. Get the things you want huh? I have no further comment. 2.) I also require my clients to provide me all the info i need to do the job successfully. This includes direct access to websites, analytics, adwords, etc. Yeah, I'd give you access to personal files, like I'd give a dog some liquor. After your first point I wouldn't even continue reading anything you had to say. 3.) I also hate to work with agencies as third persons interact with my work frequently and don't know what they want. And you know this how? Not all agencies are the same. You're stereotyping. 4.) I require my clients to at least have the basic knowledge about what they want. Without this it would be like teaching a blind person how a elephant will look like. Some clients want someone who understands what it is their after. We can't all know everything, which is why we outsource. I can't build a website, but I can hire someone to do it. I EXPECT the person I hire to know how to do that for me. How to test: Not all clients are forthcoming with all the info before hiring freelancers. Many clients are shy even to reveal their website address. In that case what i will do is 1.) In case of an hourly job, i would work for them without tracking my hours for the first two hours and see if they are good at communicating and know what they want. This ensures they do not leave negative feedback if we part ways. Note: Working for first two hours means communicating and discussing and see if they are a perfect fit for you. 2.) In case of an fixed job, you don't have to worry about anything and you can part ways at any time. Since they are paying you only after the job is completed you don't have to worry about negative feedback. 3.) You can apply the same strategy for Money Back Guaranteed job. I appreciate everyone feedback on this. Thanks, Siva.[/quote] I disagree with almost everything you said and your advice sucks big time. Disrespect clients too much I dare say? Good luck getting a contract.
Active Member
sivakumar r Member Since: Jul 20, 2010
6 of 13
Yes, i feel about your emotions. I thing you have misunderstood the first point. The first point was not that i am saying client should stay awake on my time zone. I said i would stay at clients time zone and expect the clients to answer emails instantly and if necessary stay on skype so that i get everything to move along. I think you would agree somewhatSmiley Happy
Community Guru
Misty K Member Since: Feb 5, 2012
7 of 13
I directly quoted you. You didn't mention time zones. You simply said you expected your clients to be available to you whenever you were working. SORRY, but that is never going to happen. Flip the shoe. ARE YOU available when your clients need you to be AT ALL TIMES? I doubt it.
Community Guru
Marcia M Member Since: Apr 3, 2013
8 of 13
For me communication is the number 1 thing. I expect my clients to answer emails instantly and also be on skype while i work. This way i can get the things i want. As a professional, you should be able to work on your own, without a babysitter. You should know what you have to do and be able to make your own decisions. I have clients that don't contact me for a week or more. I get on with my work. A client has a life, including the business they are running. They don't have time to sit in front of their computer all day waiting to answer your questions. I would not work for a client who expected me to be available by email or by Skype constantly; I refuse to deal with such micromanagement. I treat clients the way I expect to be treated. 2.) I also require my clients to provide me all the info i need to do the job successfully. This includes direct access to websites, analytics, adwords, etc. You need to understand why the client would be hesitant to do this (plenty of stories about clients gettting hacked), build up trust in your client, explain clearly what you are doing so they understand the risks involved, and develop workarounds if the client just won't do it. 3.) I also hate to work with agencies as third persons interact with my work frequently and don't know what they want. Do you mean you don't like working with subcontractors? I would say that depends on the situation and if they are being exploitative. I prefer to work with the owner of the business because they have more of a stake in the outcome of the job and have an emotional involvement; they want more than just to make money. 4.) I require my clients to at least have the basic knowledge about what they want. Without this it would be like teaching a blind person how a elephant will look like. It is your job to help them understand what their business needs and how you can help them, and to figure out what needs to be done. See point 1: The client is not your babysitter. In case of an hourly job, i would work for them without tracking my hours for the first two hours and see if they are good at communicating and know what they want. This ensures they do not leave negative feedback if we part ways. Note: Working for first two hours means communicating and discussing and see if they are a perfect fit for you. The interview is for learning about communication and deciding whether you are a perfect fit. Oh, and there are enough freelancers who think they have to work for piddly slave wages. They don't need anyone suggesting that they work for free. In case of an fixed job, you don't have to worry about anything and you can part ways at any time. Since they are paying you only after the job is completed you don't have to worry about negative feedback. Unless you get an upfront payment. Once again, thanks for suggesting that not getting an upfront is the norm (it isn't).
Active Member
sivakumar r Member Since: Jul 20, 2010
9 of 13
Great reply. 1.) My clients expect me to stay on skype and answer emails instantly and i expect the same. I can't find anything wrong with this. 2.) All of my clients provide me access to their websites. It is not a problem for them. If they feel threatened they have Odesk and law agencies for rescue. 3.) Happy that you at least agreed with this oneSmiley Happy 4.) You pointed out a wrong reference for this one. My point is i am not the babysitter for the client.
Community Guru
Misty K Member Since: Feb 5, 2012
10 of 13
There is not a client on the face of this planet who would stop to even halfway consider your thoughts. If you work for clients who expect you to be available every second they are online then I feel for you. That is so tedious, and so unprofessional in my opinion. I would never work for someone like that. And your points are just as distasteful. I also would have to say that whoever you're working for possibly doesn't provide a great deal of incentive to work for them either. (If you get my point). If you can't manage your profession better than this, then I hate to say it, but you need to second guess what you're doing. Again, your ideas don't work.
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