5 Tips on How to Deal With Clients

5 Tips on How to Deal With Clients from UIGarage
Nikka Estefani

Updated on January 4, 2022

Whether you work as a freelance designer or you work in an agency, you’ll always need to deal with clients. Therefore, learning how to deal with clients is as important as learning the design skills you need to work on your projects.

That being said, if you find yourself having a hard time dealing with clients, whether you’re dealing with overbearing clients or you’re just too shy and don’t know how to handle the conversation, this article will help you with that!

For this purpose, this article will discuss how to deal with clients in general. In the future, we are going to write an article on how to deal specifically with bad clients (Tip: just avoid them in the first place whenever you can!)

So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

5 Tips on How to Deal With Clients

1) Communicate clearly with your client

5 Tips on How to Deal With Clients from UIGarage

As with any relationship, communication is very crucial in your clientele relationships. In fact, many of the problems that a designer can face when working on a project could be solved only if both parties – the designer (you) and the client – had clearly communicated their thoughts early on. So, what does it mean to communicate clearly?

Feel free to ask any questions as you see fit. Don’t be shy about asking too many questions, even if the question seemed silly. The most important thing is you know what is asked from you by your client.

Also, feel free to voice out your concerns and needs. For example, if you think that the idea your client proposes poses potential problems, point it out to him/her. It’s better to point out the problem right at the beginning and have it addressed than push through the idea only to be tangled with the problems later on.

2) Guide your client to your design process

Many designers do not show their design process to their clients simply because most clients do not know the technicalities of the design process. However, this does not mean that you should not show, or at least give a glimpse to, your design process to them.

While clients do not necessarily know the design processes (nor they are necessarily interested to), they’ll nevertheless be happy to know how you are going to work on their design. By showing your design process, you are showing your clients what to expect and how things will work on in their project. This can help avoid potential misunderstandings in the future.

3) Set up clear boundaries with your clients

5 Tips on How to Deal With Clients from UIGarage

One of the most common mistakes made especially by new designers is being too available for their clients. Since they are new, they think that they need to attend to every whim of their client to get to “prove themselves” to the market and climb up the portfolio ladder. However, if you are working at 12am because your client asks you for revision, then this is certainly unhealthy.

To be clear, setting up clear boundaries is actually more about you than your clientele relationship. You also need to take care of yourself just as you would for your clients and projects. Learning to set up clear boundaries also protects you from insensitive clients who would pester their freelancers about the revision they need at any time they want!

So no, you don’t need to be too available for your clients – even if you’re a starting freelancer. After all, businesses have business hours – opening and closing time. So should you.

4) Don’t take criticisms too personally

Regardless of who you are and what you do for a living, nobody likes to be criticized. But criticism can take a deeper sting if you work in a creative field like design. As a designer, our work tends to be near to our hearts – it is our pride, our glory, our sense of accomplishment. So, when our client criticizes our work, we may tend to take it too personally – but we don’t need to.

Criticisms are simply part of any work; we cannot avoid it. What we can do, however, is to always be improving and bring the best that we could for the project.

5) Choose your clients carefully

Just as you choose which projects to take, you should also choose which clients to work with.

There are 3 types of clients that you should avoid as much as possible:

  • The work-for-free-for-me client: there are clients who’ll ask you to work for them for free in exchange of “exposure”. They’ll reason that if you worked for free, you’ll get “exposure” that you can use for building up your portfolio ladder. But “exposure” will not bring food to your table, so it’s best to work even at a lowest paid project than for nothing. (Note: if you are totally unsure of your skills, working for free is a great start. But strive to make money as soon as you can and don’t settle for the “exposures”)
  • The cheapest bidder: these are the clients who aren’t willing to pay for the worth of your work. If you know your skill’s worth and the client insists that you work for a lower pay, it’s usually best to avoid them.
  • The very demanding client: these are the perfectionist! These clients want to micromanage the whole project down to the tiniest detail. The worst part is that, these clients typically are also hesitant (sometimes even unwilling) to pay their designers if the end result didn’t meet their expectations.

With all of these being said, this begs the question: how would you know if your potential client is good or bad? You can have a sense of their attitude right on their job ads. You can also check for reviews to see how they worked with other freelancers. Finally, you can also sense them while you’re in the negotiating process. For example, you could sense a demanding client if he/she is too pushy.