Last week I wrote a blog post outlining the early warning signs of a bad client. Those practices that set your teeth on edge and put warning bells in your head (for good reason). There’s another side to that coin – client green flags, or how to identify good clients.
I’m fortunate to have a number of great long-term clients, so I can see patterns evolving early in terms of what relationships will be mutually beneficial and what relationships will become problematic. As with bad clients, there are often early signs that this will be a productive and enjoyable relationship. Here are some early signs of a good client:
When it comes to the project under discussion, the prospect:
- Is clear on the project goals and objectives
- Takes the time to give you a good briefing and ensures you have the background you need
- Has some process and structure in place around the work
- Keeps early discussions moving, not dropping the ball for weeks on end
- Welcomes questions and takes time to give good explanations
- Gets you the resources and materials you need to start the project promptly
- Prioritizes the project, and invests the time needed for a successful outcome
- Sets reasonable timelines
- Checks-in, but not obsessively
In terms of how their work is conducted, a good client or prospect:
- Respects your time
- Respects your right to get paid for your work
- Takes time to understand if your skillset is aligned with the project scope
- Is pro-active about signing a contract and paying you on-time
In terms of how they treat you personally, a good client or prospect:
- Wants to know about you and your work experience
- Respects the fact that your work requires significant skills and experience
- Is willing to listen to you and respects your opinion
- Disagrees or provides feedback in a constructive manner
- Engages in more personal discussions occasionally
- Doesn’t compare you with other freelancers
This list may seem obvious, but too often freelancers try to convince themselves that this is a good client because they’re interested in the work or they need the money. Your work may be challenging, but your client relationships shouldn’t be. You have found a good client if you feel valued and are given the support you need to do your best work.
Once you have found a good client, be sure to keep that individual or company happy through excellent work delivered on time. You may also want to consult my post on unconventional ways to give back to clients – this is not a relationship to take for granted.
Click here to read how to identify bad clients – before you sign that contract.
Want my easy guide to attracting the right clients? Click here.