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The whole process of designing can be time-consuming and involves a lot of consultation work, so expect to spend a lot of time with your client, going back and forth about various aspects of design. Given the subjective nature of design work, the last thing you want is to be stuck with an intolerable client. For that reason, it is in your best interest to think long and hard about the clients you take on.
What factors should you consider before selecting a design client? What signs should you look out for?
Some clients can be difficult. It's a fact of life. If you spot clients who you think you won't mesh well with, think about turning down the project before you even start. When you have to work closely with a client, it is important that you are able to get along, or at least understand where each other is coming from. From communication, down to payment agreements, everything could be a challenge when you have to work with someone who doesn't get you and vice versa. Instead of enjoying your work as you normally would, you might find yourself just hoping for the misery to end. Ultimately, the quality of your output will suffer, and while you can expect to get paid, your reputation could take a hit. Sometimes, no amount of money is worth the stress.
Once you discuss the basics with your client, you need to come to an agreement about the payment. You will be surprised at the number of clients who want to pay you less than your work is worth.
This is why it's important that you consider the payment you receive for the design work that you agree to take on. Design involves a lot of different and constantly changing factors, which means that fees for design work should be scalable. Before you take on a project, consider the amount of work you will be required to do in relation to that payment. Is it worth the hassle? Do you deserve more? Consider negotiating for a better price if you are unhappy with the price quoted.
If you do not want to be paid less than what you are worth, go for clients that offer the rate you are looking for. If you are good at what you do, there will always be clients willing to pay for the quality of your work.
How long is the project period? Are you given a reasonable (or unreasonable) deadline? Can you complete the required designs on time? Is there room for negotiation in this regard?
Your project timeline is an important factor that you should consider, especially if you have other design projects in the pipeline. It is better to not accept an unrealistic project than to hand it over late. There's simply no upside to taking on an unrealistic project, as you either deliver it late, or rush it to make the deadline but deliver bad quality. It also results in an unhappy client, which leads to bad reviews and ratings, which will affect your ability to get well-paying design work in the future. Deadlines have long-term implications that you cannot afford to ignore.
4. Type of Design Project
It is imperative that you deliver on what you promise. Otherwise, you will lose clients. Never use a client’s project as an experiment. If the design project being offered is beyond your scope of ability, turn it down or refer someone else. Offering a referral is a win-win situation, because you get to maintain the relationship with a potential client—just make sure that you refer someone who can actually do a good job.
Always consider the type of design project on offer, and compare it with your capabilities. Do not let the financial power of the client persuade you to do something you are not qualified to do. Your reputation will suffer for it.
Remember, no amount of money is worth huge levels of stress. A good client will enable you to do your job happily.