How Do You Know When a Client Is Full of Crap?

This is my pessimistic post, the I’ve-been-screwed-every-which-way post.

How do you know when a client is full of shit? You don’t. Ever. Unless you’re omniscient.

Cynical as this may sound I finally have decided to assume from the get-go that everyone is full of it. Regardless of long-term business loyalty, notions of “trust,” empty guarantees like “I’ll make it worth your while,” “Just hang in there,” “You’ll get a big bonus for this…,” etc.

I’ve been told all of these things and at the time I’ve actually believed them, as embarrassed as I am to admit it right now. If I could clone myself I’d beat the crap out of me right now.

Truth: a client will tell you anything they think you need to hear–marketers are the worst, it’s all about their cash flow. They already know your sweet spot, your need and they feed you in little bites that string you along. Open your eyes and clearly identify the biggest culprits then just resolve to recognize the “business is business” mantra. When you do this THEN you’re finally protecting yourself.

  • Put all projects in writing and don’t begin investing any thought process until a client lays out all elements of a project, concrete details, a PLAN.
  • Itemize your responsibilities in the agreement/project/contract. Itemize your fees for particular skills and tasks.
  • Decide when and how you expect to get paid.
  • At the first sign of a client that balks or changes the project or contract, stop the presses! Revisit the  project blueprint, revise contract terms if necessary and proceed with caution. Potential screwing could be around any corner.

Get paid for what you do.

Now if I could just employ my own advice….

*Salary reality check: (Dog walkers in my town make $18/half-hour pooch stroll)

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One Comment on “How Do You Know When a Client Is Full of Crap?”

  1. Kate Says:

    I never go to work without a contract in place to keep my clients in line. You have to get things going safely, them maybe once a client is trustworthy, you can do try it on spec.

    Reply

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