The High-Quality Client Checklist

As a web designer, you work with new clients all the time.

Sometimes you will have a great client, other times you have a bad client; either way, it’s your job to make sure you find as many great clients as possible.

Why?

Apart from the fact that they pay better (like 10x better), great clients will also give you the space to do your thing, which ultimately leads to better quality results and higher job satisfaction.

Okay, let’s get to it, here’s what you should look out for:

Great clients don’t give unsolicited feedback
This means they understand why they hired you in the first place. They accept you as a professional and that your process is to be trusted. They do not micromanage and they let you get on with what you are there to do. This is essential.

Great clients understand how to go slow
Good work is never done in a hurry. Rushed work leads to cutting corners, which leads to sloppy results. This hurts your work ethic, your portfolio and client’s business. A great client understands this.

Great clients like asynchronous communication
In general, it’s more efficient to talk asynchronously via Email, Loom, Slack, etc. Real-time calls are good when there are a lot of unknowns to figure out or when you are just becoming acquainted with a project/client; but in general, calls are not an efficient use of time in a project. Emails, Loom videos, Slack messages, etc. allow all stakeholders to listen and respond intelligently, rather than impulsively; which can easily happen on a call. Great clients understand this.

Great clients are profitable with no investors
I’ve nothing against investors, but in my experience, a business that is self-funded by it’s customers (rather than debt) must be doing something right. They know how good business works, which means they will most likely appreciate how your good business works. Real recognise real.

Great clients are founder lead & owned
You probably don’t want to work with a middle manager at acme inc. They don’t have any real equity in the project and won’t always care about the business in the same way a founder will. Founders are usually better positioned to give you clarity and authority. This makes it easier for you to do great work.

Great clients are smaller in size (< 10 people companies)
This one is simple. Smaller companies mean fewer stakeholders, less opinions, less points of compliance, simpler, smoother, easier.

Great clients understand technology = complex
There’s nothing wrong with non-tech-savvy businesses, but companies that understand and use technology usually have higher margins; and as a result, they get less caught up on your pricing. Great clients are able to appreciate the challenge of good web design.

Great clients ask you questions
Asking questions means they are giving you an opportunity to speak and be heard. Of course, it’s your job to say the right things, but by at least asking questions, the client is interested in having a dialog. This is how you build value, trust and goodwill; and ultimately, how you close the client.

Great clients trust you
It’s your job to build trust with your prospective clients; because without trust, you have nothing. This is mandatory.

There you have it. 9 signs to look out for when deciding if you want to work for a client. Of course, I encourage you to put your own twist on these. Draw on your own experiences and intuition to build upon these ideas.

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