How to handle 7 often-encountered client types


Successful freelancers are not only great at what they do but are able to recognize what their clients need as well. Tailoring your product to the needs of the buyer and building long-term connections are the traits of a good professional. But meeting your clients’ expectations is tough, especially if you don’t realize exactly what they are…

Different people require different things – some want quality, others want speed. Some let you handle all the details, others want to be in full control.

There are a lot of different types of clients you will encounter in your freelancing career, and it is important to learn how to work with each type of client to achieve client satisfaction.

Our list introduces seven types of clients that you will encounter as a freelancer – often in a curious mix – and the best ways to deal with them:

Different types of clients

1) The Cheapskate

The cheapskate is the type of client who wants to pay the least amount of money possible for your services. They come in different combinations and variations, but what unites them is that they are on a budget. Often, they will be willing to sacrifice quality for time, which means you should be willing to do the same.

How to deal with a cheapskate client? Make sure you get the best deal possible in the beginning because once a lower price is set, the cheapskate is not going to change it for anything. If you want to make this client really happy, look for ways to cut some corners and try saving them money by omitting something of little importance.

2) The 110% Person 

Also known as the Deadline Freak, this person believes that they can always squeeze out a couple more work hours from you. If you say a project can be completed in four weeks, they will urge you to give it your all and do it in three. This type of client is hard-working and expects the same from you.

In order to succeed with this kind of client, make sure you have enough leeway with your timeframe and impress them by delivering before expected.

3) The I-Can-Do-It-Better

There are clients who seem to know so much about your work that you have to wonder why they hired you in the first place. It is easy to get intimidated by somebody who apparently has a lot of knowledge in your field of work. Embrace their knowledge and respect it – genuinely think about their input for a productive working relationship.  

4) The Oblivious

This is the exact opposite of number three. This client knows absolutely nothing about your field of work. They are the old family company led by the people who found it and suddenly decided they want a Facebook page.

The success formula: Be patient with them and go the extra mile by explaining exactly how your project will benefit their business. Treat them fairly and they will appreciate it.

Portfolio Dragos Muntean

5) The Middleman

Sometimes you won’t be communicating with the actual client and will have to handle a middleman instead. This person will look to their boss for input and answers, which can make communication painstakingly slow. Keep that in mind and plan ahead. Send questions in bulk rather than one at a time to speed up the process.  

6) The Indecisive

The indecisive client who change their minds about the nature of your work every two days can be some of the worst ones to work with. The problem is that many times they don’t know what they want (or if they really want it). So you may also have to spend a lot of time answering questions.

How to deal with indecisive clients?

Make sure you negotiate to be paid for all the freelance work you do, not just the portion that gets approved in the end. In other words, any extra changes required outside of what you agreed on (project scope) will have an extra cost. Some will also be hesitant to decide whether to outsource and have your services or not, whether it would be better to train someone in the company, etc. Here are some tips to convince clients to outsource and hire you.

7) The Overseer

Last, but not least, the overseer. This is a client who will want to have their eyes on every single detail. They might not trust you enough or the project could just be extremely important to them.

Tips to deal with overseer clients: Pay attention and take their input seriously, but make it clear that you can’t spend most of your time explaining every keystroke because you will end up not doing any actual work at all. 

There are also wonderful clients

We have only mentioned complicated clients so far, but fortunately, you will also find wonderful clients, who will become regular and unconditional clients. They are happy with your work, the value you provide and for them, you are the leader in your sector.

They will recommend you to others, give you “free” publicity, and besides, they will remind you why you chose to create your own business and started as a freelancer.

These are the clients you should invest the most time with. Give them back the trust they give you by delivering your work as usual and think about small details that will improve your relationship with them.

There are many other client types, some more annoying than others. Learning how to adapt and focus on different aspects of your work will take you a long way.

Last but not least, it is also important that you know which type of person YOU are. Knowing yourself better can help you when dealing with conflicts or difficult clients. If you know yourself better you also know which kind of persons you like to work together and with which types you have your difficulties.

Having happy clients is key, so do not miss these tips to deal with unsatisfied clients.

Try identifying the client type of a current client. Do they fit some of the descriptions above? Tell us about it in the comments.

Viktor Marinov

Viktor is the voice behind the freelancermap blog. Every week he comes up with helpful hints, checklists, and guides for freelancers and independent workers. If you would like to know how to find remote jobs online or how to niche yourself as a freelancer, don't miss his freelancer tips!

By Viktor Marinov

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