client from hell

4 Ways to Avoid Being the Client From Hell

By Princess Jones

Small businesses are the core of the independent worker industry. Due to their size and budget constraints, it’s often more cost effective for a small business owner to hire an independent worker rather than a full-time employee. This way you’re only paying for the assignment in question on an as-needed basis.

But the flip side of hiring an contract worker is that you are now the client. And just like you have your customers that test your patience, your subcontractor has clients that push them to the edge of professionalism, too. Don’t be the client from hell.

1. Align Your Expectations with Your Budget

The fact that you get what you pay for is a golden rule when it comes to buying anything, including the services of a freelancer or subcontractor. Most complaints come when a client had no money to spend on a service but insists on receiving the very best that money can buy.

Look at it this way — if you only have enough money for a used two-door Honda, you would not show up at a Bentley dealership asking for the latest model. No, you would go down to the best used car dealer in your town and try to strike a deal with them.

If you are ordering logos on Fiverr or offering rock bottom payments for content, you will receive exactly what you pay for. We’ve all had champagne tastes with a beer budget, but it’s an exercise in disappointment to expect to pay for beer and get champagne.

2. Communicate

Lack of communication is the cause of the breakdowns in many, many relationships, including business ones. You may have been eating, sleeping, and dreaming your business for so long that you think certain things are obvious, but you have to remember that the subcontractors you are hiring don’t have the same level of information you have.

Start by being open and honest about what you expect, what you can afford, and how you expect the process to progress. Ask every question you could possibly have. Telecommunication is cool in theory but in business relationships it’s not reliable at all. Communicate with your freelancers and subcontractors, preferably in writing when possible.

3. Read Your Contracts

The second most common reason for misunderstandings with subcontractors is not reading your contracts. Contracts are great because they have everything laid out in black and white. But many business owners make the mistake of signing them without ever reading them. Then when you don’t understand that you need to have source material to the contractor a week prior to him starting the work and end up missing your internal deadline.

And if you’re unable to read your contracts because you don’t have one, you’ve got an even bigger problem. Contracts don’t have to be complicated or drawn out. And you don’t have to wait for the subcontractor to give you a contract. Get a standard one on file and then use it for every subcontractor relationship you have.

4. Pay Your Bills

This should go without saying, but it apparently doesn’t anymore — pay your bills on time and in full. You would not expect your customers to come into your store, take product, and then say “Oh sure. I’ll get you when I get paid in a month or two.” You would find that offensive to the time and work you put into your business. Freelancers feel the same way. And remembering that goes a long way to keeping up the good will.

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Princess Jones

Princess Jones is the evil genius behind P.S. Jones Copy & Design, where she helps food and drink businesses speak the language of their audiences. For more talk about copywriting, design, and the tools to pull them off, follow her on Twitter @imprincessjones.


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