It is difficult to avoid the “bad” client scenario even sometimes when you do spot the signs of a bad client. Anybody that has been in business long enough has encountered their bad client(s). Some have had multiple cases of acquiring a client who turned out to be a “bad” customer. So what is a bad client exactly?
There are numerous behavioral signs of a bad client, knowing them can save an entrepreneur or business hardship, money, time, and stress. There are some common red flags and knowing what to look for can be beneficial. Noticing some of these red flags does not mean a business should automatically discard this opportunity, but rather proceed with caution.
To help companies out, here are some of the most common red flags that we have called the 10 behavioral signs of a bad client.
10 Behavioral Signs Of A Bad Client
1. Requiring Unrealistic Deadlines
Potential clients that state that they require the work to be done as soon as possible and trying to set unrealistic deadlines tend to be a bad client scenario. Not always, but most of the time. At times, a client must rush something and it is warranted to have this need. Other types of clients behave this way because pushing unrealistic deadlines is their style and part of their personality. These type of client is best to avoid as a vendor and service provider.
2. Questioning the Pricing
Clients will have questions about specific services and prices, but clients who tell you it should not cost that much are a bad client. These are bad clients due to the behavior being an early sign of distrust. A client stating that the price quoted is out of their budget is perfectly acceptable.
3. Promising Future Projects
Potential new customers will often try to obtain services for a lower cost by promising future projects and work. It is wise to proceed with caution at that time since there is no guarantee. Even if the client is genuine, they may never deliver on the promise.
4. Quick and Often to Fire
Dramatic clients that quickly and frequently fire vendors are bad clients and should be avoided. Some clients just behave in this way by habit and burn and churn vendors. As long as they gain, they do not care about long-lasting and healthy vendor-client relationships.
5. Only a Simple Project
This is a classic. Individuals that contact companies and state right from the beginning how simple and easy the project will be. Often, the client is trying to down play the project requirements and scope to get a lower price. There are smaller and less complex projects of course, so service providers should open up communication to see what scenario it is.
6. Lack of Communication
When clients have a difficult time explaining and voicing project and business needs, it makes it difficult to get the proper results. If a client can’t clearly convey their goals, expectations will probably not be met satisfactory. This is not necessary a deal breaker, but a service provider should proceed with caution to ensure expectations are clear and milestones of the project, including any other necessary details.
7. Disappearing Client
Another type of red flag and bad client scenario is the disappearing client. In the middle of the project, the client is unavailable, they wait too long, sit on decisions, or simple do not follow-up. For bad clients that disappear many service providers have strict contracts and agreements that penalize clients financially for missing deadlines. Some bad clients can drag out projects for over a year.
8. Requesting Free Work
This is a clear red flag, when a potential client requests free work. Often, they use excuses such as that they are wanting to test the quality etc. This is also called “spec work” and is a red flag. This is a client who will ask for Free work, in order to make a decision. Investing time, resources, and energy into a maybe is never a good business strategy. That’s what portfolios are there for.
9. Lack of Organization
Potential clients that are disorganized from the beginning can be a costly experience for a business. In order to finish a project successfully, certain hours and time is budgeted for completion. Clients who lack organization can end up requiring more time, cause frustration, and eat away profits.
10. Trusting Instinct
The last red flag to consider is that all good “gut feeling”. When a client seems to be trouble listen to that gut feeling and trust your instinct. This may be more challenging when starting out, but with time and experience a business and staff can spot possible bad clients and simple avoid them.