Dealing with Difficult Clients

© Barsik
Yeah, how about if you change that color to green and make the logo bigger, oh and I don’t like the photo of the girl or the background, could you use something else? And could you have it ready by tomorrow?”

Sounds familiar? We’ve all heard this kind of speech. OH THE FRUSTRATION! Lots of time spent trying to achieve a perfect balanced composition and all the elements are in place and you are satisfied with the work, and it looks great BUT the client doesn’t get any of your ideas and he/she insists on making tons and tons of alterations until you end up with a mock up of the original idea and you die a little inside.


The But

This is the type of client that will always praise your work, put you

What’s So Difficult About Your Job

This is the type of client that thinks he/she can do your job much better than you and he/she acts like he/she

Do Something I’ll Tell You If I Like It

This is a very common type of client. He/she doesn’t know what he/she wants. He/she gives you no indications but when you show him/her a version he/she suddenly knows what he/she doesn’t want and is ready to critique everything.

I Know What I Want And It’s Awful

This is the type of client that comes from the very beginning with examples of others people work (nor rarely his/her examples look plain dreadful). And he/she often wants you to copy them or create something very similar to that. He/she is of course often

The Tight Deadline

He/she always makes you work under pressure giving you a very close deadline. He/she comes in the last moment all agitated and frustrated demanding an absolute priority for his/her project.

The Other People Decide For Me

It’s the kind of client who likes your proposal when he/she first sees it, just to call you later on to tell you that …he/she has thought about it…and well his wife says it’s too… The advantage is that this type of client is easy to convince that your version is what he/she is looking for. But the disadvantage is that after he/she leaves your office he/she goes home again.

The Needy

This client will take all your time, send you tones of e-mails, call you for hours in weekends and whenever he/she feels like it. He/she is under

© Bivni
The Indecisive

Make you do lots of changes and then change them again, just to decide in the end that your first version was the better one. He/she is never satisfied and just because he/she likes something today doesn’t mean that he/she can’t hate it tomorrow.

The Always Looking For A Deal

He/she will always require a discount, minimizing the value of your work. Also this type of client requires you work for a smaller fee promising that this will lead to more work in the future. This is just the type of collaboration you are going to

The One That Doesn’t Pay

This is actually the worst case scenario, when you find out that all your hard work was for free. That’s

Finally it is very important to keep in mind that your clients will never ever change. They have no interested in doing so. So the only good thing to do is that you change how you approach them. Observe them, learn more about their real needs and maybe you will find a new way to communicate with them.

Photo credits: Galina Barskaya, Alexander Oshvintsev.


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Best Buy And Idea | Blog And Store Susan, you have listed all the annoying prospects who would never become clients, because they do not even appreciate our hard work and efforts. Thanks for sharing, and I must alert myself not to become like one of the types.


UH OH, I hear your ego inflating ;))) I like reading your articles, also. I personally have a friend who has to "think about it" all the time! Sometimes her "thinking" can take a year! I believe that's called a slight case of over thinking!


Richard, you have provided a good assessment and classification of difficult clients, all with a touch of humor! Seriously though, many of these issues can be prevented or resolved by tips from one of your previous blogs “Freelancing Guide to Completing Projects On-Time” where communication with one’s client as the project begins sets the ground rules and maintains a mutually healthy working relationship. Many thanks for your helpful reminders!


It is so so very true. Great article. I'm joining the boat! I also have some which need to provide some resources or make review and decisions, you are on hold for ten days, and then they want things done yesterday. Closest to "The Needy" :)


Thanks Richard! Good article.


It's amazing how these traits in people show up in other areas of life as well! Great article, thanks for sharing. :0)


Richard another great blog, you rock man, I literally in the same boat, when i read your freelance blogs, its just a flash back of my own situation. Now im going to print this out and believe me in my next meeting for new work, will ask the client to read this before we start the meeting. I wanna experiment this. Im just imagining what will be his/her reaction.

I liked this point
The Other People Decide For Me

Keep righting its nice to read and go back in memory lane.

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