Your clients don’t give clear instructions
During the initial meeting with a new client, as a designer, you want to know the vision and expectations from your client. Unfortunately, most of the time, your client would just give some vague ideas like, make my start page pop, I need a wow factor, my website needs to be eye-catching and so on. This kind of guidelines does not really help.
When asking your client about his or her expectations, you can do that in a simple questionnaire. For instance, ask your client to provide 5 websites that he or she thinks are good looking and then ask the client to state why they are good. By doing so, you have some actual examples to follow. Likewise, you can also ask your clients to provide you with some bad website examples so you know what to avoid. You can use the same tactic for other elements on the website — this can save your time for guessing what your client wants and doing multiple revisions later.
Your clients have no idea about their budget or they have no — low budget
Designer: Do you have a budget for redesigning your website?
Client: No, not really. How much do you usually charge?
Designer: I usually charge USD 4000 for a simple website.
Client: That’s quite expensive!
Designer thought: So you actually have a budget…
If you want to avoid the above situation, it’s best to rephrase your budget question. Instead of an open-end question like the above. It’s better to make it a multiple-choice question: May I know which budget range sounds reasonable for you, USD 3000 — 4000, USD 4000 — 5000 or USD 5000 — 6000? Make your bottom line as the lowest price you would accept. By rephrasing your question, your client would feel more comfortable to answer and you could get the budget your client has so you could continue the discussion.
But what if the client’s budget is lower than your bottom line?
This is a tricky situation. However, there is one more factor you need to take into consideration: does your client have potential? By potential, I mean do you think you would be able to build a long-term relationship with this client? Your client may have a tight budget today, it doesn’t mean that they won’t have a bigger budget in the future. There are lots of startups that were bootstrapping in the first few years but become a unicorn later. Don’t underestimate your clients who have a low budget.
If you aren’t sure about your client’s potential and you don’t really overprice your service, stick with your price. Lowering your price below your bottom line is not the tactic you should go after as your competitors can easily cut the price by 10%. What you should do is to prove why your service worth the money. The hours you invest in the actual design, your creativity, the consultation time and the after-sales service, etc. all add up to the price you quote. Don’t forget that your time and talents deserve a pay cheque.
Your clients don’t give you clear goals
Your client wants to have a new website and then he or she wants to revamp it because “it’s about time”. It’s good to redesign a website if the website is too old and it’s not up to the standard in terms of SEO, for example. However, before starting redesigning a website, it’s best to ask your clients what their goals are in terms of SEO, conversions, UX and so on so you would take these areas into consideration. This would avoid the big shock after re-launching the website. The last thing you want to hear from your client is the traffic to the new website hits rock bottom.
Your clients give you an unrealistic deadline
Designing a website is not an overnight project. It takes time to plan, organise, discuss with other parties. Unfortunately, you have clients who give you an unrealistic deadline from time to time. To avoid this kind of unnecessary stress, as a web designer, you need to be clear with your clients at the very beginning — tell them how you work, how much time is needed for each design stage and all the possibilities that could cause a delay. In your contract, make sure you include the turnaround time under normal circumstances, that would avoid possible arguments and unrealistic expectations from your clients. Your clients also need to understand that the quality correlates highly with the time. The less time a web designer has to complete a web design project, the lower the quality of the final product.
Your clients have no clue about web design but you need to follow their instructions
As a web designer, you are wearing many hats — you have knowledge in design, coding, UX, etc. You are proud of what you know and do but unfortunately your clients think they know more than you do. For instance, you know that comic sans is not a font for a professional website but your client insists on using this. Another example is you think having the newsletter sign up form pop up on the start page would annoy the visitors but your client thinks the opposite.
Since you are paid to listen to your clients, often times, you end up designing something that you know would not work. So what to do?
Try to educate your clients and back up your opinions with some data or proof. When speaking to your clients, keep calm and let them know what you think based on your professional knowledge and experience. If they still don’t listen — it’s best to finish up the project quickly and move on.