The Dummy’s Guide to Being a Better Client And Building Positive Relationships

Business advice, get good service by being a better client

Gandhi said that we should be the change we want to see in the world. While this certainly applies to throwing kindness, compassion, empathy, and honesty into the universe; it also applies to the way we treat our service providers (SP). Being a “good” client isn’t just for the benefit of those around us, though. People like people that are nice to them. When people like you, they’ll work harder to please you. Win-win.

Here are some easy ways to be a better (more likeable) client:

Give a thorough, clear brief
You may not know exactly what you want the end product to be (in the case of design, for example, you sometimes only know it when you see it), but know what you want to achieve, your market, your budget, and your parameters. This gives your SP a fighting chance at showing you their potential without regularly having the brief and goal posts changed.

Pay for the work you got out of them
If your brief grew and more work was done than the original quote specified, pay up. Time and skills equal money. Don’t try to short-change your SP to save a few bucks. You can be sure they either won’t work for you again or they’ll put in a lot less effort next time.

Be fair with timelines
If you have something urgent, give your SP adequate time to wrap up what they’re busy with and make time for your project. If it’s super-urgent, communicate this to your SP and try to come to an agreement that suits both of you. Understand that your SP has other jobs on the go and other clients with their own expectations.

Play nicely
Yes, we get it, you’re a hotshot in your company. Your SP likely appreciates your position and the fact that you chose to work with them. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to be patronising or disrespectful. When you treat everyone (from your car-guard to your CEO) with respect and kindness, you’ll get it back.

Paying for services and products, pay providers on time
Products and services cost money. Be fair and pay on time.

Pay on time
Create a good reputation by paying the invoices at the time agreed upon at the beginning of the project.

Honour the contract
Ensure that the contract is fair and mutually beneficial, and then do your part in honouring that. The contract is there to protect both of you and you expect your SP to play along with their half of the deal. So, do the same.

By being this client, you don’t only ensure that you’re easier to work for and will likely get preference in the future, you also make the project a positive one. These types of projects are far more likely to get promoted on social media and be spoken of positively in social situations. Don’t underestimate the power of positive perspectives.

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