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Problems With Your Client? Give Them An Analogy

Problems with your Client - give them an analogy

I’ve been a freelance WordPress developer, social media and SEO guy for over half a year now and in that time have been fortunate enough to work with a range of clients on a host of different projects. I found some projects more enjoyable than others and similarly, some clients more enjoyable to work with that others (and I’m sure that cuts both ways too). I’m pretty thankful that problems with clients have been few and far between but the most common issue I’ve come across is change requests. If you’re a graphic designer or working with clients I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say a change request late in the day has to be one of the most frustrating things – you think you’re finished, the job is done, the bank balance is about to get bolstered and then “I’d just like to make a few changes”, le sigh.

Some change requests are fine and I’m happy to bend a bit to keep clients happy but there has to come a point when a line in the sand as drawn – not in an adversarial sense but more in an enlightening sense. Some clients think all changes are very easy to make or take no time and that is not the case. And, when I need to, I’ll wheel out an analogy to try explain.

Problems With Your Client? Give Them An Analogy

When giving a client an analogy I like to tailor it to whatever profession it is that they do. Oftentimes that is the best way to demonstrate something as it makes sense to the client. For the sake of an example I’ll give you the analogy featuring a painter.

You’ve decided you want to paint your house and have found your painter. When the painter arrives you show him the rooms you want painted and together, with pantone books in hand, the colours are chosen and agreed on. The painter gives you the quote for the job and materials, hands are shook and start date arranged. On the start date the painter arrives and gets to work. After about 90% of the work is complete you decide to change your mind regarding the colour and ask the painter to start all over again.

I don’t know about you but I’m yet to meet a painter who will start to paint all over again without re invoicing for nearly the same amount of money again. When doing web design this seems to be a common enough thing – change requests late in the day. No other profession would consider it yet clients can refuse to pay if we don’t concede.

I think analogies like the above put in perspective what some clients ask web developers to do. If change requests are reasonable I’m all about happy clients and doing a bit extra but if we’re on the home straight and a change request sets us back to the first corner, then it’s analogy time.

What about you? Any analogies of your own for clients? Let me hear ’em!

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