The design industry is one that is bursting with different personalities, tastes, and styles. It’s inevitable that you’ll meet a wide range of clients in your role, especially when you’re working as a professional organizer! And we’re not going to sugar coat it for you – not every organizing client is easy to work with. You’ll likely butt heads and have disagreements when it comes to carrying out your vision.
To prepare you for the road ahead, we’ve put together a list of “types” you’ll encounter as you take on more professional organizer jobs. Read on for five kinds of clients you’ll run into, and know what to expect!
The client with emotional stress
Whether you’re an aspiring professional organizer, or you’ve already obtained your certification, you need to make empathy one of your top priorities. In your role, you’re coming into a client’s home (and their life), recommending changes and implementing systems that they are unfamiliar with. Although you mean well, and these will ultimately improve the client’s current lifestyle, this can be a stressful time for them.
If your client has anxiety, is organizing their home after the loss of a family member, or has other problems to deal with, your work is going to be particularly tricky. So how do you handle these types of clients? You’ll find during your time as a professional organizer that clients working through emotional issues are some of the most common types you’ll encounter. So, coming up with strategies to best work with them is going to serve you very well in the long run!
We recommend looking into extra courses or workshops to help you develop sensitivity skills, which will allow you to do your best work as an organizer while also keeping your client comfortable and calm!
The stubborn client
Professional organizers meet clients who are set in their ways on a daily basis. Their houses or offices are in disarray, and while these clients are aware that they need a professional to get organized, they have a hard time letting go of their bad habits. This is totally normal! If someone has been placing loose documents in the same disastrous pile for years, they’ve become comfortable with this practice, and it won’t be easy to change their routine.
However, it’s not impossible! When working with a stubborn client, you’ll need to be firm yet gentle, and keep reminding them that the systems you want to implement are going to have a positive effect on their lives. Remember these key strategies when you’re working with stubborn home design clients.
The client who doesn’t know what they want
Fair enough – a client has sought out your professional organizing services because they know they need help. That’s great, and you’re prepared to hit the ground running with systems to help get their life back on track. However, just because a client knows they need your expertise doesn’t mean that they’re able to articulate which area they want you to focus on or what their objectives are.
Vague clients are some of the most frustrating for professional organizers, as they simply want you to clean up their home or office, but won’t provide any specifics. Try to find out what this client wants to change about their space by asking targeted questions that get right to the point. Some clients will be able to explain their issues with a little prompting, but it will be particularly tricky to get answers from a client who doesn’t know what they want.
Be professional in your approach, but don’t be afraid to nudge your client for answers – remind them that you’ll keep everything confidential, and then ask specific questions about their daily habits, points of stress, and their goals. This will help both you and your client in the organizing process.
The client who doesn’t understand what you do
Professional organizing is a seriously important branch of the design industry with a huge impact on the lives of clients. However, it’s still a relatively new branch of the industry, which means that there is some confusion about what a professional organizer actually does. Unfortunately, you will run into clients that haven’t done their research before picking up the phone and contacting you, and you’ll need to have a few strategies in place to handle this type of situation.
The best thing you can do as a professional organizer is to sit down with them and set the record straight. This client might be insistent that you should do your organizing while they’re out of town, or be shocked at how long the job will take or confused at how you’ve started the process. This is all to be expected from someone who doesn’t understand professional organizing, so don’t get agitated!
Explain to this client how you do your job and allow them to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. Once they’ve grasped your role, your job will become significantly easier.
The client who wants everything done at once
You know the saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day? Well, the disorganization in your client’s home wasn’t created in just a few days or weeks. It likely took months and years for bad habits to really take their toll on the space, and tidying is only a temporary solution. Some clients will expect a professional organizer to come into their home, make a few changes, and then be on to the next client. However, this isn’t how it works. And trust us – your client doesn’t want it to work this way!
Organizing is a process that needs to be adapted to every unique person, and then fine-tuned according to the changes in their life. You’ll work closely with your professional organizing clients to create systems that will keep their lives in order, and allow your organizing powers to really stick. With this type of one-shot client, you’ll simply need to explain your organizing methods and timeline to help them see the bigger picture. Referring to previous jobs and noting how long each one took is also helpful in allowing them to see how you work and what changes you can successfully make within a certain time frame.
Your client also needs to hold up their end of the bargain – you’ll set up systems to keep them organized, but it’s ultimately up to them to make sure they adjust their habits and lifestyle to maintain this order going forward.