As a designer with your own professional organizing business, you know better than anyone that dealing with all sorts of different clients is a standard part of the job. In a perfect world, every customer experience would be a pleasant one. The good news is that more often than not, this will be the case. But sometimes, you’re going to encounter that dreaded type of client who makes you want to do nothing more than pull your own hair out.
Here’s the good news:
You’re allowed to say NO.
Yes, you read that right. We know that for any entrepreneur, turning down a client outright can be a bit scary. Chances are, your main concern is that it might hurt your organizing business and prevent you from booking more clients in the future. But trust us, it won’t.
There is nothing that justifies being mistreated by a client. It’s important to remember that you’re a professional organizer – not a doormat. So, if you ever encounter ANY of the following 3 types of clients, take comfort in knowing that you’ll be 1000% within your right to not only refuse them your services, but blacklist them from your organizing business altogether!
1. The Know-It-All
These are the clients who shouldn’t even bother consulting a professional in the first place, given that they apparently already know everything anyway. They’ll forever question your expert judgement, even if they’re the one who asked you for your opinion. A good way to spot one in the wild is during the initial consultation. If they keep interrupting, talking over you, or controlling the majority of the conversation, you’re likely dealing with a Know-It-All.
Unfortunately, Know-It-Alls tend to only get worse with time, so be warned. While we’re not necessarily saying you should never give them a chance, just be aware that they may become progressively more difficult as the project progresses.
Sometimes, the job just won’t be worth the headache.
2. The Choosing Beggar
Choosing Beggars straight up suck. In fact, if the sound of a toilet flushing could be embodied into a person, it’d be a Choosing Beggar. Unfortunately, as the owner of your own organizing business, you’re guaranteed to encounter them at least once throughout your career.
In a nutshell, this is the type of client who will try to get something for nothing. Despite the time and effort you’ve put into your professional organizing training, business, etc., your services will forever be worth pennies to them. The cheaper they can get you to go, the better. Most Choosing Beggars are also fluent in deception. Here are just a few of the lies they might use when asking you to give them a discount (or free services):
- They have a sick [insert family member, friend, partner, or pet]
- Their child is dying of [insert deadly illness]
- It’s their birthday
- The “exposure” they give you by sharing your work on social media is surely worth a discount
- The work you do isn’t worth your prices
Usually, once a Choosing Beggar realizes you aren’t going to give them what they want, they’ll quickly turn to insults and harassment. Don’t give in. The best way to handle a Choosing Beggar is to not engage in the first place. Once you realize what you’re dealing with, politely decline your services and end the conversation there.
Pro tip: Requiring an initial deposit on all your jobs is an excellent way to weed out the choosing beggars! Otherwise, the choosing beggar will wait until the job is done and simply refuse to pay.
3. The Aggressor
Speaking of bombarding you with insults, this one is especially worth bringing up. In general, no professional deserves to be abused by their clients. But in your line of work, you’re especially at risk of running into this type of client.
As part of your organizing business, you likely deal with clients who are going through some pretty heavy stuff. A common example would be in the case of hoarders. Often, the reason for their situation is linked to something much deeper; much more complicated. Decluttering their space can sometimes be a very traumatizing experience for them.
Still, that does NOT give them an excuse to lash out at you. Yes, while a certain amount of emotional response is to be expected, there’s a limit to what’s acceptable. If your client ever begins to yell, insult, or curse at you, you’re within your right to end the project and terminate your services.
It’s not part of your job description to be someone’s emotional punching bag.
Tips for dealing with These Kinds of Clients
- Give them one chance, and one chance only. If they mistreat you once without consequence, they’ll think it’s okay to do it again. Don’t give them any wiggle room to mistreat you a second time.
- You’re not bound by your contract in the presence of client abuse. Even if a contract has already been signed, you can break it if your client has been treating you in an unacceptable manner.
- Trust your gut. If a client is giving you sketchy vibes during the client consultation, and your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t work with them, don’t.
- Don’t believe their intimidation tactics. Most of them are full of hot air, and the ones who aren’t are NOT worth your time.
- Always remain professional. Kill them with kindness, even if it’s to decline them your services. At the very least, you’ll always retain the upper hand if you keep your cool and respond to them respectfully. That way, they’ll have no leg to stand on.
Can you think of any other kinds of nightmare clients that you should watch out for in your professional organizing business? Let us know the comments below!