Do you have a PITA client? When you decide to take on private clients for your blogging work, you will sometimes come across a client that can only be described as a PITA (a pain in the a**).
I’ve dealt with many of these types of clients in the past. At first, I thought I would just have to put up with them, but that wore me down. I fell out of love with blogging and I decided it was time to change my strategy. It’s time to deal with your PITA clients.
What is a PITA client?
You know what it stands for, but what is a PITA client like? This is the type of client that wants the world for nothing.
I found them more on Fiverr than anywhere else, which is why I’ve walked away from that site. Some would want immediate responses to messages despite being in a timezone 12 hours ahead. Others would want something that should cost $50 for $5.
They’d change their minds on articles after delivery, deciding that they wanted a “revision” and not a whole new piece. And Fiverr is set up for PITA clients to get their own way. When it comes to my own private clients, I run the show.
These are the tips I now follow to avoid and manage a PITA client.
Set clear communication rules
Clients can become problems because you let them. If you routinely check your emails when you’re not meant to be at your desk, your clients will start contacting you outside of your business hours. It can be difficult if you have international clients but you need to start setting communication rules.
I make it clear that I don’t check my emails at all on a Sunday. That’s my one day to just spend time with my family and unwind from the week. I usually don’t respond to emails on Sundays unless they really are emergencies.
When it is a working day, I often don’t respond to requests after 7pm unless I’m working especially late that night. I’ll acknowledge that I got the email and that I’ll read the details the next morning.
Having time away, even if it’s just to sleep, is important and you need to set the ground rules early. It usually nips anyone constantly needing to talk to you in the bud.
Set your own expectations with clients from the beginning. Make it clear when you’ll get in touch with them. They need reminding that you’re running a business not a favor for them.
Explain your process
Talk to the client about the project and get all the details. From there, explain the process that you will go through to research the information, write the content etc. This will put the client at ease and help him or her settle down.
Many PITA clients don’t realize what they’re doing. They may have never hired a freelancer before or may have had a bad experience in the past. You need to settle their minds at ease and explain that you need to work to produce the quality.
Do this politely but firmly.
One thing that will help with this is by setting agreed milestones for the project. This could also help to keep your cash flow perfect—the client pays you for each set milestone and he or she stays up to date and knows it’s going as expected.
I will admit that I don’t break everything down for my clients. I don’t go into the full details of the research process, just enough to help them understand it.
Start charging more for the PITA client
I’ve heard of one writer who decided to start charging extra for a client who wanted work doing over the weekend. This was after a month or so of the client asking for work on a Friday and it had to be completed by the Monday morning. Since weekends were her days off and she would usually plan things for those days, she started charging extra for the inconvenience.
Guess what. The client paid! Either the client realized she/he was asking too much or realized it was worth the extra.
This was a client that this writer was happy with losing though if it did happen.
You could also talk to the PITA client about charging for the consultation time—after all, as a freelancer, time is money. It could stop the endless phone calls, the expectation to be on chat every hour of the day and the time suck that all this causes!
There are others I know who charge a “PITA fee.” In other words, their rates go up for specific clients. This doesn’t just happen in the writing business either. The idea is to set a rate that you’d be happy doing the project for but that would encourage a difficult client to find someone else cheaper so you don’t have to do it.
Replace the client with a better one
If the PITA client is a good payer, you may worry about replacing that income should he/she leave. The trick is to actively look for a new client who will still offer the same amount of work and money but not as much hand-holding time.
Once you find someone to replace the first client, you can then fire that client and not deal with the headache! If you’re not happy about firing the client, refer them onto someone else you know who is looking for work and may be able to handle the neediness.
You don’t have to put up with a PITA client but you can make it easier for yourself.
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