I was taught in the old school way that the client was always right. And in all truth I try to listen carefully to my clients and deliver what they want , adding in professional advise if they have fallen off course. I fix what is fixable and try to be flexible. So what is a “bad client” ? A bad client is one who gets in their own way.
When Interiors Designers and sales people get together they often discuss what has gone right and what has gone on wrong on their projects. It eventually gets around to the ” bad client “ conversation. Like finding old sour milk , or a rotten apple , it is never fun to be in an antagonistic relationship with your client. When we review what has gone wrong with what started out as a great thing , there emerge some common themes.
1. Lack of communication. I have had a couple of clients as elusive as an undercover spy. I phone , e-mail , text , write , and they never get back to me. When the reemerge on the scene they are too late with questions and input , and find that their project has all ready stalled due to their non-involvement. Remember it is doubtful that a Designer will go forth without your permission. Just as the Designer needs to return phone calls promptly , so do the clients.
2. Chronic Indecisiveness. The inability to make or stick to a decision is a major problem on any project. You need to go into any renovation or decorating venture with the understanding that there is a beginning , middle , and end to the work schedule. The client needs to be able to make selections in a clear and direct manner and be resolved to live with their decisions. If you are not a presence on the project and things get stalled , you will find that your team has drifted away to firmer footing elsewhere.
3. You are too angry , depressed , or irritated. If you get the reputation as the meanest client in town , no one will want to come to your project . It is as simple as that , and as devastating to the outcome. Your subcontractors will yes sir or ma’am you until the end just to be able to escape the unpleasant environment. Running things with a firm hand does not imply being hostile to the Designer or other work people hired to complete your project. If a job is operated with this tactic , you will find that everyone is less honest and more withdrawn . You will get whatever you ask for , whether it is right or not. The creativity factor is muted , as everyone will do their best to avoid ugly scenes and encounters.
4. You withhold funds. When you agree to a price and a payment schedule , you need to stick to it as long as the work is progressing correctly. Another quick way to bring your job to a screeching halt is to stop paying the bills on time. Especially in this economy. Everyone needs to be paid and they will go where that is happening. Designers will be unable to get your merchandise in , and you will have the empty house syndrome.
These are the 4 main reasons you can be a “bad client” . The unfortunate outcome of the “bad client” behaviour is that you will hurt yourself and your project the most in the end. Designers and sub contractors will move on to the other projects they love and can pour their best talents into . You will be left with a “could have been great ” space.
Commmit yourself to any new Design undertaking with your full being , relax , be a partner , and enjoy the positive out come. It should be fun , artsitic , inspiring , and bring you the fabulous results you dream of.