I was recently told by a prospect that, “Hiring the right designer was a lot like a looking for a marriage partner than just picking someone out of a crowd at a baseball game.” Okay marriage I thought was a bit much, but clients for the most part invest a fair amount of time picking out the right designer. Have you ever wondered though, are designers doing the same thing in trying to pick out the right client?
In this very same meeting mentioned above, one of the prospects asked, “In addition to us interviewing you, I’ll bet you’re interviewing us, aren’t you?” A smile flashes across my face, and I nod. Designers might not tell you, but they are interviewing you as well, and hoping you’ll be a good client to work with. I’ve talked with designers in “closed door” meetings that clients are never told about, discussing what artists think makes for a good client, here’s what I came up with:
- Respect for each other’s time
- Remember it’s a relationship, and that each party needs to coordinate and cooperate
- Respect for each other’s talents
- Focused, regular and responsive communication. This keeps the project on task and moving forward.
- You should expect your designer to bill you fairly and accurately. She/he should provide you sufficient records of their time spent. In turn, clients should pay designers fairly for their time. Keep in mind that a designer’s inventory is her/his time, by devoting time to your project; the designer isn’t able to work on other projects. Getting paid for investing time in a project isn’t a bonus for a designer, it’s a necessity.
- Paying bills on time. Remember that many younger, more inexperienced artists live job to job. It can be devastating to hear that a client is not able to pay on time for any reason.
- Enthusiasm is always a bonus. Working with clients that are pleasant and enthusiastic are gold mines. If you’re easy and fun to work with you might not be able to expect freebies and service WELL beyond what you’ve anticipated, but don’t be surprised if you get it.
As a Business Owner, Why Should You Care What a Designer Is Looking for?
I know what you’re thinking, if I am the client/customer, why should I care about what the designer wants? Most designers won’t tell you, but the inside scoop is that designers have been known to give price breaks to ideal clients and easy to work with clients often get designers to go that extra 2, 3 and 4 miles for them. Better prices, faster service, and sometimes service freebies – I kid you not. Ideal clients always seem to get more value out of their investment. Is there something more to this? Is it random chance or is there some underlying reason why some clients seem to get more out of their designer? It’s my theory that it’s not chance.
Case Study: Victorious Creations
Let me introduce you to Bryson and Victoria of Victorious Creations, this couple wanted an exceptional web site for their unique and inspired business. This husband and wife dynamic duo were extremely easy to work with, heck, they were down right fun and enjoyable to be around. Initially we contracted for: 1 face-to-face meeting, 1 limited time and output photo shoot, limited web site multimedia, and marketing consultations, collateral material as well as site promotion were outside the scope of the project.
Designing victoriouscreations.com was a pleasure, and any designer would be happy to work with Bryson and Victoria. They were considerate, enthusiastic, and positive about the entire process. What did that get them? Compare this list of what the clients actually received with the list above: 5 face-to-face meetings, 3 photo shoots totally over 4 hours, an extensive multimedia web site, several hours of marketing consultations and free insight, free full color business cards printed and designed, and yes – a write up in this article. Does it pay to be an ideal client? Victorious Creations would probably say, “Yes, it does!”
Bottom Line for Sharp Business Owners:
If you’re an ideal client can you expect to receive the same perks as the Victorious Creations case study? I don’t know. What I can tell you is that from the designers I’ve known and talked to over the years, there are clear benefits to being an enjoyable, ideal client. You might not be able to expect extras and special perks if you’re an ideal client, but don’t be surprised when you receive them consistently.