Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Here are the 5 kinds of clients you have to be aware of in order to protect your business relationships.
The Picky Picker
This client doesn't know what they want. This client doesn't have the confidence to tell you what they want and masks this insecurity by agreeing with your ideas with little thought. You seem to dominate the conversation during the development stage and they may sometimes tune out and let you rome free but somehow still has an idea of what they want and ends up being something far different than what you proposed, effectively causing you to make drastic changes in post-production.
If you identify this early, you can help reduce potential buyers-remorse or they'll become the pickiest person in the world during post-production.
Let's say you didn't catch it in the beginning and you've made all the way to post-production. You can tell they are picky If they begin asking you to make changes to a prior change they asked you to make.
You have the feeling that they may not know what they want and will begin experimenting. Don't get me wrong, we love experimenting, but who's going to create 5 CG renders of you on a dragon over the Pentagon in 30 mins for free.
Another way to identify a picky client is that they want you to make multiple versions of something to use the process of elimination too often. We do what we can under the time and budget you invest.
Solution: Ask them to try to stick to the original plan or pay a minimum of 20% more for your labor and time. (Do this only if changes are excessive)
They hide everything in a joke or a laugh. Its away for them to tell you how they feel or want about the project without being serious about it. They are actually afraid to ask you to make changes because they don't want to be shot down. So they shoot down their own idea from the get-go so you can't shoot what's already been shot, effectively minimizing the effect of shooting it down if shot is fired. Behind all that joking is someone sensitive. Work with them with grate care. They are exited to be there with you and simply want to experience what you do.
Solution: Ask them to be honest with what they want.
This one wants to be over your solder to help you make every "right" edit. This is a type of client that should never be with you too long because you'll either pull your hair out or never finish the project with all the changes they'd make want you to do.
This client could have done the whole production themselves and makes you wonder why they even hired you. We love the free help, don't stop but this behavior may be seen as intrusive if the client becomes a backseat driver. Some may intellectually engage in combat about camera specs, lighting ideas and what the big-name studios are doing that you're not to somehow impress you with how much they know.
Solution: Try to create distance and room to perform at you max. Try to keep them occupied and out of the way of your work.
You told them you can make anything happen within reason and didn't hear you say "within reason". They want everything they saw on Netflix or dreamed of a dream. They want CG effects, blood, a make full up team, all for the low, low price of...
"good exposure for your portfolio"
Said by every penny pincer. Asking us to give you a discount and telling us that it will be good for our portfolio can be insulting. We allocate and reasonably price everything so the production can be fulfilled without going in the negatives. If we gave discounts, it's almost equivalent to doing it for free. These clients are simply dreamers who don't have a lot of money and just would like to have something nice for once.
Solution: Bill this client upfront (no exceptions)
Gyppers (aka, never payers)
This client should not have any footage of the final project. You'll almost never hear from them again. That is called robbery. If you ever do give them the project, it cannot be above a 480 resolution and must be watermarked. This client will always find an excuse to delay payment.
Some of us won't ask for a deposit on your first shoot with us. We only ask for a deposit if one of your prior bills ever become overdue. This will apply to the next project. If you miss the next one, you'll be asked to pay full price upfront including previous bills on top.
I once had a roommate who we'll nickname him "Scum". He left dutch wrappers on my floor, smoked inside when I told him not to, didn't wash dishes and left SCUM all in my bathroom. He was dirty, and unclean and got high every day. Scum didn't have a bank account and used his suspiciously under aged girlfriend's Cash App to pay me.
From the looks of it, a reason why he may not have had a bank account is that either his credit was through the floor or was blacklisted from every major bank from how irresponsible he is with money.
If you ever find any sign of this kind of history or behavior with any client, bill them in advance. If they pay you in cash, there is probably something wrong with their bank account and are trying to bypass bank fees by giving you cash. Make a list of who will requiter %100 of the bill before you begin production.
We use popular payment options to make it easy for you to clear invoices. We don't like physical currency because it's not as fluent. We won't refuse cash; whenever possible, pay your bill without using physical currencies. We all know that a person in line who uses cash will hold up everyone else. We also don't like to drive to the bank just to insert money into a machine. Zelle, CashApp, Google Pay, PayPal, and Blockchain are grated payment options that help us sleep at night.