Those clients that give us technicians gray hair

Hey guys, its been AGES since I posted something. Mainly due to the constraints at work and lack of time. However, I WILL do my best to keep you lovely folks informed.

Now I am sure that 90% of you as technicians have had a bad experience or 2 with some “lovely” clients. Those “clients” who you would love to strangle xD but can’t because of the job that needs to be done. Well, I have a short list here of the types you MUST try to avoid, for the sake of your sanity.

The Damsel in Distress

These clients wait until they’re tied to the railroad tracks and the train is coming ’round the bend before they decide it’s time to call a consultant. They expect you to ride to the rescue, fix everything, and then be on your merry way with a tip of your hat. Sometimes this can make for good business with excellent referrals, but more often than not if you buy into their unrealistic expectations you’re going to find yourself catching the same train — in the face. You have to honestly tell the client when they’ve called you too late to be of help. If you decide to take the engagement, set realistic expectations for what can be salvaged from the wreckage. Most importantly, try to educate them on how involving you from the beginning could have avoided this situation — and suggest that they adopt that approach for future projects.

The Tyrant

The primary purpose of every project for this client is to enhance his or her power and glory. They downplay the achievements of others, especially consultants from the outside. Since every effort must bear witness to their superiority, they micromanage all aspects of the project and discourage innovation by underlings. It’s “my way, or the highway.” Hello, highway.

Ebenezer Scrooge

This client expects you to be available at all times, and work extra hours for no extra money. They’ll try to blame their needs on your past performance, saying that it was understood that such-and-such would be included in the original agreement. “We paid you to get it working, and it isn’t working to our requirements” is their common refrain. Never mind that the requirements have shifted over time, and were never all that clear to begin with. Never, ever do fixed-price work for this sort of client. In fact, the potential for encountering Mr. Scrooge is the main reason why I prefer hourly contracts in general.

Now mind you, this is by no means complete, as I’m sure that there are many more that can be added to this list. In any case, if you come across any one here, try as best as possible to avoid a possible bad situation. I’m not saying that they cannot be worked with, but they will be a difficult bunch.

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