Every freelance web designer or design agency is strictly dependent on the existence of customers. They are the ones that assure the designers’ incomes; the lack of clients automatically means bankruptcy. In conclusion, any client should be very carefully treated.
On the other hand, thinking that there are too many designers compared to the number of potential customers is totally wrong. The job markets demonstrate that people almost desperately need quality design services. There’s no mistake here, I have purposely bolded the word “quality” because people need beautiful and functional design services. Modest layouts and logos may be created by everyone using some free website builders (the technology has evolved a lot and as a result the modern website builders are really efficient, which means that stunning websites can be created by a good designer). The conclusion is that a good web designer will always have a large number of clients!
Dealing with clients is a very important aspect of the activity of a web designer. The university courses treat this aspect superficially, but in real life this is a very important chapter. A good relationship with a client may assure a relative stabile income and in the actual economical context, this is extremely important. Altogether, having all the eggs into a single basket isn’t a good idea and a new client, from time to time, is a very good move. In fact, there is an unresolved dilemma: which is the best client, a new one or an old one? Personally, I think that the best solution is to have a balanced mix of new and existing clients because in this way a pretty stable income is assured and on top of that there are good chances to make it bigger. Anyway, we have prepared a short list in which old vs. new clients are compared from various perspectives. As usual, we ask for your precious opinions about this dilemma- the more opinions, the better!
#1. Effective working perspective
Most probably, an old client will ask for similar kind of design services. Therefore, it is beneficial for a web designer to specialize in the area of the client’s projects in order to provide better services. Across time, becoming an expert into a very narrow field may represent an advantage because a more specialized web designer may ask for higher quotes.
Another advantage of working with old clients is the high degree of mutual understanding. Both parts, the web designer and the customers know the potential of each other and some steps may be skipped. In this way, the designer doesn’t waste time providing tons of sketches and the customer is aware of the quality offered by the respective designer.
Boredom is a great plague and web designers became bored very fast. A web designer that works the same type of projects for a while will become bored and his/her efficiency will instantly go down. A new client represents a new provocation and it will over-excite the web designer’s mind.
To conclude, a new client is almost mandatory because specializing into a single field is a double side sword. It’s great to be a top expert, but Internet evolves quickly and it is possible for the designer to work in a field that has no future.
#2. Financial perspective
Some existing clients that constantly ask for web design services are a very good solution for any web designer. In this context, a stabile income is assured and the stress that the customers aren’t serious is null (I guess that nobody will work for a client that doesn’t provide the payment in time). A solid relationship with some customers is golden because, quite probable, the communication will work very well and in this manner you will save a lot of time and resources. Obviously, time is money!
Nothing is perfect, so there must be some disadvantages. A good old client will ask for some minor tweaks or he/she needs some professional pieces of advice. In the most cases these are simple issues, but it’s a waste of time; and of course, wasted time means wasted money! Also, across time, by getting more experienced, each web designer is raising his/her fees. Well, working for the same client and having a solid relationship with him/her makes it extremely difficult to ask for higher prices.
#3. Branding perspective
We published a lot of posts about branding on our brother blog – iBrandStudio.com, and each time we established that the quality of the services remains the best promoter of a web designer. Altogether, other significant “advocates” of a web designer are the word of mouth and the testimonials. Having worked a considerable amount of time with a customer represents a sign of stability and reliability. Definitely, providing services to a famous client that is expressing his satisfaction about your work is a huge plus for branding- a big company won’t ever hire a modest web designer, will it?
Thinking from this perspective, one could believe that if a designer has more clients it means that he/she isn’t serious. Nowadays, few designers or design agencies work for a single client; therefore the above judgment is wrong. Many clients could be translated as many testimonials and as long as these are positive, then the respective service provider should be a good solution for other potential customers, as well.
As everything in our lives, each situation has both positive and negative aspects. A successful web designer is aware of this situation and tries to profit only from the positive ones. Thus, it is quite simple to apply this idea into our dilemma: the winning combination is a mix of old and new clients. Depending on the working capacity, a couple of existing clients is the guaranty of a constant income. Usually, they are top priority and offering bigger discounts is a manner of strengthening the relationships.
The new clients should be regarded as new challenges that are mandatory for every web designer. A satisfied new client will recommend the services of the respective web designer and this person could bring another client and so on. Ignoring the existing or the new clients is a big mistake, but you are now warned about this issue and you won’t surely commit such a mistake, will you?
– Written by Daniel –