1. A buyer who communicates expectations clearly. The number one quality of a good customer is that they are able to express what they want and need. This ability is vital for a supplier to deliver the right product or service. A supplier can’t deliver what wasn’t asked for. As with pretty much every project of any sort that involves more than one person communication is the biggest factor in success. Poor communication will without a doubt cripple your project and it most often comes in one of two different forms.
First there is slow communication. When clients take weeks to get back to you on simple updates projects drag and you don’t get paid. Additionally your motivation for the project will probably drop significantly causing you to take shortcuts when you finally do hear back on changes or approval or make assumptions when you don’t hear back. While your mindset may be that you just want to get this project out the door it could result in sub par work and a poor reflection of your capabilities. Second there is miscommunication.
While your client may get back to you in a timely manner there is just something off between the two parties. This road can go both ways, as a designer working with clients its up to you to find out what their comfort level may be when communicating ‘techy’ things. Some clients are plenty familiar with the technology and best practices that go into web design while others will need to be walked through the process more. The positive side of this problem is that it is very avoidable. Communication issues are often glaringly obvious before a project ever gets under way. If you are looking for a project and not a headache you will likely be better off passing on projects that appear to be ridden with communication issues from the get go.
2. Allows a reasonable amount of time for the work. The business world is filled with customers who want it “yesterday.” Often, what these customers actually get is a rushed job full of mistakes and needing a lot of rework. A good customer, however, understands that quality service from the supplier takes time and plans accordingly.
3. Available for questions. While most suppliers can and do work independently, there’s nothing more frustrating for a supplier than being surprised by an obstacle and being unable to reach the customer for questions and clarifications. Smart customers therefore know that it’s cheaper to get it right the first time than to fix it later. They make themselves available.
4. Pays a fair amount for work required. A bargain is a bargain, except when it’s not. Often paying less than market rate for work results in getting work of less than average quality. That’s because a supplier who works on the cheap often must take on more work than they can really do well just to make ends meet.
5. Pays in a timely fashion. This is a buyer who discusses their payment terms with the supplier before the project begins and then honor those terms. If you say that you will pay within x days of the project’s completion, be sure to pay that amount within that timeframe. Don’t make the supplier beg you for their payment. You could ruin your professional reputation and even your credit history.
6. Has high integrity. Honesty is at the core of every successful business relationship. Suppliers like to deal with customers who conduct all of their business in an honest and transparent fashion. Not only is this a great way to conduct oneself in general, it will also enhance the buyer’s business reputation.
7. A buyer who allows the supplier to do their job. Once the buyer has hired the right person, then they the supplier possess the talent and skill to do the job well. The buyer therefore keeps an open mind about what their supplier proposes. They don’t be constantly second-guessing their supplier’s abilities.
8. A buyer who seeks an ongoing relationship. The best customers understand the value of an ongoing relationship. They don’t want to have to “break-in” a new supplier with each new project that they have. This will encourage loyalty from both parties which is very essential in any business undertaking.
9. A buyer who gives credit where credit is due. While it’s not always possible to give a supplier authorship credit for a product or service, a discerning customer notices when a supplier puts in extra effort or goes the extra mile in a project.
10. Committed to quality. Most suppliers take pride in their work and want to produce high quality work. They dislike it when a customer asks them to take shortcuts.
11. Project Attachment: Look for clients who are attached to the project at hand. If a project has a high personal or financial value to a client it can help solve a lot of the problems on this list. Working for a client who doesn’t care about the project at hand can be a demoralizing experience. While it might be counter-intuitive try to avoid clients that ‘need’ to have a project done.
12. Additional Work: It’s a little bit of a bonus but also one of the best characteristics about any client. A client that refers their friends to you or has multiple projects to tackle is a huge value to any designer. Be sure to reward your loyal customers with discounts and your best work. After all these clients are saving you a huge amount of time and the effort of finding additional work, time that would otherwise go unpaid. If you like a client that you work with and had a project that went well don’t hesitate to ask them for a testimonial and suggest that they share your contact information with anyone they know who needs a web site as well.
13. Save a large deposit (or buy with cash!) A large deposit shows a level of commitment to the property, as that money is non-refundable when you exchange contracts. The only thing that trumps a massive deposit is, of course, a cash buyer. Assuming the buyer has the funds in place and can prove it, the sale is much more likely to go through quickly without business owners being involved.
14. Flexible buyer: Sellers absolutely love flexible buyers because it means they can do things in the way they want, at the pace they want. This is one reason they like chain-free buyers because they tend to be able to move very quickly if necessary. But the opposite is also true. Perhaps your seller has been unable to find a suitable property themselves so they may want to agree a price with a buyer who is prepared to wait for them. If you are happy to proceed quickly, or slowly, and you make this clear to the seller, it could work in your favor.