It should be a common knowledge already that the less the client pays for your service, the more of your time he/she consumes. Usually this happens because they try to save every penny and argue about minor things that naturally should have been let go. However, by concentrating on such minor issues, the client totally misses the major stuff that needs his/her attention.
For example, let’s take an online store. By being a royal pain in any place you can imagine the client takes about a week to decide between the two offered ways of presenting a single product on per line in the store (a decision of two hours at most, really!). Then we, thinking of a better way to promote the product the client sells, offer an addition to the store that (by our calculations) should increase product exposure by large volume. It’s a trendy perk, not many stores have it, so it would naturally rise confidence in web site. Client impolitely declines, since it will be more expensive and push us to complete the project. Which we, of course, did.
On the closure meeting that lasts two hours instead of 40 minutes client politely listens to the presentation on how to use their store (almost without taking any notes), after which goes on about how he wants us to change the design since “we never discussed that there would be only one item per line”. That is – after they have agreed on the draft, confirmed (no less then two times) that no additional changes are necessary and that web site will look exactly like on the picture. And after the week-long heated discussion on how to present single item per line in a best way. They delay the last installment. We offer that they keep the last installment and go with another web design studio, since they are dissatisfied with the job we did (although we did everything according to the specs, offered additional functionality and features, accommodated their shoe-string budget and so on).
Now, I am not writing this to bash clients – they are in their right to make mistakes. They probably just need to learn how to take responsibility for them, but that’s not my concern. The more clients come in our way the more I see a trend where people who pay more money for essentially same product (i.e. web site – in any of its form) take less of your time by managing important parts of their web sites and leaving technicalities to us. After all – that’s exactly what they are paying us for. People who can afford to spend more money value their time and our time more then those, who spend less. In different terms – they know how to delegate responsibilities because this makes them more money. This knowledge, as far as I understand, comes after certain level of acquired business experience. What’s cause and what’s effect – knowledge or money – I think is obvious.
So the next time I see this client (hopefully it won’t be as painful as it was last time) I will give them couple of links to a good articles on delegating responsibilities. No matter how much hard time our clients give me, I still believe in educating our customers. Can’t vouch for this particular case, but the general trend says that it helps.