How Interior Designers Can Mitigate Financial Risk When Dealing With Difficult Clients

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by SampleBoard

In any business, you will find that you constantly need to deal with difficult clients. Maybe they are just rude people, maybe they are demanding, maybe they don’t know what they want and constantly keep changing their minds and moving the goalposts. It can be extremely frustrating for a business, and you could wind up losing a lot of money, time, and a lot of your hair!

Image credit: @parkandoakdesign

For people who are in the interior design business, difficult clients are the worst. If they don’t like what you have done or want to suddenly make a grand sweeping change, then you might need to overhaul the entire project and make significant changes. This can very quickly bite into your wallet, so protecting yourself from difficult clients is going to be your number one priority.

Here are some common tips in order to make sure that when a difficult client walks through the door, you can keep your business sane and your wallet safe.

Have A ‘Scope Of Work’ For Unclear Jobs

If you have difficult clients who have no idea what they want and are simply spouting off ideas until they feel like they hit on the right one, then you might be concerned about how to get paid for the work. It can get extremely difficult because you might charge for one type of job, only for the client to add on several more tasks that quickly make the first payment not seem worth it 

In order to prevent this from happening, many interior designers have a scope of work, which basically outlines what they will be doing, how many hours it is expected to take, and what they will be paid for that work. This is all in a contract that is read and signed before anything else happens, and if work falls outside of that scope, then a new contract for the extra work is drafted.

Additionally, interior designers will use secure payment solutions for painting professionals in order to make sure that their money is protected and in a secure location before they start work. 

Creative people may want to go above and beyond for their clients, or some want to do the work for the joy of the artwork itself and not for the money. But everyone needs to be paid, and this can be the best way to make sure money changes hands.

Keep Track Of Everything

Sometimes difficult clients will push back on invoices, arguing that they shouldn’t have to pay for some hours worked. They can make various excuses, and it can be extremely frustrating to get the entire amount for the job out of them. 

In order to give everyone involved peace of mind, you should ensure that you are documenting every single hour you work, what you did during that hour, and how much you are charging for that work. Document it early and often, and ensure that you have the documentation ready to show the client after the job is complete. 

This is not only going to help you keep track of everything, but it will also ensure that both you and the client are 100% clear on the hours worked and the payment that will need to be made.

Keep Track Of Your Expenses

With the stress of a demanding client, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of your money and ensure that everything is on the books. For example, clients might demand more changes and put pressure on you to over-invest in design items that you ultimately won’t use. It is important to keep track of your investments and expenses and also to make sure that you aren’t misquoting the time and the cost of the project.

It can be extremely difficult to handle a bad client, but it doesn’t need to put a massive dent in your business or in your wallet. As long as you take the needed steps to protect yourself and make sure to keep track of all the data, then you will be able to get through working with the difficult customer. Then you can get paid and can move on to the next one, who will hopefully be better!