I’ve had a few new stagers reach out to me the past couple of weeks looking for advice and I’ve taken a moment to self-reflect… What would I tell my younger self?
The answer: You don’t have to work with everyone! You CAN pick and choose your clients.
A seasoned home stager I admire once said, “Oh no. I wouldn’t even deal with that. I fire clients I don’t like. I only work with good people and I have no drama.”
Oh… What now? You FIRE clients.
I used to come from a place of yes; I thought that was the “right” and “successful” business model and mindset. It sounded like: “Yes, I can squeeze you in.” “Yes, I can reduce the quoted price.” “Yes, I can waive that fee.”
I used to NEVER say no to business… Even if it was bad business. Even if my gut was telling me to RUN.
Reminder: It’s okay to fire a client who does not respect you or bring you peace or joy. (The customer is not always right.)
So, I’ve thought about it - and I’m going to do better and practice what I preach. Here are the 5 types of clients to stop working with immediately (and avoid in the future).
1 The Demander.
This client thinks they are the boss. They demand your immediate response and attention. They get annoyed when you don’t do what they want in the time frame they have demanded. They think they are the sun in the universe. They most likely treat you like “the help” and not a valued part of the process. (In the staging world, they literally call you “the stager.” You don’t have a name and couldn’t possibly have other clients.) The demanders also avoid signing agreements and don’t pay invoices on time.
2 The Drainer.
This client drains your resources. Literally all of them (physical, emotional and financial). They call and text all the time. They send a bazillion emails throughout the day with updates instead of one email update at the end of the day. They are constantly asking for “extras” or “add-ons” because “it will only take you 5 seconds” but they’re confused if the cost increases as a result. They’re needy and oblivious!
3 The Ambiguous.
This client never communicates clearly. You have to constantly coax out clarity. They don’t really know what they want and are constantly changing their mind. You wonder how they pick out pants in the morning. This client drives you particularly crazy because they don’t like what you deliver but they can’t exactly tell you why or what they don’t like… There’s no satisfying them!
4 The Moaner.
This client is never happy with your work. No matter how good you are, they always find something to critique. They say things like, “This is great, but…” You wonder, “Why do they keep calling me? I swear, they hate me.” Most of the time, the moaner is also the ambiguous.
5 The Lazy One.
This client is similar to the moaner. They expect certain results but don’t put in the necessary work to achieve them. They moan about wanting specific outcomes, but don’t acknowledge that their lack of action is contributing to it. (In the staging world, this is the client who skipped painters or cleaners… You find yourself saying, “I’m a stager, not a magician!”