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Difficult Web Design Clients – They Just Don't Get Us!

“Why does that cost so much?”

“Can’t you just do it real quick?”

“It’s not that hard! My nephew does this all the time!”

Sound familiar?

It seems a lot of times that no matter what we do, difficult web design clients will never appreciate us!

How can we show a client or potential client that what we do is valuable?

I want to go over a few things that I think will help when working with difficult web design clients in a BIG way.

Here are three things that you need to really focus on if you want to stop dealing with the “problems”.


Positioning, Communication, and Control. The pillars of happy clients.

You need to make sure that your business is positioned correctly.  You need to communicate EVERYTHING to your clients. Last, you need to maintain control of the relationship.

Let’s get a little deeper.


Who are you targeting?  You need to be in a position of authority so that when you say something, it’s heard and not just brushed off.  You should work on getting to a place where you are sought after, rather than the other way around.

Ask yourself, why should your clients respect you or what you do? Have you told them what’s involved?


That leads us to this little gem.  Something so necessary and common, but constantly overlooked.  Even seasoned pro’s tend to miss out once in a while on something as simple as communication.

Are your clients clear on what you do?

Let’s do a simple example.  You can tell your client.  I’ll build you a website and we’ll start with the design.


“Before I start with the design, I want to get a better understanding of the project so please tell me ….”  “Once the design phase starts, it takes a few days for us to nail down our first best guess, so please be patient.” “We can start with a wire frame if you like just to nail down what the layout will be… oh what’s a wire frame? Let me explain”

It’s all talk.  You have to treat your client like they’re a 5 year old kid learning for the first time, because that’s basically what they are.  YOU are the web pro, THEY are the _____ pro.  They don’t need to know your business, you do, and it’s your job to communicate and explain things to them so that they understand.

I had a client recently who assumed all the “extra” things I did were super easy and just included in the hosting that I offer.  After a tiny misunderstanding of “I thought this was included and you should be doing this already”  I had to explain about the courtesy that I was offering to give them a better experience.

I could have gotten all pissy and tell them that I don’t want to deal with it, but I genuinely explained everything I was doing, what it involved, and why it wasn’t a free service.

Things got cleared up, and it ended up turning into 2 small paying jobs for me.  Clients happy and I’m happy! Win Win!

Communication is so key in everything, it’s important we try not to let it slip through the cracks.


I think I can talk on client control for hours, but I’ll keep it brief.  The bottom line is to never forget that you make the rules.  Clients are just people, and will try to negotiate, haggle, get things for free, push the envelope, etc., but it’s your job to draw the line.

I find it so interesting that people don’t tend to do this because they don’t want to be mean.

This isn’t about being mean, or hurting someones feelings, this is business, and a transaction in business effects your lively hood.

You can be as lenient as you want to be because it’s your business.  But you should never, ever, EVER, under any circumstance feel pressured or obligated to do something.

Business people understand business people, and things need to get paid for.

Here’s a quick tip.

The next time a client wants you to do something but doesn’t want to pay for it, reverse it on them.  i.e. Massage therapist: Could you just change this page to do this instead of that.  You: Yes, but that’s out of scope so it’s going to be a little extra Massage therapist:  Well I really don’t want to pay any more, is it really going to take that long?  You: Well if someone came in for a back massage and then just asked for hot stones, would you just give them hot stones, it wouldn’t that long to heat them up right?

Yeah it sounds a little snarky when reading it, but you get the point.  Work your shmooze 😉

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About the Author
What's UP! This is my site, I write 99% of the articles on here. I'm also the owner of I help out a lot of developers and designers getting into the web game. Helping is fun for me, so feel free to ask me any questions! I've made courses and have a membership as well to help get you on your feet!

One comment on “Difficult Web Design Clients – They Just Don't Get Us!

  1. Adam Lacey says:

    Great article and your last point in control is absolutely spot on. We can build a rapport with clients but it’s important to remember we mean business and lay down the line when required.

    I swear by putting things in a way people understand using their business as an example. Really opens their eyes.

    Keep up the good work.

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