How to Differentiate Between Serious Clients and ‘Time Killers’

These two type of clients have a role they play in the internet business space. If you are a part-time or full time Freelancer, you have met one of them or if not, you are yet to meet them when looking for gigs.

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So, who is a serious client and who is a time killer? It’s really harder to differentiate the two because both of them will definitely hire and pay you. Most seasoned Freelancers with experience and those who have built a reputation online are the ones who can differentiate the two type of clients.

Having worked online for now close to 10 years, here is my definition of ‘serious client’ and ‘time killers’;

Serious Client

Has defined goals from the time they contact a freelancer. They have outlined instructions on how their project should be completed. They also have a set standard of quality to be met by the Freelancer. At the beginning, their demands may be intimidating and the freelancer will be tempted to walk away but at the end, if you get a chance to work with them, the experience will be worth it.

Time Killers

They have a rough idea of what they want and need guidance from an expert in the field they are hiring on. They only have one problem, they are not open enough to be guided. Also, they are not ready hire yet. If you are a serious Freelancer, you will find yourself doing a lot of things beforehand hoping to make the client commit.

Here are 8 things that differentiates the two.

Serious Client Time Killer
Have clearly written down their requirements before contacting a freelancer for work. They just have a rough idea of what they want and expects a freelancer to guide them towards ‘what they really want.’
They are sure that what they want will work for them thus they commit/hire faster.They are 50/50 and thus they fear to commit. They rely on conviction from the freelancer.
To show their level of seriousness, they hire a number of Freelancers and pay for a ‘test’ project. They ask for Free tests.
They address freelancers by their names. They just write ‘hi’ at the beginning of the mails despite knowing the Freelancers name.
They set timelines and require a Freelancer to commit to it before they hire them. They don’t have any timelines. In most occasions, Freelancers are the ones setting the timelines in order to push them to pay.
They provide detailed easy to follow feedback once the project is completed. They give shallow feedback which is more generalized. The Freelancer hired is forced to ask them for more clarification.
They are Flexible on Budget. e.g If there is an additional cost, they are ready to meet. They are are always negotiating. They never accept additional cost if it arises later.
Once they get what they were looking for, they are happy. They are never happy with the work you deliver to them. They are picky.
Table comparison between serious clients vs Time killer clients

These are common differences. There are many more. Who would you like to work with between the two?

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Until next time. Bye bye and take care.

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Cheptiony Mutai

Cheptiony Mutai is the founder and author of this blog. By profession, he is video producer and an online entrepreneur working and living in Kenya.

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