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7 Essential Tips for Managing Your Clients

Cliff Ennico on

If you have a service business, you have to develop techniques for keeping your clients happy. Without clients, you're out of business.

However, bending over backward for your clients may not be the best long-term strategy for growing your business. The nicer you are to your clients, the more they are tempted to take advantage of you -- by paying slowly, becoming a time vampire or demanding additional services without charge.

Here are seven essential tips for keeping your clients in line.

Make Sure Your Contracts Are Airtight. Very often, when clients take advantage of you, it's because you allowed them to do that in your contract. Your client contracts should contain as little wiggle room as possible.

Every contract with your clients should contain at least the following:

--When your fees are due and payable (you would be amazed how many otherwise good contracts are silent on this point).

--A detailed description of your services.

--A provision requiring additional fees or a new contract if the client were to request services not detailed in the contract (what we call "project creep").

--The fees you will charge.

--An upfront retainer, part of which should be nonrefundable if the client were to terminate the relationship within a short time (30 to 60 days) after the contract is signed.

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