6 Client Boundaries You Should Be Enforcing
You hear about boundaries related to dating, raising a family, and in other relationships. You may also know that establishing boundaries in your business is very important as well. Without boundaries, you may do too much for a client and not get paid for it. This might be okay during certain times in your business (fixing a problem you caused or in order to wow a client), but if you find yourself regularly being asked to do more without the proper compensation, your client may be taking advantage of you. This wastes your time, your money, and your energy. Setting boundaries with your clients may help keep this problem at bay. Implement and enforce the following boundaries to keep your time and money safe and frustration away.
- Set and Keep Business Hours
If you don’t have business hours, set them now and stick to them. Post them on your website, in your written policies, in your contracts, and, if you have one, on your storefront. Clients who don’t see business hours could expect you to be available to them whenever they need you. Though you may work around the clock, set a time that you are available for contact and when you will get back with them as soon as possible. Enforce these hours. This will give you back your time and let clients know when you are available to answer questions, comments, or concerns.
- When Payment Is Due
Some clients like to push the deadline to pay by paying on the last day. Others like to wait until after, prompting you to call and email them to remind them to pay (and hopefully collect what is owed!). Set a clear payment date for all your clients. Set a late fee for clients who repeatedly pay late, but be sure to check local laws about the amount you can charge. Remember to add these to your contracts and policies. Place or send out notices when you do. Remembering this will help you with problems clients and can clean up your accounts receivable.
- Emails, Texts, and Telephone Calls
Difficult clients don’t have a sense of time. They need you when they need you, be it the middle of the night or early in the morning. They may call, text, or email outside of office hours and expect an immediate response. Set boundaries with your clients pertaining to telephone calls, emails, and text messages. If you can, set up a dedicated phone and email account for your clients. Get a Google Voice number,if this isn’t possible. Set a policy about callsyou’re your availability. If a client expects you to answer their email at 3:00 A.M., let them know just how much extra they will pay for you to be on call.
- Scope of Work
At times a client may try to tack on extra work for you to do. This is fine when they pay for it; not so much when they don’t. If your client regularly adds extra work to your to-do list, start taking charge. Let them know up front how much extra that will add to their invoice. If they want to add something that reoccurs each week, let them know that it will be an extra amount that they must pay, particularly if the task is time consuming. Make your client aware that extra work means extra pay.Your scope of work should be clearly defined in the contract that you have with your client.
- Provide Copies of Your Written Policies
When your client signs on with your business, provide them with your policies. This can prevent a client from pushing boundaries and trying to take advantage of you and your time. Ensure your policies are up to date, email or mail a copy if the client is remote, and provide your policies on your business’s website.
- Ask Questions
Sometimes the best way to set boundaries is to ask your client questions. For example, ask your client what their expectations are. You’ll learn what they want and the times they want it and you’ll be able to set your client straight with your business hours and other policies your business has.
Whether it’s accounts receivable, customer service, billing, or collections, Clients ARM provides professional, top-notch assistance to business owners like you. If you’ve been struggling in your business, Clients ARM can help you! We have over 30 years of experience helping our clients wow their clients. Contact us today for your free, no obligation consultation!