Building Long-Term Client Relationships – Part 1: Why

Perhaps I should title this series “How I Build Long-Term Client Relationships.” Many of my methods will not be appropriate to everyone. If you are interested in writing for magazines only, you won’t be interested in my advice on expanding your services. However, I hope you will find some helpful tips that you can adapt to your own situation.

I have two types of long-term clients – continual and intermittent. I do work for continual clients every month, sometimes every day, and bill them at the end of the month for all the hours I’ve worked that month. I do work for intermittent clients only every few months or even a couple of times a year, but whenever they need any of the services I offer, they come to me. I bill them at the end of each project.

Why should a freelancer want to establish long-term client relationships?

  • It’s much less expensive and time-consuming to sell more to an existing client than to acquire a new one.
  • Having a base of regular clients can ensure that you will always maintain a steady income without experiencing¬†the famines that are so common in the freelancing life.
  • Having that steady income can ameliorate uncertainty and worries about money that can lead to stress.
  • Referrals from satisfied long-term clients can lead to additional business.
  • Clients you work will regularly and closely can become friends.

Is there a downside to long-term client relationships?

  • Having a significant portion of your income coming from one or a few clients can be risky; if you lose that account, you’ll be in a famine until you find other clients to replace the income.
  • If you don’t screen clients properly, you could be stuck working closely with someone you don’t like or who makes you uncomfortable.
  • You risk¬†experiencing the feast of freelancing if several of your clients have large projects at the same time.

Do you have other reasons for pursuing or avoiding long-term client relationships?

Next, we’ll talk about starting off the right foot.

Other thoughts on building long-term client relationships:

Building Client Relationships at Entrepreneur.com

How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Customers – a Guide to Customer Relationships for Freelancers and Self-Employed at All Freelance Directory

Long Term Client Relationships at Small Business Bible

The Six Laws Of Authentic Client Relationships at Robert S. Warren

[tags]client relationships, freelancing[/tags]

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