5 steps to take when you have a PITA client

How to deal with a PITA client

5 steps to take when you have a PITA client

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission at no expense to you. Affiliate links are marked with the asterisks (*)

I often call a problem client a PITA client. How do you deal with a client like this? Here are my five steps to manage it.

A PITA client is also known as a pain-in-the-ass client. Get why I say PITA?

This is one of those clients who tends to expect the world without paying for it. They may think they’re your boss just because they hire your services, or they may love to micromanage. It’s not easy to handle them when you’re freelancing, especially when you’re just starting out.

I don’t always drop a client who is a PITA. Sometimes, I’ll deal with it. There are always steps that I take.

Decide if you want to keep the PITA client

The first thing you need to do is know if you want to keep the client or not. If you don’t, then dealing with the situation is pretty simple. Fire the client. It really is that easy.

Of course, if you need the money so can’t drop the client just yet, you’ll need to take other steps. This means finding a new client to replace that one. However, if this isn’t someone you need to work with for your income, just cut your losses. You’ll have more time to find a better client.

Set clear boundaries with the client

When you decide that you do want to keep the client, you’ll need to find way to manage their attitude. Creating clear boundaries is the best thing. And you’ll need to have consequences for crossing the boundaries. Let me tell you now that a PITA client is going to cross those boundaries. With a PITA client, you’re usually dealing with a narcissist.

So, make sure you have a clear timetable of when you’ll work on things. Make it clear when you will respond and how long it can take you to reply. While your client may want you at their beck and call, you don’t have to be. Just make sure you respond within 24 hours—unless it is an emergency you’ve created and then you’ll need to handle it right away. That’s different.

What are your consequences? If a client is constantly messaging me, I make it clear that I won’t respond. They will be put on mute until I am ready to respond, and I will only respond to their original enquiry or concern. Anything else is ignored, unless there is name-calling, and then I deal with that to make it clear that I will not work with someone like that.

If your consequence is that you won’t work with them again*, you need to stick to that. Once you allow them to cross boundaries without the consequences set, they will keep going.

Follow through with your boundaries

As mentioned, you need to follow through with the boundaries. This can be the hardest part, but it will eventually make it clear to the client that you are not playing their game. There is a risk of them walking because they’re not getting what they want, but you owe it to yourself to create and follow boundaries. Your client can end up being abusive, and you don’t deserve that at all.

So, if you set a boundary of only replying to emails during certain hours, follow that. Turn off the notifications to any work emails after your set time. That way you don’t even see the messages come through.

I had a client who messaged on Facebook Messenger. She would watch out for people reading the messages and get annoyed if those messages weren’t responded to. She’d also message in a way that looked like it was statements and get annoyed if you didn’t read the messages—I always pull down notifications to see if something needs and immediate reply or not so my “read” notification isn’t turned on, and I know a lot of people like that. You don’t need to respond outside of your business hours no matter how much the client thinks you should.

MORE: Why you shouldn’t feel bad for choosing a job over freelancing

Charge a higher rate for a PITA client

My favorite way of dealing with a situation is to raise the costs. If they want my constant attention, they need to pay for that. If they want to talk to me like I’m their employee and not a freelancer, then they need to pay for it.

If they don’t want to pay for it, then that’s on them.

This is something to do if you don’t mind losing the client. They may not want to pay more because “someone else is charging less than you.” Well, you need to let them walk. If you can’t let them walk and you lower your rate back down, then it’s not going to work.

You also need an amount that you’re happy with when it comes to their attitudes. Sometimes, they get a lot, and no amount of money in the world is worth it.

Stop bending over backwards to work with the client

Do you find that you’re putting all your effort into this PITA client*? Is the rest of your work suffering because of it? This is a sign that you’re bending over backwards for someone who doesn’t even respect you. It’s time to stop.

They are not your boss. Even a boss shouldn’t treat you that way, but this is not employment on the line. This is one client who needs to bother someone else. Or they need a taste of their own medicine. Don’t stoop to that level, though.

Instead, just take a step back from what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how much you do for them, they will still find a fault in what you do. They will still talk to you like they own you. They don’t, and you don’t need to put up with that. If they want to walk because they’ve being treated like your other (nicer) clients and not given special treatment for their abusive nature, then that’s on them.

You will find a better client out there.

MORE: Why should you create samples for your clients?

What do you do to deal with a PITA client? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alexandria Ingham is a professional writer. She predominately ghost-writes in various niches, including fitness, finance and technology Everything is fully researched and well-written. Under her own name, she writes in the technology, business, history and weight loss niches

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top