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Building good freelance client relationships

Tutor speaking with Student, Central Saint Martins.
  • Written byCareers and Employability
  • Published date 14 June 2022
Tutor speaking with Student, Central Saint Martins.
Image courtesy of UAL

Freelancing has a lot of benefits and perks. Being your own boss is quite demanding but you’re doing what you love, at least! When you start out as a freelancer, it might seem like you need to gain new clients every month. It’s much more important to build client relationships. Securing strong, long-term working relationships is key to building a successful business. Moreso, repeated clients help reduce the anxiety that comes with applying for new jobs or looking for more clients each month.

To set you apart from the competition, we came up with a few things to help you build your client relationships:

1. Be Consistent

One of the most important things to have as a freelancer is consistency. Delivering high standard work on time can build positivity and trust between you and your clients. This creates a strong base for a long-term relationship and increases the chance of repeat business.

2. Communication

It’s key to have strong communication if you want to build strong client rapport. This can be different for each client. Try to find out your clients’ preferred method of communication. Some might prefer daily contact whilst others bi-weekly. It can also be good to send consistent updates of what’s completed and what’s next to be done.

3. Set Boundaries 

In this digital time, it’s easy to lose your work/life balance. Setting boundaries straight away will help you manage clients’ expectations. Ensure your contracts are well written and clearly state deliverables and payment terms. Make sure you send out your invoices in a professional timely manner; giving the client enough time to process them. Most importantly, make them aware of your office hours and unless urgent, do not respond to emails outside of them.

4. Hustle but don’t neglect

It’s easy to keep hustling and searching for new clients, neglecting your existing ones. It has been suggested that 65% of work comes from existing clients. So it’s actually crucial to build strong client relationships. Adding a human touch to the work relationship and showing them, you care can maintain or open up new future opportunities. For example, sending a birthday or a congratulatory email. Such thoughtful gestures make huge impressions in our digital age. You can stay on top of your clients’ life events by, for example, adding them into your calendar and putting a reminder for action.

Following these steps can help you build strong relationships with clients who keep coming back to you. It can also bring in new work through word of mouth. It’s important to stay professional but ensure you still provide a human touch and excellent communication.