Question:

My clients send me internet sites to look at all the time. What do I do with my existing clients who have been feeding me internet sites for months now?  I have been cooperating and looking at all this stuff but it adds hours to my day.

I even have a client who shops the price on each piece that I select and tells me where she wants me to buy it from.

Is this a boundary issue? This is making me crazy!

Answer:

It certainly is a boundary issue. You need to stand up for yourself and set some rules. Letting clients run you and your business will result in less respect and less money in your pocket. And, more importantly, these clients are not going to give you more business and pay you better on the next job. The situation will continue to turn sour. It is almost as if they can sense your unending desire to please.

You have to put your foot down and say NO! Just explain nicely that you will have to bill them extra for this service. If you have been billing hourly, explain that you haven’t billed for this in the past, but you must do so now because it is consuming a large amount of time.

To the second part of this question: the client who is price checking and dictating who you should buy from is way out of line. What is worse is that you are allowing it to happen. Allowing your client do this is certainly a lack of boundaries issue.

Purely from a business angle, you should be VERY careful about purchasing from any vendor that you do not have a relationship with. Your product and financial liability in this situation far outweighs the minimal purchasing fee you are charging if you choose to buy product from an untrusted source.

If your client thinks she has found a fabulous deal, tell her to purchase it herself. Then when the shipping and quality issues start cropping up, it is her responsibility. She can then pay you hourly to fix the problem that she started. Just step back and allow her to experience the consequences, and she will start to appreciate your skills and judgment more and more.

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