» 12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

[edit] Disclaimer. These are my opinions.  They are not necessarily the opinions of my former employer(s).  And probably not those of any future employer.  And all for fun, ok? 

This is a great post about the different types of clients a freelancer might see – and in the last 18 months, I’ve seen most of them.

Even more interesting I think is to take each of these twelve client types and apply a large corporation to them – based on customers I directly supported in the past.

Here’s to hoping I don’t piss any of them off too much :).  I will use some companies in more than one category because they just deserve it!

  1. The Low-Tech Client – They are out of business, so I won’t mention their name (and I can’t remember it, exactly).  They were based out of Boston, and they really didn’t understand enough about Wireless Networking to BUY a WLAN card, much less manufacture anything based on WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networking, specifically, WiFi)!
  2. The Uninterested Client – Compaq (prior to the HP merger).  The Compaq team was pretty laid back, allowing us to send them what we had, instead of designing everything from the ground up. Added their logo, and "poof", they were happy.
  3. The Hands-On Client – Dell.  Dell had control over every aspect of development, to include pricing (yes, Dell told us what they would pay us!)
  4. The Paranoid Client – Microsoft.  They were overly concerned that we knew anything about their plans to build a little USB WLAN Network Interface Controller (NIC), even though what we were selling them was a little USB WLAN NIC.
  5. The Appreciative Client – TiVo – by far they were my favorite client.  Please and thanks you’s for everyone.  They were a joy to work with.  I would love to work with TiVo again.  Their kindness caused me to rally a lot more support for them than their business with us might have called for.
  6. The Get-a- Good-Deal Client – Dell again.  If a supplier isn’t losing money on the deal, Dell will keep shopping around.  And Dell is always taking more than one girl to the dance.  You won’t be the sole supplier.
  7. The I’ll-Know-It -When-I-See-It Client – IBM.  "I don’t know – could you just change it a little?"
  8. The Always-Urgent Client – Symbol Technologies.  Everything was a "this could cost our business" issue.  And they sued us.  A couple times, I think.
  9. The Decision-By- Committee Client – HP, Cisco.  Nothing was ever decided in a conference call – even if you had 15 people from the companies on the phone.  Everything took days/weeks/months to determine.
  10. The Doormat Client – Intermec.  Damn, I was embarrassed how poor our support was for them.  We should have told them right up front that they just weren’t spending enough with us to get our attention.
  11. The Budget Client – Dell.  If you aren’t bloody when you leave a meeting with them, then they aren’t interested in buying anything from you.  In fact, even if you meet them in their offices for a lunch meeting, you better have plans to buy them lunch.  Dell doesn’t buy lunches for vendors.  Ever.
  12. The You-Should- Be-So-Lucky Client – Intel.  And Apple.   Arrogant isn’t even close to describing either of these companies.  That neither had ever done anything WLAN prior didn’t matter to them.  They read "papers" and knew more than we did (so they thought).


There are loads of different types of clients out there and chances are at some point you’ll get to meet all of them. So let’s take a look through some typical clients and see if you recognize a few of your own in there!

Source: » 12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them