Successfully managing your client list and client relationships are key elements of your business. One question that often arises for freelancers or operators of their own businesses, such as independent accountants or bookkeepers, concerns the relative advantages or disadvantages of having just a single client or working for multiple clients. Carefully consider the various pros and cons, and determine what best fits your personal preference and your working style.
Pros and Cons of Having a Single Client
The advantages of working for a single client include getting to know that client and its wants and needs very well, which can the likelihood that you’ll continue to produce high-quality work and cement your relationship with the client. This can make it easier to increase your fees over time as the client realizes that it can rely on your work. Working for a single client usually helps in terms of requiring less of your time overall and in making it easier for you to schedule your time as you become familiar with the usual tasks that the client assigns to you.
If you’re doing a sizable amount of work for a single client, the odds are that you may become an indispensable asset for that client, providing yourself with more stability for your income. If the client is a large, high-profile firm, it can make it much easier for you to obtain additional clients if you later decide to expand your client list.
The primary disadvantage of working for a single client is the obvious one: The totality of your income depends on work from that one client. If your client stops sending you assignments, even if it is just a temporary pause, your income will drop to zero.
Pros and Cons of Having Multiple Clients
Serving multiple clients may provide you more income security, but they are also likely to place increased demands on your time. Scheduling work becomes more difficult as your clients increase or decrease the amount of work they give you, and there is a greater likelihood of encountering tasks that take an unexpectedly large amount of time.
Working for multiple clients generally offers more variety in your workday. It carries the corresponding likelihood of making it more difficult to focus the efforts you make for each client.
A potential pitfall when juggling multiple clients is the possibility that two or more of them may suddenly hit you with an unexpected increased workload that they need finished within a short time frame. If you can’t handle it, you may end up losing both clients.
If you work with multiple clients, choose them very carefully. Assemble a client list that suits your both your skills and your work schedule very well.
When you must decline work, be sure to ask potential clients to contact you regarding possible future projects.