Clients come in all shapes and sizes and costumes. As today is Halloween, I thought we should explore the particularly ghoulish kinds of clients – the ones you want to try to avoid, if at all possible.

Occasionally, the first conversation with a client is music to your ears. You know you can help them. You have availability to work with them. You get excited.

Usually, this is a good thing.

But sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes a client has presented themselves a treat, and beneath there is a trick waiting for you. Here are some creepy characters to watch out for:

The blame shifter

This is the client who never takes responsibility for their actions. They are constantly looking at their employees, competitors, the economy, or anything else to blame.

At some point, you and your work may become their target.

The cheapskate

I am all for getting a big bang for your buck. I love a nice return on my investment.

Many of you are bootstrapping your businesses and need to make every dollar count. But, I also know that most of you provide great value to your clients.

If a prospective client is trying to get you to add more and more in for reduced fees or for no additional money, you need to consider whether they will be a good client for you.

Negotiating is a part of doing business, but the thing to ask yourself is whether these requests are reasonable – or indicative of someone who doesn’t understand the value of what you’re providing.

The know-it-all

Why hire an expert if you already know everything? That’s what you’ll be asking yourself when you accidentally get a know-it-all as a client.

Sometimes, you can appeal to their ego and tell them how smart they are and how much you appreciate their input.

Other times, you may have to be the “bad cop” and show them what they don’t know.

Either way, you’ll get a heaping helping of frustration with this one.

The whiner

Most competent professionals have a low tolerance for whining. If you’re a fan of this blog, you’re probably the type of entrepreneur who’s not afraid to learn from your mistakes and put in the hard work.

The whiner is like the blame shifter without a backbone. Nothing is fixable. Nothing is possible. They tried this before and it didn’t work. Nothing ever works out for them.

Oh my goodness, it is so hard to light their darkness!

The slow payer

Carol always says that cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. A slow payer, particularly if they are a big client, can bring havoc to your business.

Your employees and vendors don’t care if you haven’t gotten paid. They expect to be paid anyway.

Often, the bigger the company, the slower they are to pay. Make sure you factor that into your projections.

Avoid these types of clients as you would any Halloween candy sugar binge. Their effect is the same – a big energy crash and a bellyache.