As freelancers we tend to work with our customers on many different levels. One of the most common services we offer is one on one coaching or consulting. In fact many times consultants will spend hours with their clients to achieve the business needs and requirements. The biggest challenge with most consultants is when clients might cross boundaries or not follow guidelines when it comes to the business relationships. I remember one of my very first clients would call me on the weekends during dinner hour asking me how to fix his mouse. In fact if you do not set boundaries or expectations earlier on in the relationship it becomes very hard to say no to a client.
As time goes on you tend to perfect on your flaws. I recently created my very own ten commandments for my customers. This document was a big hit with my clients. I was hesitant at first to send it out but my customers actually appreciated me for it. The feedback was fairly positive. The document was less formal and contained a ton of humour. This in turn also provided clients to realize while I may have taken a business casual approach the message was very clear and defined. Remember the best time to implement such policies is the start of any business relationships. It is important for both consultants and customer to explain what they expect from the business relationship. This way there are no surprises.
Do you set guidelines with your customers? Are you having challenges with any of your customers crossing the line? How do you manage your customers that cross the boundaries?