The Do's and Don'ts of Picking the Right Client for Your Next Software Development Project

As anyone who has tried to build software will know, it's hard work to bring your product to life, whether you're building an app or adding new features to an existing website. But it doesn't have to be hard work to find clients for your software development projects. If you follow these tips on the do's and don'ts of picking the right clients, you can make sure that both you and your client get what you need out of the deal. Here are some things to consider...

DO your research

First, it is important to do your research on the company that you want to work with. It is a good idea to talk with people who have done business with them or find out what they are looking for in a project like yours. Not only will this tell you if they are a good fit but it will also give you an idea of how long their process typically takes.
Second, make sure that you will be able to work together effectively.

DON'T make assumptions

One mistake startups can make is assuming they know what their clients want. There are a lot of ways to do this, but one common way is by looking at their competitors' websites or other marketing materials. It can be tempting to assume that your clients will want the same thing, but you'll only be hurting yourself in the long run.
Startups should also avoid making assumptions about how much work they're going to get from their clients.

DO consider the budget

When you are starting out, it is important to find a client with a budget that aligns well with your skillset. The best way to do this is by asking them how much they have allocated for their project. Just be sure not to lowball yourself.

DON'T forget about communication

One of the most important aspects is communication. When you're working remotely with clients, it can be challenging to make sure everyone knows what's going on. We recommend using a project management system like Basecamp or Trello so that your team can communicate in real time without having to constantly email each other.

DO sign a contract

A contract is your way to make sure that you're on the same page as your client about what will be delivered, when it will be delivered, and how much it will cost. That way there are no surprises. It also protects you from being taken advantage of or from having a client who doesn't want to pay up at the end. You should never start a project without one.

DON'T work with anyone who doesn't value your time

If a client doesn't make you feel like they value your time, don't take them on. It will be worth it to wait until you find someone who really wants to work with you.

DO ask for referrals

It is always a good idea to ask around your network for referrals or other contacts who might be able to point you in the right direction. You will never know if someone knows someone who is looking for what you can offer until you ask.

DON'T be afraid to walk away

It can be difficult to know when a project is not going to work out. The client might be asking for something that you are unable to deliver or maybe your skills simply don't match their needs. Either way, there are some telltale signs that your next software development project isn't going to work out:

  • The client doesn't seem serious about the project.
  • They won't commit to a budget or timeline, so you don’t know when they need it by.