Vetting/qualifying service providers and clients

Over the past five years of running my business, I have learned so much on this subject. 

From time to time, we have chosen service providers that were not good.  From time to time our clients have chosen service providers who were not good, and then come to us.  And, from time to time, we have chosen clients who were not good.  When this happens, it provides more stress than one wants and can cost you money.

So, how do you choose service providers and clients?

Choosing Service Providers:

1. Ask for samples of their work if appropriate.

2. Ask for three references.

3. Look at their website and read up on them.  Is their site professional and credible?  Do they have client testimonials on their site?

4. Check them out on the BBB website – whether or not they are a member of the BBB, they could still have a complaint registered against them with the BBB.

5. If it is a service provider (bookkeeper, accountant, graphic designer, web designer, virtual assistant, business or marketing consultant or coach, legal provider, etc.) see if they are on LinkedIn and if they have any recommendations.

6. Meet with them to allow time for them to get to know you and you to know them. 

7. Ask for a proposal or estimate in writing.  Is it thorough and detailed as to what you get for the investment you are being asked to make?  Get details in writing. 

8. Do they have good follow up and follow through.  If they say they are going to get a proposal to you by a certain date and time, do they deliver before or by the time they stated?

Choosing Your Ideal Client:

1. Do they value your service and respect your experience and abilities?

2. Are they asking you to discount your services?

3. Do they want to invest in the right choices to benefit their company long-term, or are they just looking for the cheapest provider for a short-term solution?

4. Are they on time to their meetings with you?  Keep in mind you should be interviewing them as much as they are you.

5. Are they collaborative and interested in the process?

6. Are they decisive?  Do they want to be educated on their choices?

7. Do they properly qualify you?  This shows their commitment to finding the right service provider and can be a sign of a long-lasting relationship.

8. Do they have good communication and follow through?


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