Should you ever say NO to a client? I think there are many situations when you may need to say no to a client.
For instance looking out for their best interest. A client looks to a designer for their expertise and for advise. Clients can make some very bad choices and it is definitely up to the designer to let them know that they should go in another direction. This is a situation where No may be very good. Certain colors might not go, to many varied fonts are a bad idea, the list could go on and on. In this situation just make sure you can back-up why you are telling them no and most times the client will be grateful and respect your opinions more if you work together again in the future.
Sometimes you need to say No so you don’t get in over your head. I am a designer because I love being able to create, being able to transform a thought into a finished product is awesome. And when I hear “This is exactly what I wanted” or “I love it, this is perfect” it makes it all the more rewarding. What’s this got to do with getting in over your head? If you’re unable to handle the job or project then you won’t hear comments like that and you won’t be able to do your best. If you’re not doing your best then you shouldn’t be doing it. Whether it’s because of a previous commitment, an already heavy work load or if it’s something you can’t do, these are all reasons to say No, but at the same time don’t be afraid to take on something new and learn from it.
Then there is simply saying No to a client. There are times when you don’t want the job at all. Perhaps you have worked with the client before and they were very difficult or they want you to come way down on a quote. Don’t get me wrong working with a client on a quote is fine but don’t let it become unreasonable. I have had potential clients tell me their nephew could design what they wanted for much less than what I was charging. My response, “let your nephew do it then”. It’s not worth it to haggle with a client over the price, it will usually mean there will continue to be haggling throughout the project. Always try to use your best judgement, if the client seems sketchy (no pun intended) then it’s easier to just say no. There will be other clients.
One last word of advise, always make sure to not burn any bridges and be honest with your client. I have turned down work because of a situation I was in and explained to the client that I would like to work with them but at this time it’s just not possible. The client understood and since then I have worked with them on other projects. They were thankful I was honest and it help build that relationship with them.
In closing, it is ok to say No. Just make sure you are being honest with the client and yourself.