How to Manage Multiple Clients as a Contractor and Stay Clear of Chaos
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- Advantages of having multiple clients include more earnings, distributed risk, expanded networking opportunities, enhanced skillset, and strengthened negotiation leverage.
- Time management, work-life balance, compliance concerns, and communication issues can arise without the appropriate tools and practices.
- Deel can help contractors overcome many of these client management challenges with an all-in-one solution that supports compliant work contracts, automated invoicing, tax management and record keeping, faster payments, and access to the same benefits and perks as employees, all from a single platform.
Are you struggling to keep up with your workload and satisfy your client's demands? Do you find it challenging to juggle multiple client projects while maintaining high-quality work and avoiding burnout?
Managing client relationships, mitigating compliance risks, ensuring a steady workflow, and getting paid on time can be overwhelming. But worry not, this article is here to offer you expert advice, tools, and techniques to help you manage your workload effectively while maintaining positive relationships with your clients. So, sit back, relax, and let's dive in.
Why work with multiple clients?
Engaging multiple different clients offers several advantages:
- Increased earning potential: It increases your earning potential by providing more opportunities to generate income from multiple clients
- Risk distribution: It helps distribute risk and creates more stability, like diversifying investments in a portfolio, reducing exposure to financial setbacks if a client goes aloof
- Expanded network: Having a varied clientele enables you to build a wide-ranging network and potentially secure future collaborations. Consistently delivering high-quality work to multiple clients enhances your reputation in the professional community
- Enhanced skill set: Diversifying your clients also enhances your skills, making you more adaptable, knowledgeable, and attractive to potential employers or partners
- Empowered working: It strengthens your negotiation leverage, enabling you to confidently negotiate terms, rates, and conditions with multiple income sources, highlighting your demand and granting you the freedom to choose projects aligned with your interests or values rather than purely for financial necessity
What challenges can you expect?
However, managing multiple clients also comes with several challenges:
- Time management: Proper time management is crucial when handling multiple clients, as it involves tracking tasks, deadlines, and meetings for each client, ensuring personal organization to avoid becoming overwhelmed
- Compromised work-life balance: There's a risk of burnout when juggling numerous projects, potentially leading to extended work hours and declining work quality, affecting your professional reputation. Clear communication and managing client expectations are vital to prevent overpromising and underdelivering, as each client naturally considers their project a top priority
- Compliance concerns: Dealing with multiple contracts, particularly with international clients, may raise contractual concerns and constraints, such as varying contractor terms, classification criteria, and labor laws, leading to misunderstandings and legal disputes among clients. Being aware of and prepared for these constraints is essential to balancing commitments and maintaining strong client relationships
With the advantages and challenges considered, it's time to delve into how you can manage multiple clients as a contractor.
1. Use a contract generator for compliant contractor agreements
When dealing with multiple clients, the first step is to outline the work arrangement clearly and protect your interests by signing a contractor agreement. When engaging with clients across countries and jurisdictions, it's important to establish which country's judicial and court system will handle any disputes, ensure the contract aligns with any local laws that apply to you, and set out important details such as:
- Scope of the work
- Time requirements
- Price, payment method, and currency of payment
- Intellectual property
- Use of equipment
- Conflicts of interest
- Liability and indemnity
- Dispute resolution mechanisms
- Governing law and jurisdiction
💡 When you sign a work contract through Deel, you can rest assured knowing that your contract will be airtight and compliant with all relevant international and local laws, so you’re ready to work from day one with clients across the globe. Data and intellectual property protection are also included.
2. Implement project management software from the get-go
Things can get disorganized even with just a few clients on the go. It's a good idea to bring your workload into a project management system to give you a holistic view of all your work activities in a single platform.
Project management tools, such as Jira, Trello, and Hive, can aid in managing and prioritizing tasks and deadlines based on urgency and importance, scheduling techniques to ensure balanced attention to all client needs, and communication channels for collaboration, communication, and feedback.
💡 Want to know what tools work best for contractors? Why not reach out to the Deel online community, your one-stop platform for collaborating, networking, and supporting global workers? You can ask the community questions about compliance and taxes, find resources to boost your career, arrange a meetup with like-minded contractors in your area, or exchange experiences with other remote workers and digital nomads.
3. Set expectations, and don’t be afraid to say no (but don’t be afraid to say yes, either)
When taking on multiple clients, knowing how much work you can handle and when you might be overcommitting is important. Set clear expectations and realistic timelines with your clients and practice declining additional work while nurturing the potential for future engagement. Don't be afraid to propose far-in-the-future deadlines or ask if their timeline is flexible. If they like your work, they'll wait.
In the freelancing world, it's not uncommon for clients to chase your tale one minute and then give you radio silence the next, so don't turn down new client opportunities on the premise that an existing client might "get back to you at any moment."
If a client experiences hold-ups or decides to hit pause on their end, you don't want to be left with large gaps in your workload and pay. Keep the work flowing, and if you have concerns that a client relationship has gone cold, reach out for feedback. It takes seconds to ping out a feedback or pulse survey and will give you valuable insights.
💡 It's not uncommon for the line between home and professional life to become blurred when working as a remote contractor. But is it important to keep your work-life balance in check. Contractors should be entitled to the same benefits and perks as employees to optimize their work and lifestyle.
Contractor perks on Deel include discounts and vouchers to optimize your work and lifestyle. For example, Deel partners with Booking.com, Avis & Budget, Pancake, Todoist, QuickBooks, SafetyWing, Preply, Little Emperors, Binance, BetterHelp, and many more to get you discounts whether you’re equipping your home office, seeking to boost your physical and mental health, or traveling. You can even get exclusive discounts on health insurance wherever you are in the world.
4. Keep everyone in the loop, always
A large portion of your time as a contractor will be spent communicating back and forth with your clients (make sure you bill for it). And just like when a client goes quiet on you, and you're left wondering what might have gone wrong, your client also starts worrying when things will get done when you go quiet. You can easily resolve this uncertainty with consistent and transparent communication.
Here are a few tips to ensure you’re keeping everyone in the loop:
- Schedule weekly roundups: Whether your client asks for it or not, providing them with a weekly roundup on a Friday afternoon on what has been completed, what’s coming up next, and your availability to answer questions will always be a pleasant surprise
- Explore alternative forms of communication: Video recording tools like Loom are a great way to give a client what feels like your undivided attention but at a time that suits you. Rather than jumping on a call every time you want to share project progress or ideas, record a quick video with screen share and send them the link so they can respond on their own terms
- Don’t shy away from instant forms of communication: It’s a common excuse to hear contractors (particularly those in more traditional industries) disregard instant messaging apps in favor of email because they “don’t want their clients on their backs”. The problem is that email is inefficient, it’s easy for things to get buried, and it can leave you and your clients in the dark for longer than necessary
With instant messaging tools like Google Chat, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, it’s easier to engage in discussions, collaborate on multiple projects for the same client, and keep an organized communication trail. This doesn't mean you need to reply instantly. Simply reacting with a check ✅ is a quick and easy way to confirm receipt or acknowledge someone's request while building trust.
💡 Many instant messaging tools can sync with your professional calendar, updating your status to display when you're taking lunch, on annual leave, or don't want to be disturbed. You can also customize these tools to pause and receive notifications during certain hours or days to avoid disturbance during focus periods or after hours.
5. Automate invoicing and payment withdrawals
Getting paid is always a nice prospect, but when juggling multiple clients with varying payment rates, methods, and schedules, asking for and receiving payment can quickly become a job in itself.
Accounting software offers invoice templates and generators to streamline and automate your invoicing process. Numerous payment methods are also available to contractors, offering fast, affordable, and convenient payment from local and international clients.
💡 Deel offers a built-in Invoice Generator, allowing you to create, schedule, and send professional invoices in minutes—no need to create your own invoices from scratch every time. Once generated, you can send it to anyone, even clients you collaborate with outside Deel.
The platform lets you store invoice details for future use, making it easy to streamline the invoicing process for any returning clients.
You and your client can also choose how to process payments via the same platform. That means the two of you can have different payment methods. For example, your client can pay with an international wire transfer, and you can choose how you want to withdraw (bank transfer, PayPal, Payoneer, and even crypto) and in which currency.
Discover the top 11 benefits of getting paid through Deel.
6. Simplify tax management and record-keeping
Ahhhh, every contractor's favorite pastime… taxes.
Hopefully, by now, you've opened a business bank account to clearly differentiate between your work and personal finances when tax season rolls around. But have you also safely stored all your invoices, tax forms, and receipts so that you can accurately report your income, deductions, and credits, avoid missing deadlines, respond to inquiries or audits from tax authorities, and conduct good financial planning for the year ahead? Nope, me neither.
When managing multiple clients, the administrative burden during tax season can be time-consuming and stressful, so using accounting and bookkeeping software that securely collects and stores these records for all your clients in one central location or hiring a tax advisor to do it for you will save you a considerable amount of time and energy.
💡When it’s time to file your taxes, you can easily access your work contracts, tax forms, and invoices in one place on the Deel platform.
Independent contractors in eligible countries can also receive help from qualified tax advisors through Deel's Tax Advice Marketplace. These tax advisors are vetted to ensure they meet their respective countries' legal and certification requirements.
Soon, we'll also be releasing a new Tax Summaries feature. This tool will help summarize your overall income and expenses across all invoices and expenses, making it easier to prepare for tax season. Simply hand these pre-prepared details off to a tax consultant and cross taxes off your to-do list.
Finally, with Deel’s Expense Tracker, you’ll have the functionality to upload receipts, categorize work-related expenses, and assign them to specific clients to keep track of reimbursements. This can save you hours on end-of-year bookkeeping, provide you with better visibility over your spending, and ensure you never miss an expense.
Manage multiple clients with Deel
Many contractors today opt into work arrangements with clients using the HR, compliance, and payments platform Deel to manage the working relationship. They prefer this arrangement as it allows for compliant work contracts, automated invoicing, faster payments, flexible payment methods, fewer fees, advanced payments, and access to the same benefits and perks as employees, all from a single platform.
If you would like to manage your client relationships better, sign up to Deel and unlock the smoothest contractor experience on the planet.