With the internet getting better with every year that passes, and more and more people giving up the rat race to work from the comforts of their own homes, it is little wonder that clients will now routinely visit freelancers in a home setting.
While taking this route is not always an easy option, there is something to be said for conducting a client visit in your home environment. You are automatically relaxed and have everything to hand, and the appointment can be scheduled to suit you. However, it is imperative that any client visit you schedule remains professional if you are to stay a valued candidate and impress further clients with your work.
First Impressions Count
Though you may not believe in judging a book by its cover, when it comes to client visits you can be guaranteed that first impressions very much go towards how the client views you. You do not have to live in the most expensive of areas or a neatly arranged row of homes, but that does not mean to say that you cannot make an effort with your own property.
Take some time to look at your home from an outsider’s view. Maintain the front of your house, keeping it tidy and clutter free, and ensure that your garden or drive is tidy. This part of your home should look inviting but above all neat, thereby suggesting what the inside will be like once the client has stepped through the front door.
If you find yourself without time to attend to such duties, look at hiring some occasional help for the job, perhaps even getting someone to come out a day or two before your scheduled visits.
Pave the Way to Success
Once your client is through a neatly maintained front of house, don’t let them down once inside, and make sure they have a straightforward and clear run towards your office. Nobody wants to be dodging toys or washing baskets as they makes their way through your home, so offer them one straight through path.
Not many clients will relish the thought of walking upstairs to an office either, with this area of the home usually the most personal of spaces. Think about this before you start working from home.
With more and more cars on the road, the availability of being able to park in front of the home these days is becoming scarce. It is considerate to let your client know beforehand where they can safely park when they visit you. There is nothing that will annoy a client more if they are late to the meeting due to struggling to find a car parking space!
If you have a drive, consider making room for your client to be able to park on this as they attend the meeting, even if it means moving your own car for that time. Alternatively, if you live on a street with no parking available, find a place beforehand to suggest to the client, which you know will be accessible and convenient.
If you are planning on having clients visit your home regularly, you may want to make the parking situation a priority immediately, making sure not to run the risk of annoying your neighbors as you do so.
Separate the Personal from The Private
It is highly advisable to at least have an office where you can meet with clients and conduct business, without having to resort to the kitchen or family room. It does not have to be the most extravagant of places, but it says so much more about your professionalism if you can show your clients that you do indeed mean business.
Additionally, not many clients will feel comfortable if they must sit on a couch packed with family paraphernalia, children’s toys and animals running around their feet. It does not show you in a good light, and they may just decide you are not as committed to your venture as they initially assumed.
Having a small office which houses your desk, computer and other electronic appliances alongside neatly stacked files is the best way to work from the home as it encourages you to feel like what you are doing is important and, more so, shows others that you mean business!
Maintain a Serene Atmosphere
Finally, ensure when clients visit, other household members are respectful of the fact and keep their distance. No client wants to hear loud music, TV’s blaring or children running amok. Neither do they want to listen to dogs barking in the yard as they conduct their meeting with you.
Plan the times for when you know your home will be at its quietest or speak to family members beforehand to get them all on board. Also, make sure they know not to disturb you or interrupt you at any time during your meeting perhaps by making use of a Do Not Disturb sign when you require them to stay away.