I do freelance web design and development on the side. I have a client recently who appears to be flaky and indecisive. She isn't very willing to commit herself to make decisions.
When I've the mockup designs ready for her, she doesn't want to confirm whether she accepts the design or not. I've told her before that by accepting the design in the mockups, we will not be allowed to make drastic changes to it during development. So I'm not sure if this has frightened her, but I do this to other clients and had no problem. And I did assure her that minor changes such as colours and texts are fine.
However, she has been replying to my emails asking her for confirmation with questions after questions and meetups after meetups, but just not her confirmation. She has said things like she needs to meet her friend A then friend B for their opinions first, etc.
I can't move on to the development stage if she doesn't confirm the design because every time we meet up (which btw actually eats wastes even more of my time) or after she has her questions answered, she wants to add or change something to the design (which even though its just the mockup images, it takes time for me to do it). But I have to prevent her from changing the design after implementation as that will be disastrous.
She has procrastinated on giving me a confirmation for 2 months since I'd given her the initial mockup design. I've a feeling the project is going to take way longer than I'd thought, and much of it is due to her indecisiveness.
The project was quoted on a fixed sum for an amount of work. So I don't get paid for the time allocated to wait for her approvals. She has given me a deposit for the project and so I believe she is sincere about getting the project done. But I can't afford to let her delay the project this way because I have other projects in line and other things in my life. Moreover, she has a tight budget and so what she has paid isn't anything worth more than a 2-month work.
I've been trying all sorts of way to get her to move to the next stage politely, but she has kept evading a confirmation.
I don't know what else I can do. I have thought of a few options:
The first option is, I just let her flake all she wants until she finally makes up her mind while I go on with my life and take on other projects. Since I've her deposit if she decides to drop the project halfway, she loses it. BUT, I know she isn't going to drop the project and she may just decide "okay let's do it now" on any one day which may not be a time I'm available to return to her project! And she isn't going to expect me telling her "Hey I've waited x months for your approval, now I can't go back to your project until y months." Moreover, switching context between projects after a few months is extremely disruptive, at least, to me. I have to spend time re-understanding the code done months ago.
The second option, tell her I need her decision by a definite date and if she can't give a confirmation by that date, I will take it that she has confirmed the design and wants to proceed to move on to the next stage. She is definitely not going to like this. But my biggest concern is that I can expect myself having more trouble collecting my final payment given her flakiness. She might just claim that I made the decision for her without her agreement.
Either way isn't going to turn out very well. I need help dealing with such people.
What's your experience with indecisive clients like the one I've met? How did you deal with them?