They come in all shapes and sizes: needy ones, demanding ones, ones that know too much, ones that know too little, ones that don’t pay – most of us have experienced at least some form of these problematic issues when dealing with clients.

We’ve all had them.

This is not one of my personal rants about the challenges with providing great services to clients but rather, what patterns tend to exist in truly successful client and service provider partnerships. (Note that I purposely emphasized the word ‘partnership’.)

Every successful client project that I have ever had the opportunity to work on, shared one very common theme – the client truly valued our relationship and treated us well.


Traditionally, service providers have served simply as ‘out taskers’, managing requirements that no one wanted to take on internally. However, the role has evolved and valuable contractors have become strategic advisors to the organizations they service. When a service provider is viewed more like a partner rather than simply a vendor, the likelihood of delivering successful projects increases substantially. Why is that?

Relationships are Built on Trust

When a client-service provider relationship is built on trust (that was earned), reliability and strong ongoing communication, disconnections between expectations and service delivery rarely happen.

As a contractor you appreciate being treated as a valued extension of the team, and you’re motivated to work towards a common goal. It’s more about the, “we’re in this together” mentality, than sorry that’s not within scope (obviously, within reason). You take pride in ownership of delivery and you also believe in the team you’re working with. When a contractor is not treated well, and there is no value in building a mutually beneficial relationship long-term, I’d suggest that both parties explore options elsewhere.