Client or Customer?

So what is the proper answer?
When I opened this topic there was:
“Your topic is similar to…”

Which makes me think that customer is the correct term for someone paying your for cleaning services, even if they have a continuing business relationship. I’m sure others will disagree.
What are your thoughts?

I view a customer as mrs Jones who gets you to do her windows twice a year and hungry jacks would be your “client” who you would have a more professional relationship with, they both mean the same thing but client is more refined and professional

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This question has been discussed before, but I can’t find that thread.

One answer that I liked best, is that professional services, such as lawyers, accountants, real estate agents, etc., have “clients”, whereas service and retail businesses have “customers”.

I have no problem calling my customers, customers. Calling them clients would feel to me like I’m pretending to be something that I’m not.


The terms are often interchangeable. A one time service would be a customer? A repeat “customer” would be a client?

Client-based businesses promote themselves as people who want to convince prospective clients to hire them, and to eventually refer others to them.

Customers are generally people who come to you mainly to buy products or services you supply. Clients buy your advice and solutions personalized to their particular needs.

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I thought it had but couldn’t find it either.

This was my thoughts exactly, I thought it sounded a little pretentious to call them clients.

But saying that that means the supermarket I go to every single day, I should consider myself as their client… I’m sure they would not.

Honestly I don’t know about that I was contacted a few weeks ago to clean a few hungry jacks’ and it wasn’t by hungry jacks it was a 3rd party who was in Brisbane, and they didn’t want a quote they told me the price that was on the job, so I politely declined. If I were to get the job, hungry jacks would not directly be the customer or the client. lol

I agree with you Gary; Mostly. Except that just because a customer is repeat doesn’t necessarily make him or her a client. Is a person who shops at Walmart weekly a " Client " ? That would sound a little weird. A person needing a Lawyer just one time would still be called a Client not a Customer.

I call mine Customers unless I am around a bunch of Lawyers and Doctors and then I find myself using Client. Which has to do with me feeling inferior and insecure which is a different topic all together LOL !! A fun topic to kick around though…

Footnote : A person who shops at Walmart weekly is a glutton for punishment, no matter what you call them !! :rofl:


A super market doesn’t receive clients from their daily/weekly/monthly/occasional customers, but a service oriented business does service their clients.



1.a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron.
2.Informal. a person one has to deal with:


[klahy-uh nt]

1.a person or group that uses the professional advice or services of a lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, architect, etc.
2.a person who is receiving the benefits, services, etc., of a social welfare agency, a government bureau, etc.
3.a customer.
4 anyone under the patronage of another; a dependent.

8.being a regular customer:

I do not refer to my “regulars” as customers. Doing a one time job for someone (like someone selling their home) I would refer to as a customer. I am a professional and offer professional services.

I’m sure most of you see this as semantics, but when you use the word “client” in your advertising and in person, it has a psychological effect. Think psychology of sales.
I also refer to my clients on a first name basis. I never refer to them as “Mrs. Jones or Mr. Jones” . I am an equal, not an underling. Referring to them on a first name basis has that same psychological effect.

That’s my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.


We use both terms interchangeably. I don’t care what term we call them, since we treat everyone who hires us the same.

Found it:

Just because you are a professional doesn’t mean you offer professional services.

It is what it is, janitorial, call it what you want to make it feel more professional or important.

Don’t really care what you call your “customers” or how you address them. I’ve spent time learning about psychology of sales, so you do whatever you want.

I’m not changing my mind and you probably are not either.
What the point of opening a discussion if you are just going to shoot down anything someone says, that does not jive with your preconceived notions?

For the record the use of the wore “client” was not intentional. It wasn’t something that was considered when typing the comment. It was just a word that was used interchangeably with any other words anyone wants to use without giving it a second be thought.

If I was to specifically choose a word to use it would be “Customer”.

The thread quoted had nothing to do with what you call your customer but someone had an issue with my use of the term. Go figure that some one would nitpick a post on an online forum. Because that never happens right?

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Yeah, the turn that thread took wasn’t really a helpful/healthy one. I just remembered that this topic had been discussed before, even if it was a derailment of a different topic. I’ll remove my link to it if you would prefer it not be brought back up.

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Words matter.

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This should be simple to understand with no argument.

Customer vs Client:
Strictly defined, a customer is someone who buys goods or services from a store or business. The word “client” can also mean “customer,” according to most dictionaries, but it has a separate definition as someone who receives professional services.

Professional Services:
Accounting, legal, medical and other such services provided by a formally certified member of a professional body.

It’s ok. I just wanted to clarify my use of the term client before another beat down started on this thread. :joy:

There are times when I absolutely would give it more thought about what words I use like on a marketing piece but here where we should be among friends and helping each other I don’t pay much attention unless thaysbthe point of the thread like this one.

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I agree that it would probably annoy me if someone always used the term client intentionally in our industry but I probably wouldn’t address it with them. If I did address it I would want to make sure I let them know I was just trying to be helpful and not critical and I wouldn’t make an issue out of it. After all its their business and they should have the freedom to operate it with their own personality and style. Who am I to tell them otherwise.

For the sake of discussion I personally would officially reserve the term client for professional service and use the term customer in our industry. When I used the term client in that previous thread it wasn’t intentional. I don’t even know why I used the term client. I don’t generally use it. I think maybe I was thinking about the customer, which is a commercial job and they are a professional service who has clients, so I probably subconsciously used that word.


All true and certainly reasonable. I post just for clarification of word definition. My personality is that I have always been a sort of a word-nerd, so I couldn’t keep my fingers off the keyboard. HAHAH :slight_smile: Not critical in a bad way; rather critiquing terminology.

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