Freelancers occasionally get stuck with bad clients. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of a freelance career. And for a freelancer, a bad client can mean the difference between rent and eviction. The best protection is to recognize potential bad clients before it’s too late.
Experience has taught me that nightmare clients usually exhibit certain behaviors. Watch for these warning signs whenever you’re approached by a potential client:
1. Unrealistic deadlines. If a client approaches you about a super-rush project, proceed with caution. It takes time and effort to create good-quality work. You’re more likely to make mistakes and cut corners if you’re rushed. Good clients respect the creative process, and set reasonable deadlines. Even rush job requests should provide ample time to do a decent job.
2. A lack of respect for your skill. A client who devalues your skill (be it writing, programming, or designing) won’t treat you with respect. They make insulting comments like, “It’s easy, anyone can do it, " or “It’s easy if you know what you’re doing". These clients also won’t value your services enough to pay a reasonable fee.
3. Unrealistic demands. Clients who pay the least usually expect the most. They’ll try to squeeze $200 worth of services out of you for $50. Make sure you’re firm about which services you will and will not provide.
4. Asks for test samples. This request is common on freelance bidding sites. Test samples are not the same as portfolio samples. Test samples are created specifically for the client. For example, let’s say a client needs 15 health articles. You’ll be asked to write one health article so the client can judge your work.
All the client needs is at least 15 freelancers to write one sample each. And just like that, all 15 articles are completed. It’s an underhanded way of getting a project done for free. A client should be able to judge work based on portfolio samples. However, if you have no portfolio, it’s acceptable for a potential client to request test samples.
5. Refuses to make a deposit. Freelancers should always get a deposit before beginning a project. It can be as small at 5 percent or as much as 50 percent. The more time-consuming and complex the project, the larger the deposit should be.
A deposit shows that the client is invested in the outcome. Before I started requiring deposits, I had more work stolen than I’d care to admit. The scenario was always the same: the client would love the work, accept the work, use the work, and then cease communication when payment was due. I learned the hard way that deposits weed out potential unscrupulous clients.
Well, that’s it for now. Keep these warming signs in mind when you’re dealing with potential clients. If you have additional warnings, please share them with your fellow freelancers.
Are you a good client seeking a writer for your website, newsletter, or ezine? Michelle Strait has more than 3-years of experience as a business writer. Contact her at http://www.michellestrait.com for expert writing assistance.