How to Spot Nightmare Clients

Clients, Freelance, Solopreneur -

How to Spot Nightmare Clients

Difficult clients are a fact of freelance life. Luckily forewarned is forearmed: here are four hazards to watch out for and how to avoid them.


Unfortunately, this happens more often than you’d like it too! It isn’t enough to agree that you’ll get paid at the end of a project. To protect yourself completely, ask for a deposit up front – ideally 50% of the overall fee for the project – then write up a contract that sets out a schedule for the remaining payment which also defines the scope / length of the job.

Don’t be blinded by the prospect of an exciting new project. If you keep your schedule clear for work that hasn’t actually been confirmed by the client with a written contract, you could end up out of work and hugely out of pocket if the project falls through. Always make sure you have a signed contract before getting carried away.

It’s so easy to conduct all your business by phone or email, but that makes it harder to suss out new clients. Set up a face-to-face meeting before you start the work and you’ll get a better feel for their expectations, you can agree on a scope of works and read any early warning signs!

You know them – they’re the ones who call at all hours to make endless revisions. Make sure your contract (signed before starting work) states how many revisions you’re prepared to make before you’ll start charging for extras. 3 is usually a good start. Don’t be afraid to explain your working hours if you feel a client is taking advantage!


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