Freelancers have been urged to look out for eight red flags when starting their own business and working with new clients.
Insurance experts from Toolbox by Admiral have researched and revealed eight warning signs that might help identify a difficult client in order to save freelancers their precious time, money, and energy.
Freelancing has become an increasingly popular career choice or side hustle for professionals in the UK. Opportunities range across a variety of sectors, but whilst it offers flexibility and independence, it is not without its challenges.
As a freelance consultant in the UK, it’s essential to be vigilant and proactive in identifying client red flags. By recognising warning signs such as unrealistic expectations, missing or dubious contracts, tight deadlines and unreasonable payment terms, you can avoid potential legal issues and protect your business from financial harm.
Turning potential clients away who are willing to pay for your services goes against every instinct, but it’s important to be aware of red flags and follow your gut feeling when engaging with prospective clients.
A spokesperson from Toolbox, who specialises in insurance for self-employed professionals, says: “You often see red flags when you meet with potential new clients. When having those initial conversations, they might ask for certain things or talk about the project in ways you know won’t make it a success.
“Identifying red flags in potential clients as early as possible can save you time and energy and give you the space to pursue the right opportunities.
“So, to help the self-employed and freelancers navigate this potential minefield, we have compiled a list of client red flags to watch out for.”
Incomplete project briefs
One of the most significant red flags is when a client provides vague or incomplete project briefs. Any lack of clarity in the requirements can lead to a variety of issues, such as misunderstandings, overservicing, and disputes. It’s vital to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the project deliverables and expected results, and ensure that the client provides detailed specifications including budgets and deadlines before starting any work.
A very common client management problem is the client whose expectations do not correlate with the agreed scope. It’s essential to manage these client expectations from the start of the relationship to ensure that there is a common understanding of the expected end product. If a client continues to hold higher expectations than are possible within the brief or budget, then it’s likely that working together will only result in disappointment.
Changing the goalposts
This one is difficult to screen for when initially engaging with a prospect, but a few clarifying questions can help ensure that the client at least has a clear vision of what they want. It’s quite hard to achieve a positive result for a client who doesn’t know what they want or whose goals are constantly changing.
Not signing a contract
Any reluctance to sign a contract should raise alarm bells. A contract is a legal agreement that confirms the scope of work, payment terms, project timeline, and any dispute resolution procedures. Without a signed contract, it could be challenging to enforce your rights and protect yourself from potential legal issues.
You should insist on having a written and signed contract in place for every project.
Unreasonable payment terms
Freelancers often struggle with late or non-payment, which can significantly impact cash flow and profitability. Freelancers should pay attention to any clients who propose unreasonable payment terms, such as extended payment periods or low rates that do not align with the industry standard.
Unrealistically tight deadlines
When you meet a potential client about a job, one of the key questions to ask is when they expect you to complete the project. Spend some time on this conversation. Make sure you both understand what you mean by “completed”.
They ask for free work
You might be friendly with your clients, and building a good rapport is great, but remember that it’s still a business relationship. You deserve reasonable compensation for your work. This is especially true if they expect a long-term relationship with you.
At the beginning of the client relationship, make it absolutely clear that you expect payment for your work. And most importantly, don’t work for free. If a client asks for something extra, clarify that you’re happy to help and will put it on their next invoice.
Before accepting a project, conduct research on the client’s reviews. Google reviews and online platforms, such as Trustpilot or freelance marketplaces and social media groups, can provide valuable insights into a client’s track record. Pay attention to any negative feedback or warnings from other freelancers who have worked with the client. This information can help you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with a particular client.
The post Client red flags every freelancer should be aware of… appeared first on Start Your Business Magazine.||
By: Start Your Business
Title: Client red flags every freelancer should be aware of…
Sourced From: www.startyourbusinessmag.com/blog/2023/09/11/client-red-flags-every-freelancer-should-be-aware-of/
Published Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2023 15:48:56 +0000
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