Freelance Files: How to deal with a stingy client

Today, i begin a series of articles entitled the freelance files were i seek to tackle some of the problems we encounter as small businesses or freelancers and hopefully find possible solutions.

We have all at some point encountered that client we all wish we had never met and who still gives you nightmares whenever you think about them but as freelancers or small businesses that is part of everyday business. Difficult clients can come in many forms but i am going to discuss one particular client:

The Client who does not want to pay.

This is the most common type of difficult client, as a young freelancer a few years back i used to take on any job that comes my way and i have had my fair share of clients who do not want to pay.

They usually say something like”I am waiting for a client to deposit money in my account, so just do the website and i will pay you when the money comes through”, or many other statements that make you do the job without concrete evidence of receiving payment upon completion of the work.

Ask for a deposit

My solution to that is very simple, the client should pay a deposit before any work is done, to protect you as the freelancer from wasting your time and to make sure the client is also serious on their part. At this stage many difficult clients always want to make excuses but you have to stand your ground, even if it means losing the client . They are however circumstances you can relax on the deposit but those are rare.

Have a written contract

In all you transactions you should always have a written contract this will come in handy when a difficult client decides to be difficult and it also shows professionalism on your part.

Define Goals and Outcomes

You and the client should understand the scope of the project lest for find yourself doing other jobs for free. I once took on a job to design a website but i ended up fixing PC’s and stuff for no extra income and it was all my fault, a client always wants to get more than they paid for. Before you begin the work, you and the client should understand what is it you are going to be doing and if they have other work they want done you can bill them for that.

I hope some of the points i mentioned above can also help you in your business venture . If you have had experiences with difficult clients that are  worth sharing please leave a comment below.


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