More than likely as your business grows you will run into a client who claims that their last contractor ripped them off or didn’t finish the job. Something along those lines where they squarely put the blame on their last contractor. This is a huge red flag to me in business based on experience. While they may claim that their last contractor was terrible, they themselves turn out to be bad clients.
What they don’t tell you about their last contractor is whether they (the client) paid what they were supposed to pay, whether or not they were clear with their instructions or whether or not their check bounced and they took their sweet time making it right. These are major things that would slow or stop any contractor in their work but you are never told that side of the story. All they want you to know is that the last person sucked and you can be their savior.
While your natural inclination is to proclaim how wonderful you are at what you do and how you won’t be like the last person, you should be wary of this individual and consider the fact that you may not be getting the full story. What I normally do in this situation is to make sure that I am crystal clear on what it is I’m offering and what it is they need to pay me. I also make sure that the deposit is cleared prior to starting any work and that I have a firm hold on the material. I do this so that in the case of a flaky client I am able to back out and in an extreme case, pull back any work that had be done.
Of course this is not what you look to be doing when you set out to freelance but this is reality and people rip off the little guy just because they can. If this were a perfect world we could talk to the former, so-called terrible contractor and get their side of the story along with seeing their work. For what it’s worth there are many terrible contractors out there but you never know whether or not you’re dealing with a chronically bad client.
There are a lot of people who believe in their hearts that they are great at business but aim to rip you off regardless of how cheap your price. This is especially true in any creative field, people do not respect your eye enough to warrant paying you what you ask. Trust me. If you look at any of my articles in this series you will notice this familiar theme as I have had years of experience in it. Do not let people rip you off, identify your red flags and act upon it accordingly.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.