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#1 Quin  Icon User is offline

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Dealing with Clients as a Freelancer

Posted 27 March 2014 - 03:07 AM

Hi guys

I've recently started trading as a freelancer for many IT things, usually web development, and I was wondering if you could help me develop how I am to deal with clients.

Essentially, I don't seem to get people who will just let me "get on with it", they are constantly breathing down my neck as though they don't trust what they are paying me for. Some clients don't give me the information I need, some are impossible to contact, and other change their mind constantly.
And this isn't even getting down to payment!

I'm with the Prince's Trust (a charity in the UK) and I'm hoping to get a mentor when I eventually get round to finishing the docs off, but I'm trading now and facing situations which I don't really know how to handle properly.

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Replies To: Dealing with Clients as a Freelancer

#2 creativecoding  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with Clients as a Freelancer

Posted 28 March 2014 - 12:26 AM

You will find this all throughout your time freelancing. Clients are notoriously difficult and when you find some that are great to work with (know what they want, pay on time, etc etc), you will definitely want to keep them around.

The only advice I can really give you is try to avoid these people from the start. Always before starting out any project, get what's needed down in writing. Usually the email chain from me and my client before I start work is a conversation, then an email from me containing both a piece-by-piece list of what the site needs (including things not mentioned!), timeframe, and quote. Then the client will correct me on anything and the process is repeated until they accept. Those terms are what you do. Basically what I'm saying is make it extremely clear what you're both talking about. If for some reason they misinterpreted something after all of your emailing - that's their fault. Don't do work for free. For larger projects (more than a couple hours work) I recommend an actual written contract.
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#3 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Dealing with Clients as a Freelancer

Posted 01 April 2014 - 01:17 PM

View PostQuin, on 27 March 2014 - 06:07 AM, said:

Essentially, I don't seem to get people who will just let me "get on with it", they are constantly breathing down my neck as though they don't trust what they are paying me for. Some clients don't give me the information I need, some are impossible to contact, and other change their mind constantly.


I usually solve this issue by providing a tiered structured layout to the process.

Phase 1 : Customer & I talk things through. I try to get an understanding, provide feedback, customer provides feedback.
Phase 2 : Paper work. Customer signs agreement of what is to be delivered & when it is expected by. Down payment is provided. No work begins until it is.

Everything from here relies on Phase 2. If the customer screws this up, I immediately point out as such.

Phase 3 : "How does it look?" / Proof of concept, I told you so, whatever you want to call it :)/>/>/> I show the customer either a work in progress, collect more input, or whatever.
Phase 4 : Nothing is finished until the product is paid for.

If the customer decides they want to alter the assignment, we scrap it & start over. That's why I collect half down. If the customer wants to continue to call & harass me, I remind them that I am on a schedule to deliver, & they are actually interfering with this.

Whenever a job has gone sideways, it's because I missed of my own steps. Otherwise, it runs like clockwork. If they are a piece of crap customer, the customer gets pissed & never comes back. Which is great, because I still get paid. If they are an awesome customer, they too come back.

If you do mis a deadline, you need to let the customer know even sooner than possible. Do your best. Don't over book, don't under estimate (time of delivery or charge). Keep it reasonable. You'll eventually weed through the garbage clients :)>
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#4 lap586  Icon User is offline

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Re: Dealing with Clients as a Freelancer

Posted 09 July 2014 - 05:30 AM

Some people don't even start to work without prepared expression of requirements and design layout. I guess it saves a lot of nerves.
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