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Submitted on
April 24, 2012


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The world of freelance business is populated with all types of clients and artists. If you are a freelancer or a potential client, you will eventually start to recognize the early signs of good and bad job situations. There are some tips and notes below that may help you recognize these signs sooner and therefore improve your ability to connect successfully with good job partners. A client or artist will seldom display all of the good or bad signs described below. However, watching for the following list items may help you to assess a potential workmate as a good risk or a bad one BEFORE work begins. Similarly, if you strive to embody the positive characteristics listed below, they may help you to attract better clients/artists and engage in more successful and fulfilling partnerships.

Good qualities in a DA CLIENT/ JOB AD:
Client seems polite and professional and reasonable.
Client knows what she/he wants and describes the work clearly.
Client displays good spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Client mentions payment method and/or proposed payment amount(s). Amount seems reasonable.
Client mentions deadlines if any. Deadlines seem reasonable.
Client answers questions openly, honestly, and politely.
Client provides contact information. An email linked to a registered domain name may be a better sign than gmail, hotmail, or yahoo disposable emails
Client provides image samples to demonstrate desired style if applicable.
Client provides links to company website or previous work if applicable.
Client has a long-standing DA account (if the job is advertised on DA) with no hidden activity or messages and has successfully completed previous jobs here.
Client seems well established and has a history of polite professional interaction on this site or other sites.
Client is able to select a freelancer based on the artist's portfolio and written proposal.
Client maintains good communication during the job.

Good qualities in a DA FREELANCER/ REPLY TO A JOB AD:
Artist is polite and professional and reasonable.
Artist seems to have read and understood the project description.
Artist has a gallery of work to indicate current artistic skill level.
Artist provides samples of work that are relevant to the project.
Artist has a web site or online portfolio that seems to be well established.
Artist has checked their reply for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
Artist answers questions openly honestly and politely.
Artist clearly defines a timeline for completion of work including milestones if any.
Artist includes reasonable payment requirements.
Artist includes contact information, preferably a longstanding email account that returns some useful google search results.
Artist has a long-standing DA account and has successfully completed previous jobs on this Site with good feedback.
Artist seems well established.
Artist meets deadlines and maintains communication.

Client does not clearly describe the project in the advertisement.
Client is unwilling or "unable" to make a down payment before work has started. Makes excuses.
Client will not use Paypal.
Client has a history of unpleasant message board posts or has hidden comments
Client has a new account on message board and no evidence of a good reputation elsewhere.
Client has someone else post the job offer for him/her
Client requests free "try out" or "test" artwork instead of making a decisions based on portfolios.
Client promises a lot of future work but wants the current work to be cheap or free.
Client's advertisement contains complaints about previous work relationships or other topics.
Client seems angry, condescending,  insulting, rude, childish, irrational or giddy.
Client makes demands that seem unreasonable or unnecessary.
Client mentions large sums of money or brags about wealth, talent or general greatness without providing proof.
Client wants the work ASAP (sometimes with the excuse that previous artist has bailed) but can't pay immediately.
Client tries to bully the artist into accepting unreasonable terms or changes to previously accepted terms.
Client asks for financial information or excessive personal details
Client sends you to questionable websites or "disguised" or "shortened" URLS.
Client requires you to sign up on another site to be considered for the job
Client sometimes doesn't respond for days or weeks.

Artist makes many spelling or grammar errors or is generally incoherent.
Artist brags or seems angry, childish, rude, aggressive or irrational.
Artist does not seem to have read the job description.
Artist posts the same generic reply on many job threads.
Artist cannot provide relevant work samples or does not have a cohesive portfolio available.
Artist's samples are inconsistent, weak, obviously faked or stolen from different people.
Artist has brand new account or no art in gallery.
Artist has a history of unpleasant message board posts or hidden comments here or in other forums.
Artist demands Paypal payment as a "gift" (nonrefundable) instead of as a "payment" which can be disputed later if the artist does not deliver
Artist makes excuses or stalls for 30 days until downpayment cannot be disputed
Artist's sometimes does not reply for days or weeks.
Artist seems to get upset if client inquires about progress.
Artist does not meet deadlines.
Artist's work does not match what was promised.

It is a good idea to get all of your contract information (art description, payment details, milestones etc) in advance so that if something seems questionable you can resolve the matter or cancel the contract before any art or money has been exchanged. Be polite and professional in all business correspondence. It is a bad idea to provide any portion of the art you are selling before negotiating a price.

Forum memberships that have been active and well used for 2 or more years are often a good sign the the client or artist is established and does not simply jump from account to account, scamming people. New accounts, and accounts with no activity or hidden activity/messages, are a reason to be cautious. A "permanent" email associated with the member's business or website is more trustworthy than a free gmail or hotmail account. If a google search can show a history of professional behavior or successful partnerships associated with the member's email address, that is an encouraging sign.

Screen names that imply a rudeness, selfishness, arrogance, laziness, trolling, stupidity, violence, or hatred may or may not reflect the person's actual nature, but be aware of the possible connection. Similarly, a professional sounding screen name does not ensure a good business partner, but it can sometimes be an early indicator of a good contact.

If a job description mentions "I could do this myself" or "this should take no more than 5 minutes" or "super easy job" or "I want this done cheap" It doesn't necessarily mean the work will be easier. It may mean the client thinks it should be easy or the client doesn't want to pay much. Either way, it should be a warning sign to artists. If an artist says "I can do any style" or I can do that- no problem", but doesn't have the portfolio to back up their claims, then the artist may not have an objective gauge of their own abilities or there may be an ego problem or simple dishonesty.

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Flagged as Spam
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
(reported jackytomy for SPAMMING unrelated links on dozens of journals and threads)
Flagged as Spam
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I noticed that you posted the same link in dozens of journals and galleries with generic feedback comments. Reported as a spammer.
Shizuru1412 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
Artist demands Paypal payment as a "gift" (nonrefundable) instead of as a "payment" which can be disputed later if the artist does not deliver

Unfortunately it's happening a hell lots on deviantart, and well, some of them ever list 'please pay for the fee' on their portofolio.

Makes it seems unprofessional, but I tend to notify the client how much total price they need to pay at first, though.

Anyway, do people tend to do half-front or full front?
I wonder which one is the mot popular...

"Artist posts the same generic reply on many job threads."

Gh, I know a lot of people is copy pasting on the job thing... it's not like some of them are reading it or something... >.>
LeighAD Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013
A registered domain name isn't that hard or expensive to get, scam artists make their own websites all the time and it may very well look legit. It is certainly more of a hassle than making something disposable at gmail, yahoo, or hotmail; but I wouldn't let a registered domain inspire too much trust on it's own.

I realize none of these tips are meant to stand on their own, but people tend to place more value on that sort of thing when determining credibility since many are not aware just how easy it is to create. It is probably a good sign as FriendlyHand says, just make sure you don't pay less attention to the rest of these tips because you've over-estimated the real world value of this one tip when it comes to prove someone's legitimacy.
Radiant-Grey Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is there a forum somewhere that catalogs a 'blacklist' of uncooperative clients and/or artists? Thanks!
dieliala Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Artist-beware of livejournal is the closet i've seen to one.
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I haven't found any that have a good, reliable,  well organized list. It would be very challenging to gather reliable objective feedback on clients and artists and weed out trolling, lies and exaggeration.
Radiant-Grey Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ha, an Angie's List of the art world would be awesome :) oh well~
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