Good qualities in a 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 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.
WARNING SIGNS OF A POTENTIALLY PROBLEMATIC CLIENT:
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.
WARNING SIGNS OF A POTENTIALLY PROBLEMATIC FREELANCER:
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.