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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.

Add a Comment:
airana Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015   Digital Artist
Thank you for the information!

To be honest, I wish I had read this sooner. It happens to me once with a client (from deviantart also)
He/she demand three illustrations and it need to be done in less than two days, and he/she promised to pay it after I done with the illustrations. But later, after I done with the drawings, he said that his parent's doesn't allowed him to pay because of some reason like his credit card and paypal belongs to his parents, and doesn't allow him to pay me or something like that. >_>

I don't know how to response to that, I'm sad of course. I don't know whether what he says is true or not, but I guess I have got my lessons to how to dealing with the clients in the future.
ps. sorry for my poor english
Monstrocker Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for this :love: 
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Serinji Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Now, my question is: How does a freelancer rebuild her reputation?:iconotlplz:
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
That's simple! She just conducts business and communication in a friendly, honest and professional manner.  The longer she does that, and the more positive transactions she accrues, the better her reputation will become.

If someone has a bad reputation, it may take a while for that to fade. The amount of time may vary depending on how many instances of bad behavior there were, how much attention they received and how easy it is to find references to the problem online.
dierat Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great advice! But I must say I find it interesting that you say free e-mail accounts such as gmail are less trustworthy - I only use a gmail account and would not find it odd for someone else to do so as well. (Not trying to debate or argue, just commenting.) Btw your name/avatar combo is awesome :D
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist

Yes, I didn't say that every free email account is a bad sign. If someone has had the same free email account for a long time, that is encouraging, but I would say that when you run across someone who jumps from profile to profile to hide from they people they have scammed or mistreated, they are more likely to be using free email accounts to do it. People with permanent emails tend to live with whatever reputation they have built for themselves, it is sometimes easier to do a little research on their web activity.

Thanks for the nice compliment!!
dierat Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, I see what you're saying. Thank you for clarifying! :)
roma75 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Hi FriendlyHand,
I have had a serious problem with a writer.He made changes in his script just while I was drawing the pages for his graphic novel!It could looks foolish but I've signed a contract with this "client".He did make  me several changes at the pages and at the end he wanted a important change of colors at the first page but he have had this page two months before and he haven't said nothing me until this absurd claim.During the work I become aware that he did make me changes to the pages with no rational justification,so wasting my precious time!I tried  to explain him in several e-mail my reasons but he played to don't understand me and said that I have wrong.I rebelled myself to this person and he,like a punishment,have not paid me.I apology with all the DA artists but I am afraid to report the name of this incompetent and disonest client because I wouldn't that he made another type of complaint.I have written you for a suggest.RobertaWaaaah! Rage 
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hi roma75,

It is not unusual for a client to want changes.  Be sure to always make your art files in a way that it will be easy to edit them later if necessary.
Your contract should describe what types of revisions you are willing to do and whether or not you will charge more money for them.
Always get a down payment before starting any work. A client that invests some money is more likely to pay for the finished work.
Don't deliver the final art until you receive most, or all of the payment.

Unfortunately, I don't know you or the writer, I don't know what your contract says, I don't know how much of the art you have delivered, I don't know if you have received a down payment or any payment at all... so it is difficult to give you advice.

If you have already delivered all of the work, then I don't know how you can convince the client to pay you. You can either ask for some pay before making the changes or you can make the changes and hope to get paid afterward or you can tell the client that you won't make any changes.  I guess you could threaten to tell everyone about the client, but that is not very likely to work.

If you haven't delivered all of the art then you still have some leverage and you can try to negotiate to get some of the payment before proceeding. Otherwise you may just have to do some extra work, hope to get paid, and learn from this experience/ plan better next time.

Good luck and I hope you and the writer can work this out.
roma75 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Hi FriendlyHand,
the contract determined a work for hire.It included I've  to transfered all rights,in addition I was
not entitled to  request any further payment extra to these low-budget project(eight pages).So it is
the worst type of contract that could exist in the world.I've sent to this person only low
resolution images. I've made changes like he recommended in his mail.I thought on reciprocal
respect,in a serious behaviour and that we worked for a same goal,but I've only,simply falled in a
big mistake,I was scammed by this person.First to start the work I would have to research some
reference about this client,but I didn't and I have been too much ingenuous.I liked that project.It
will be a lesson for me.I've interrupted every contact with this incompetent one. I can't write the
name of this cheater,sorry I'm afraid for that.I only wanted to report a  testimony,hoping that
nobody had a bad experiece like this.During the work I became aware of something strange in the
behaviour of this writer,some examples for your aknowledge:
-In the script there aren't important information for describe a scene in the panel,like about
positions of the characters,if there are night or day time...
-He obligated me to make important changes at the panels by notes in e-mail,(not included in the
script)several times,without respect to my work and overall my time.And after made these changes,he
replied me that some of those changes are not important!
-some historical mistakes(where has studied this person?In his journal He say he is graduated and
has a MFA in Film Production...poor us!Waaaah! )
I wished I'd not accepted that contract!
Thank you very much for your precious advices and for have reply me!RobertaHeart 
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... >.>
Blueoriontiger Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
So have I. I've lost money once to someone that wanted me to "gift" them money as the commissions as "the fee was too much for them." Most of my commissions the fee is only about a dollar or so. But offering as a gift gives you no buyer protection if the artist decides to be screwy and people don't seem to realize that, sadly. >.>;;
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~
StrivingExpression Featured By Owner May 1, 2013
'Artist's samples are inconsistent, weak'

So when is a sample considered 'weak'?
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Off the top of my head I would say that a good sample usually has some of the following traits:

1)instant visual appeal.
2)good composition.
3)all elements in the sample seem to be illustrated in a consistent style appropriate for the subject matter.
4)color, light and shading have been handled in an appealing manner.
5)anatomy and perspective are believable or handled in a manner that is appropriate for the subject matter.
6)demonstrates an above-average level of artistic skill
7)the sample image shows the artwork clearly and accurately.

A weak sample has few or none of those characteristics.
Blaue-Rose Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Great tips, thanks a lot~!!! :)
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You're very welcome! watch out for baddies!
Blaue-Rose Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Lol, thanks, I will~!!! :D
JTofSD Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013
This is very good advice. Thank you.
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for visiting and commenting =)
space-commander Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like your journal entries. But why don't you have any art posted?
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks :)
Surprisingly, people don't ask that very often. But a couple of people have asked so [link]

thisismyboat Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I'd just like to add to the "problem freelancer" list, more specifically to DA commissioning: An artist who has lots comments hidden on their page, or even one hidden on journals regarding commissions and pricing. Though I don't commission, whenever I see an artist with comments hidden all over their page the hair stands on the back of my neck.
nelchee Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hm I never thought this wold look suspicious, I hide comments from my profile page all the time..
FriendlyHand Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I agree! I'll add that.
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