The world of freelance business is littered with hurdles and pitfalls. If you are a freelancer or a potential client, there are some tips and notes below that may help you connect successfully with job partners. A client or artist will seldom display all of the attributes or warning signs described below. However, being aware of the following list items may help you to more easily classify a potential workmate as a good risk or a bad one BEFORE work begins. Similarly, if you embody the positive characteristics listed below, they may help you to engage in successful and fulfilling partnerships.
ATTRIBUTES ASSOCIATED WITH A GOOD CLIENT/ JOB AD:
Client seems polite and professional and reasonable.
Client knows what she/he wants and describes the project clearly.
Client has checked the advertisement for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.
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. Bonus points if it is a longstanding account and not a disposable account like gmail
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 and has successfully completed previous jobs here.
Client seems well established.
ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD FREELANCER/ REPLY TO A JOB AD:
Artist is polite and professional and reasonable.
Artist seems to understand the project.
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. Bonus points if it is a longstanding account and not a disposable account like gmail
Artist has a long-standing DA account and has successfully completed previous jobs on this Site.
Artist seems well established.
Artist meets deadlines and maintains communication.
WARNING SIGNS OF A POTENTIALLY PROBLEMATIC CLIENT:
Client does not clearly describe the project.
Client is unwilling or "unable" to make a down payment before work has started.
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 requests free "try out" or "test" artwork instead of making a decisions based on portfolios.
Client offers 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, childish or irrational.
Client makes demands that don't seem reasonable or necessary.
Client brags about wealth, or talent without providing verifiable evidence.
Client wants the work ASAP.
Client cannot or will not complete payment immediately upon completion of work.
Client will not use Paypal.
Client tries to bully the artist into changing terms of contract or doing additional projects for free.
Client asks for financial information or other excessive personal identifying information
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 demand Paypal downpayment as a "gift" (nonrefundable) instead of as a "payment" which can be disputed later
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, 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, stupidity, 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.