How to Spot a Great Freelance Client

successEvery freelance writer has heard the horror stories about bad clients, and most have had at least one run-in. You know you should try to avoid working with those problem clients—but how can you ensure that more of the good ones wind up in your roster?

What makes a good freelance client? The ability to recognize them can help you build a successful freelance writing business that benefits both you and the companies you write for. Working with great clients means less stress and a more flexible, creative working environment, which translates into higher quality output.

Here are some of the common characteristics many good freelance clients share.

A good track record

One way to spot a great client is to find out how they treat other freelance writers they’ve worked with. If other writers have had poor experiences with the client, it’s doubtful that you’ll be treated much better. In cases where the client hasn’t worked with freelance writers before, find out how they treat their customers—this can be a good indication of what you can expect from the relationship.

Clear communication

This is one of the most important traits for any freelance-client relationship. Good freelance clients will successfully communicate what they want and need from an assignment, since they’ll realize that you can’t deliver something that wasn’t requested. They’ll also be available to answer questions, ensuring that projects are completed the right way, the first time.

Realistic expectations

Great freelance clients don’t expect you to work miracles. They set reasonable deadlines, and don’t ask you to take on a big project Friday afternoon that’s due on Monday morning. They also won’t keep expanding a project and adding new tasks, unless they’re paying extra. A good client values quality over quantity.

Fair pay

They say you get what you pay for, and a good freelance client takes that to heart. Great clients know that low pay means high volume and rushed work. They’re willing to pay more for quality, and they’ll come through with payment in a timely fashion.

Respect for your work                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good freelance clients understand that writing is a skill, and they’ll have respect for you and your abilities. Respect is an important foundation for any business relationship—if a client has a high regard for you, they’ll be much less likely to offer low rates or haggle on prices, neglect payments, add on more work (without paying more), demand short deadlines, or engage in any of the other behaviors associated with bad clients.

Another sign of respect is a client who lets you do your job, without micromanaging or second-guessing your abilities. Good clients are comfortable with the client-writer relationship—that’s why they started working with you in the first place.

Willingness to form an ongoing relationship

Building a long-term relationship is an advantage for both freelance writers and their clients, and a great client knows this. Good freelance clients are looking for writers who can learn their style and expectations, and then continually deliver the quality of work they need. They don’t want to train a new writer every time they need another project done.

The best clients will also seek to grow the professional relationship with you. Over time, they’ll ask for more comprehensive projects, and will pay more as your experience and value increase.

What qualities do you look for in a great freelance client?



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