Freelancing from the Client’s Perspective

I will not claim to be an expert on freelancing itself because I have never done it, but what I do know about is hiring freelancers to do work for me.

I have hired people to do many tasks for me that I can’t do, won’t do or simply don’t have time for. It is really helpful to get your business up and running faster than you ever could on your own by using freelancers.

I have found some things freelancers tend to cut corners on or simply do badly. From a client’s perspective, these things will not put you in good stead when you are looking to get follow up work.


Bad Freelancing Practices

Here are some things that freelancers do that really create a bad impression:

  • Ignoring the job description–The first and by far the most irritating is when a freelancer doesn’t read the description of the job before accepting it. Now I am aware that there are a lot of time constraints on people’s time and that you shouldn’t be expected to do everything, but this is one thing that is a must. When I ask someone to do work for me I always have very specific requests and I do this because the basic and broad things I know how to do myself and I hire freelancers to handle the specifics. That’s what I pay for. What I don’t expect is people sending me a report half way through the project and seeing that they haven’t done precisely what I’ve asked for because it was all in the description. If you don’t understand what the client wants, then ask the client before the start of the project.
  • Bad communication–Which brings me on to my next point, communication is key. It is vital for clients to know what is going on with the task that has been set. If regular reports aren’t received I get nervous that they aren’t doing what I have asked or are simply not doing anything. When a job is handed over to help a business it is natural for the client to want to know what is going on because it is their business. Always keep that in mind. Don’t be afraid as the freelancer to ask questions or just send a friendly message saying a target will be met by tomorrow. This gives the impression that you are on top of the situation and it will make the relationship run far more smoothly.
  • Asking for rating changes–This one is simply a personal pet peeve, but if it puts me off hiring freelancers again then I am sure it will put others off also. Do not ask the employer to change their rating of you. This is in relation to online freelance websites where you have to leave feedback on how the freelancer performed during the project. I have had a few people mail me after I have given my honest rating of how they performed and ask me to up their rating. That gets my blood boiling. The whole point of a rating system is so that people can get an honest opinion of how the project went not to see what the freelancer believes they should have got. I’m afraid that a good rating must be earned not asked for.
  • Not being courteous–The final thing I would like to mention is that you must always, always be polite. In my experience, 99.9% of freelancers understand this seemingly basic principle (which is good), but there is always the odd one who can’t resist sliding in a scornful remark or a snide comment. For example, I had one person call my project a joke in their bid. How do they expect to get hired with that kind of attitude towards a client? Anyway, my point is that good manners cost nothing and in fact could pay you a lot of money, so keep that in mind throughout all of your communiques and you will get on fine.

One Good Freelancing Practice

One thing that is worth mentioning is that I have been more inclined to accept bids for projects from people who send more than one message. The common thing that I receive is ‘I can do this. Please check PM’. I realize that you are busy trying to get as many jobs as possible, but this is not attractive to the employer in any way. While looking down the list of offers I am looking for someone who stands out and that I can tell something about straight away–not for a worker drone who does the same thing as everyone else.

If someone is willing to put more effort in to get work from me, then they are probably more willing to do a little bit of extra work to make sure that the project meets my exacting standards (which is what I am after). Employers are just as busy as you are if not more so and don’t always have time to check PMs, so take the time to write an interesting bid or two.

Your Turn

What do you think of these bad freelancing practices? Can you think of any that you would add?

Share your suggestions in the comments.