Warning Signs that Project Poster is Bad News

As a freelancer, it’s important that you’re able to determine a potentially great client from a potentially bad one.  Using your instinct and common warning signs can help you avoid headaches in the future, as well as being scammed out of your work and pay.  Below are some common warning signs that a project poster is bad news.

  • Bad Feedback – If there is a consistent record of bad feedback, you should automatically feel wary of the individual.  One bad feedback may not mean much more than a disgruntled freelancer – but 3, 4 or more…that’s when you know there’s a problem with the project poster.  Be sure to look at the feedback in-depth.
  • Asks for Custom Samples – Project posters should be able to get all the information they need regarding the quality of your work and talents from past samples.  If they’re asking for custom samples from every freelancer, and state that the samples will be owned by them upon completion, you need to be wary.  This means that they’re getting free projects from every person who bids on their project, so why would they need to pay?  Never create a free custom sample for a potential client – give them excerpts from past projects.
  • Illegal Activity – The project poster asks you to engage in illegal activity of some sort, such as plagiarism, taking advantage of a system when it’s clearly against the rules or something similar.  This is a very bad warning sign and you should take it as such – and avoid the project poster.  This also goes for project posters that want you to write about unethical, cruel or illegal activity.  These guys and gals should all be avoided.

Using the warning signs above and your own instincts should help you weed out the bad project posters and stick to those that really want to do an honest business with you and pay you fairly for your work.

photo link: kevinrosseel

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Do You Need a Freelance Contract?

As a freelancer, you have to be sure that your rights are protected, including your right to get paid what you deserve for work that you do.  Many freelancers utilize contracts to ensure that this happens, but there are times when a contract is really unnecessary. Which are those times and how do you know if you need a contract or not?

Creating a Contract – Every freelancer should have a pre-written contract ready to send to a potential client if they should have need of it.  The contract should state important information, such as the type of project to be done, exactly what is involved with the creation of the project, the agreed price of the project as well as the beginning date and the deadline.

This helps protect both the project poster and the freelancer, as everything is very clear and it’s legally binding.  There are a number of resources online that can help freelancers create quick contracts that are legally binding.  A few places to look include All Freelance Directory, and Elance.  These contracts are standard ones that will have all the necessary information included.

When is a Contract Not Needed?

So, how do you know when you don’t really need one?  Below are some situations in which a contract is probably not needed.

–          You’re working for a client you’ve worked for many, many times in the past and the job is very small.

–          The job is through a bidding site and is extremely small – less than $30.

–          The client is paying in advance for the services to be rendered.

You may still feel safer by having the client sign a contract, but in some cases, clients will be reluctant to sign contracts for such small amounts of work and will consider it a waste of time. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a contract is necessary for a particular job, but remember, jobs that will take a long time or that are worth a lot of money should probably have one.

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