An ideal world would have a cordial client-freelancer relationship. In the real world, this is not so. Every freelancer can narrate his story about tribulations he has encountered with clients who may be over them and to justify their payment to them.
The following strategies are to guide a freelancer go through the challenges he has to encounter in the course of his dealings with the clientele.
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you need a contract with a client. The answer to this question is, ‘’It is highly recommended and healthy” ‘If you get a client accept and sign the contract, it your duty then to execute your part of bargain. Work on the project and the client will at least have to fulfil his part. If however the client refuses to sign a contract, employ your sixth sense effective. Try to analyse and see if there is a higher possibility of the client honouring his pledge or not. You need also to weigh the benefits and the cost of taking up the project. Go ahead to take such a project if you feel that you stand to gain more or the damage is minimal.
As for the contract, make it simple to contain only the vital details to protect you and the client also. Every party in the deal should be protected. The most important things to capture are the clear terms like what is expected to be delivered, the time it will take and how to avoid misunderstandings. The wording of the contact terms should be clear and concise.
The next question you need an answer is about deposit. Is it important to have the stipulated deposit first? The answer should be, ’yes, it shows the commitment of a client’ ’the issue of payment of a deposit stipulated before the commencement of a project may arise. If in the contract you had a section that your client has to pay you a certain amount before the project, you should not be shy to demand it. After all, it will be a breach on his part. Each party should portray his commitment to be bound by the terms of the contract. It is also safe for the freelancer since you are a service provider. Service as a product, changes ownership immediately and cannot be recalled back like a good or any other tangible product. If the terms are clear that at a certain date a client shall pay this much, then it should be so. The key dates should be honoured. Do not let the client dictate and alter the terms at will.
Then, there is the issue of the invoice and the client pretending or deliberately lying to have had an access to it. What then should you do in such a situation? The answer is, ‘’Act professionally and restrained. “You need to know that your aim is not to have a onetime project with clients. The issue of an invoice should not be allowed to ruin you possible future work relationship. If you really sent an invoice, clearly refer to it and explain it correctly. You can always resend the invoice. Appearing desperate end rude does not make matters well for a freelancer. Always behave professionally.
Added to the above, you need to know the dates well in order to know exactly the clients with outstanding invoices and the reminders you have sent to them. After you have known the relevant dates, you can now make an informed decision on what other steps to make to collect the invoice. Good news for you is that there are online invoicing tracks for the invoice like the Fresh Books which can reveal to you even the time the invoice was read.
Yet another concern for a freelancer would be how much changes should be redirected back to him by the client. The quick answer to this would be, ‘as stipulated in the contract and with constant updates to the client for approval and proposals for any changes.’’ Clients can be too demanding even when the document produced is as per the initial description. They might demand to have changes of almost the whole document.
The best way to address the aforementioned challenge regarding changes is to have in the contract, the stipulated number of changes that can be made in the project. Once the maximum changes to the contract have been made any other proposed changes can be charged against the client. It is also more important if the client is updated constantly on the project so that any concern can be addressed immediately. The freelancer should show his expertise before the load is too big for anyone to bear.
Lastly there can be a question as to whether a client can cancel part of the project and refuse to pay in full. The answer is, “Be wise and collect as much as you can for the project. “Well if the contract is clear, the freelancer shown own the proceeds of the whole project. It is not uncommon though to get a client proposing that some part of the project has now be done and there is no need for the freelancer to do it or demand any money on it.
The best idea for a freelancer is to collect as much as possible from the project. This can be done with specifying in the contract many dates to receive much of your payment earlier. These are the deposit and many other payments in between such that by the end of project almost all has been paid. You may need to consult a lawyer if need be.
In conclusion, a freelancer should always be wise while dealing with a client. A win win situation is always the best. A freelancer should therefore be attentive to all signs and act fast to avoid any loss but do it with dignity.