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A Promise of Future Work Means Nothing

I try to practice what a preach, but every so often this escapes me. Most recently, I fell prey to a client who promised more work if I could complete his current project in a short period of time. Since I had a few extra hours and had spoken with the client on the phone, I figured that he was telling the truth. Was I right? Of course not. The project was completed on time, early in fact, and that was the last that I heard from the client. Luckily, I requested payment upfront so at least I didn’t lose out in that regard as well.

Time after time, clients will tell you that they have plenty more work if you can just do them one huge favor right now. In my case, the favor was a rush job. In many other circumstances the client will ask for a lower price since they are going to be sending you so much work. Of course, this is nothing more than a ploy to get what they want. This is not to say that every client is lying, because that is not the case. I have had clients tell me that they would send more work after the first job, and then follow through promptly. But in my experience, most people who want special treatment in return for future work have no intention of ever working with you again.

If you plan on doing business with a client that is promising future work and you are skeptical in the least bit, it is important to get paid upfront. Remember, if they are dishonest enough to attempt to trick you, they are dishonest enough to not send payment after the project is complete. If they refuse to pay you upfront for your services, you will then have to decide how to proceed. At the very least, you will not want to accept anything less than 50 percent of the agreed upon price.

If you are like most freelance writers you want to hear from clients that can offer ongoing work. But remember, promises of future work mean nothing. Protect yourself against this scam by only accepting projects that meet your terms, and of course, receiving payment before you begin.

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2 Comments »UncategorizedMarch 19th, 2008

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