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RockRiverTiff

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I thought I'd see if there are any other freelancers here that I can commiserate with. Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable talking on any freelancer forums because I'm always worried a client will see it and think I am a difficult provider. I was worried about getting work in my field here after moving back from Chicago, and I was right to worry. The good news is that I'm doing well online as a freelancer. The bad news is that at least 25% of my clients are unreliable. Anyone else out there have some wise words in this area?

As an example, I wrote site content for a multi-million dollar company a few weeks ago, and only after bringing in the project management company and threatening to retain the copyright and resell their content was I able to finally get payment today. They asked me to finish ahead of the original deadline, they changed their specifications in the middle of the project, they responded that the work was excellent, and then they stopped communication. And they are professionals! It drives me nuts.

I imagine self-employed people in all areas must deal with this sometimes. How do you handle--and better yet avoid--these situations?
 

kaykay

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hi tiff

as you know I also write a lot of online articles (not as much lately with show season and foaling)

I much prefer magazines as they pay better and are very specific in what they want. I have previously done art magazines and the horse.

Online is much trickier and harder to get paid I think. Did you have a contract up front?? I did one for a car ins company that had to be so detailed etc. At first they loved it then at the last minute changed their mind. ughh. That is what makes me nuts about online articles.

My daughter katy does pretty well on newsvine.com but its all according to page views.
 

RockRiverTiff

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Hey Kaykay,

I thought I might hear from you! I use a special service for selecting my buyers, and that site regulates the transactions and uses an escrow service to make sure the providers get paid, but I've noticed some buyers have learned how to get around them. All terms are agreed on before the project is officially started. I try to work with established American businesses (so that if all else fails I can contact their BBB), but I have also worked with companies in the UK, Australia, and India, which complicates it a bit.

I do contribute regularly to a few ezines and blogs, but the projects that pay the best are always site content, which tend to be one-time deals with businesses launching or redesigning their sites. My per word for content is much better than what most article buyers offer. I'm feeling a little less thwarted today, and should acknowledge that I have worked with some excellent people and love my job, but I can't believe how unprofessionally some so-called professionals actually behave.
 

Suzie

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Tiffany,

I can commisserate with you. I have one client who owes me $20K - sent a check for $1500 last week. I have employees subcontract from me that I try to pay on time so puts me in a bind.

It helps at times to have a good lawyer who can nudge the client at times when they get so far behind. Sad when you have to resort to withholding finished work from the client to get them to pay but it happens. With the economy in flux, look for it to happen more and more.
 

susanne

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Sadly, all freelancers can relate to this.

Good contracts are a good starting point. Have a standard agreement that has been approved by your lawyer.

I always charge 1/3 before I start work, 1/3 before going to print (plus all vendors and expenses are paid at this point, ESPECIALLY the printer), and 1/3 upon receipt of the job. The project does not proceed without each payment.

I also believe in no surprises...I give an estimate up front, with the understanding that they will be notified in advance if the actual amount will exceed this original estimate by more than 10%.

I never broker printing, advertising, or other major vendors. I've had others chide me for missing out on the markup on these items, but I cannot afford to be left holding the bag. The client pays the major vendors directly and up front.

No spec work, ever. It is absolutely wrong and sets a horrible precedent both for you and the entire industry.
 

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