Q: What are the signs of a bad client?
A: Everyone knows that the best way to solve a problem is to ensure that you don’t have a problem in the first place. When it comes to dealing with a bad client, this is especially true. The best way to protect your time, money, and reputation from a troublesome client is to avoid clients that look like trouble from the very beginning. Bad clients often give vague, poorly written instructions with high quality demands for very little pay.
One of the easiest ways to spot a bad client is through a low client rating or a number of poor reviews. Most writing websites and job boards allow both the client and the contractor to leave reviews on the other’s profile. This can cut back on the number of poor client/contractor relationships and increase the odds that a job will go well. However, it only works if both the client and the contractor pay attention to the reviews and ratings. Watch out for clients with ratings lower than average. Since most sites rate on a scale of one to five, anything below a four is pushing it. If a client has a two or three star rating, you may want to consider passing on the job.
Another sign of a bad client is a low approval or hiring percentage. If a client rejects more articles than he approves, it is likely that he doesn’t provide clear enough instructions or leaves out information necessary for the writer to complete the assignment. Just as a client can be too vague in their instructions, they can also be too demanding. If a job post appears to have unreasonable demands, you may not want to accept the job. Unreasonable demands can take a number of forms. The client could ask you to cover too much information for the required word count or expect you to write several days’ worth of work in only a few hours. In the world of freelance writing, it is as important for the client to understand the needs of the freelancer as it is for the freelancer to understand the needs of a client. A client who knows next to nothing about what it takes to complete a particular type of project is less likely to be understanding when the contractor has a question or problem.
When deciding whether to work for a client, use your own best judgment. There are exceptions to every rule. A client who looks like they don’t know a thing about their project could turn out to be a great client, just as a client who seems perfect from the beginning could end up being an absolute nightmare. When in doubt, try messaging the client for a little more information. This can give you a better idea of the type of client you are working with.