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6 Red Flags to Avoid in Potential Clients

Nina Rodríguez-Quirós

Dear freelancer, there are some red flags that your potential clients might show that you should pay attention to before taking them on as new clients.

I’ve mastered the art of identifying red flags since I've seen them myself. I want to share the learnings I’ve gathered through my experience, so you don’t have to go through it.

Here are some of the signs of someone that might be a deadbeat client:

1. They talk badly about your colleagues

There is a saying that if someone badmouths about someone else in front of you, they’ll likely do the same to you when you are not in the room. Beware if your client says mean things about past employees, especially mentioning their names.

2. They are sneaky

Do your homework and ask around about the prospective client. If you see a pattern in which they don’t have a good reputation or are sneaky, that’s a red flag.

3. Their contract has odd clauses or are one-sided

I can't say this enough. If you’re not in charge of making the contract, make sure you understand everything the client sends you. READ EVERYTHING. And know that if you disagree with what it states, you can let them know, and ask for a change.

4. They are rude to someone on their team

If the client seems super friendly to you but doesn’t treat their employees correctly, that’s not a good sign.

5. They're not very communicative

If they don't give you enough information, reply to your emails, or call you when you need them the most, that’s a warning! Set your expectations upfront and explain what you need from this relationship to work out from the beginning.

6. They ghost you

This one is super frustrating. If you keep writing emails to them and they won't reply, the chances are that they are not as invested as you in the project. Having bad clients sucks, but it happens more than you think.

I hope you and many others can learn from my experience.

Check out my blog: About That Time a Client Did Not Pay For My Freelance Work… to learn some more.

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