Freelance Red Flags: How to Deal with a Difficult Client

Freelance Red Flags: How to Deal with a Difficult Client

There are a lot of benefits to freelance work, like a flexible schedule and the ability to work remotely. However, there are also some drawbacks, such as dealing with difficult clients. And while most clients you work with will be professional and have reasonable expectations, you may occasionally find yourself dealing with a more challenging partner. When you’re in that situation, it can be difficult to know what steps to take.

Keep reading for some tips on how to recognize the red flags indicating a particularly difficult client and how to handle that situation.

1. They Don’t Communicate Well

Client communication is one of the most important areas for a freelancer to pay attention to, especially since freelance work is typically done remotely. The client’s expectations should be completely clear to you from the beginning so that you’re not caught off guard by any last-minute demands. It’s also a red flag if a client takes an excessive amount of time responding to simple clarifying questions, as it makes your job harder when you don’t know how to proceed.

2. They Downplay Your Skills

Another warning sign is when a client downplays your professional skills or implies that they could do the work themselves if they had the time. There may be several reasons why a client does this (such as to avoid paying a fair rate or as justification for criticism), but it’s always uncalled for and disrespectful. Be sure you value your knowledge and experience as an industry professional so that you can be confident you’re providing a valuable service.

3. They Constantly Question Your Rates

During your first interaction with a client, they may question your stated rates, and it’s up to you whether you choose to negotiate. However, if they continue to question your rates after the initial negotiation, it can be a red flag that they will be difficult to work with or, even worse, try to avoid paying you.

4. They Have Unreasonable Expectations

Another red flag that a client may be difficult is when they make unreasonable demands of your time. If a client asks for far more work than what was originally agreed upon or insists on extremely tight deadlines, then they should expect you to raise your rates accordingly. If they’re not willing to discuss that option, then this job and this client may not be right for you.

5. They Avoid Signing a Contract

A big warning sign that a client will be difficult is when they try to get out of signing a contract. If they don’t want to put anything in writing, it’s a red flag that they might try to change the terms of your agreement or avoid paying you for your work. A contract protects all parties involved, and you should always insist on getting it signed before you start work. Otherwise, ask the client why they don’t want to sign it in the first place.

How to Manage a Difficult Client

For freelancers, especially new freelancers, it’s never an easy decision to terminate a relationship with a client. However, if you‘ve politely expressed your concerns and gotten nowhere, it may be time to consider stopping to work with them.

If you decide to part ways with a client, be prepared for pushback or to answer questions about why. Make it clear that you will no longer be working with them and be honest about your reasons. This is often easier to accomplish over email since you can list all your concerns without interruption. In the long run, it will be worth the trouble – your goal is to build a reliable client base with customers who you enjoy working with.

Becoming A Proofreader

Interested in a freelance career so you can manage your own time and choose the projects you like? Consider taking our Becoming A Proofreader and Becoming An Editor courses. They’ll provide all the skills you need to launch your freelance business. And if you pass both with a distinction score of at least 80%, you’re guaranteed work with our partner company, Proofed – saving you the stress of managing your clients! Claim your free trial and get started today.

Start your journey

Start your journey

Start your journey

Kick-start a flexible new career

Our Courses

Time for a change?

Sign up for a Knowadays free trial – it’s your first step towards a new career.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Join 5,000+ Learners Advancing Their Career With Guaranteed Work 🚀 Save 15% On Our Bundle Today! 👉Buy Now
+ +