Freelancers: Watch Out for These Client Warning Signs

Warning SignThere are many different situations that you will encounter in the world of freelance work. Whether you are providing marketing services, SEO assistance, copywriting services or something entirely different, a wide variety of clientele will cross your path. The occasional difficult client is to be expected, as are those who may ask just a little bit more than the average customer. This is a normal part of the profession. What isn’t normal, however, is to have overly-demanding or potentially troublesome individuals show up looking for help. We’ve put together a list of common warning signs to be aware of when first approached by prospective clients.

The Penny-Pinching Client

Whether the name of the game is search engine optimization or content marketing, there is always that type of client: the one who insists that because they have spent a certain amount of money of a product or service that indirectly relates to what they now need, that they do not have much to spend on this effort. Particularly in the fields of marketing and SEO, budgets are long-term affairs and require careful collaboration and adjustments. Clients who believe that they have built a new website and that a substantial investment in SEO shouldn’t be necessary will likely prove to be troublesome when pinging URLs and deploying content requires additional investment in the future.

The Timely Know-It-All

Some potential clients seem to have it all figured out with respect to what they need. For instance, a simple website design task may be something that takes two hours, but the client is convinced that it should only take one hour. While negotiation of terms is always a necessary part of client interaction, those clients who believe that they understand the time and energy involved in a particular project better than you will likely prove to be hassles on a recurring basis. Even if the contract or project appears to be lucrative, it is worth considering carefully whether such a potential client is going to be respectful enough of the demands that the project requires.

The Insistent Historian

In the world of freelance marketing and web services, it is not uncommon to work with multiple clients who likewise, have worked with multiple freelancers. When offering a quote or estimate for a particular set of services, an individual client may become insistent upon a previous price or quote provided by another freelancer. When dealing with the type that says “well, so and so was willing to provide such a service for this particular price”, it is definitely worth considering how the previous impressions of other freelancers on the client will impact expectations in the future. Carefully explaining to the individual why the particular price difference is necessary is always worth a shot, as is pinging URLs to explanations as to why lower cost services are not always worth the price tag.


Being a freelancer means not having to deal with all of the problematic client behaviours that traditional employees must bear. Inevitably, every client is a potential decision to accept or not accept: by recognizing some key warning signs beforehand, you may be able to prepare for or avoid altogether potential problems in working relationships in the future.

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