I have been asked this question way too many times by freelance writers and I thought writing a post about it would be the right thing to do. Though I have been lucky enough to not encounter many fake clients, but the one fake client made me more careful than ever.
The problem that most of the writers face is – they don’t want to be left high and dry by a client but at the same time they also don’t want to grill a client too much and scare him away. While I have been doing this for long and I know when to reject a client, it can be difficult when you are new.
Here are some ways to notice fake freelance writing clients and chuck them off-
Fake clients will never haggle
If I am not interested in paying you, I would never haggle with you in the first place and waste my time. First thing to do is to see how the client reacts when you discuss pricing. If they are least interested in what you are charging then they are probably not hoping to pay you for it.
Fake clients often ask you to write free samples and try to lure you in by saying they would pay for the piece if they like it. (They will never pay for it !)
Always ask for information about your client
Most of the reputed clients either have an email address with a personalized domain or they have a signature which tells you everything about them and their company. If you still cannot find much information about the client, don’t be afraid to ask. Always ask about their company, its location and their contact number.
If it’s a large project, ask for an advance
If it’s a large project that would take you a long time, always ask for an advance when the first instalment of the work is done and delivered to the client. And discuss this with the client before the work has started. Never wait until the final work is delivered.
Push for a mutual agreement
I cannot tell you how important it is and yet most of the freelance writers in India decide to skip this just because of sheer laziness. Always create a mutual agreement with all the terms discussed with the client. Start the project only when the client signs the agreement and sends it back.
I have actually had some clients who contacted me for projects but as soon as I mentioned an agreement and the fact that they would have to sign it with all the details, they completely stopped replying me.