As independent professionals, contractors/ freelancers are businesspeople, even if they are the only person in that business. Good business sense is one of the most useful tools that freelancers can use on their way to that independent lifestyle and this includes associating with the right clients.
In this blog post, UASA has put together questions that all freelancers/consultants must ask potential clients before they take on a new project.
Have you ever worked with a freelancer/consultant before?
The first thing you should know about any potential clients is whether they have any experience working with freelancers. Ask them about their history regarding hired freelancers and how the project went.
If your client understands the freelancer-client communication and works dynamics, you can give it a plus.
If your client is entirely new to freelancers, that could be a potential problem. You should find out from them why they have decided to outsource and not do it on their own?
If they have the experience, ask them whether you can get in touch with some former freelancers that have worked with them. If the projects went well, they would not hesitate to give you more information.
Whenever you are applying for a new gig opportunity, you should always take the time to find out what’s the current company’s reputation. The first step is to do your research on the company, you could do this without asking; in fact, it is better to do your homework before the interview.
If the company is new, you can mention the fact that you did your homework and hadn’t found anything about them and find out why.
Scammers are unfortunately a reality so watch out.
How important is the project to the client
It is very important to have the right expectations of the project else, you risk disappointment. Many freelancer-client relationships end as a result of a lack of transparency from the client.
Ask your potential clients about the importance of the project. You must figure out your client’s expectations are, how they imagine the final product will look, and what’s the end goal.
By understanding the stakes, you can then decide if you will be a good fit for your client or not. Remember to be honest if you can’t take on the project.
Communication is a very critical aspect of any business relationship. Without excellent communication, there is no synchronisation or proper task management.
Thanks to advancements in technology and globalisation, you can now get clients from any part of the world. Some clients will live in a different time zone and have different working hours to you.
It is advisable that you find clients within your native time-zone or working hours.
It is also important to ask your client how you will communicate. Do they have special software? Are they using e-mail or some other platform? How available are they? And importantly, how fast will they respond?
What are the terms and payment arrangements?
You must be thinking this should be the first question but, clients do not like it when freelancers do this. You get better chances of landing a good job by asking questions about their company or services instead. Still, it remains one of the essential aspects of a good gig.
How much will you be paid?
Ask your potential client to communicate with you the terms of the project, how much will you get paid for the particular task. It can be an hourly rate job or a fixed price one. Depending on which one is it, ask about the payment you will get.
Make sure that you decide what your payment rate is before applying for a job. You can find this type of information across freelancer’s forums or using search engines. You can also choose to negotiate the price in case your client is offering lower than you have expected.
How often does the client expect updates?
Every client requires their suppliers to update them on the project’s progression. Some need freelancers to submit a report each day, depending on the project type, you will have to come up with new updates which outline the progress you have made.
So ask your client ‘How often do you want me to post updates?’ And in which form? E-mail, some software, phone?. If you know your potential client’s expectations, you will know how to organise your time efficiently.
Is the client holding the intellectual rights? Clients might allow you to keep your name on a project and help you develop your reputation. This is however a small percentage as most clients impose their intellectual rights.
Choosing the right clients makes working easier and simpler. By finding out this information before- hand, we believe you can be well on your way to simpler and more pleasurable working relationship instead of dealing with issues and problems with workflow that can only slow down progress and cause unnecessary stress.