Most writers and clients get along great. We introduce each other, come to a mutual agreement, and enjoy our time connecting professionally.
Not everything is rainbows and roses in the world of freelance writing, however. Let’s discuss some of the things creative minds dislike about bad writing clients in hopes that everyone benefits.
Not Disclosing Rate or Pay Range
Let’s face it: One of the most interesting things about a job listing is being able to see its pay rate. Any writer can tell you this, which means I am only voicing what they’re already thinking.
Unfortunately, many prospects leave out this valuable piece of information for fear of attracting the wrong crowd (writers who are only interested in the money and not about quality).
Some clients make writers jump through hoops by writing up a cover letter, sending their resume, explaining why they deserve the job, and including several relevant links and samples.
Finally, the prospect reveals his desire to pay peanuts for the writer’s work. There goes that precious time the writer won’t ever get back.
Clients: Posting a job will attract good and bad freelancers whether you specify payment or not. Even if the pay “depends on the writer’s experience,” at least provide a rough estimate such as, “Between three to five cents per word.”
Excluding payment information doesn’t automatically make a client undesirable, of course. This only applies to the ones that end in disappointment after the ordeal of applying to work with them.
Asking for a Long/Free Trial Article
This is all too common with content mills and the average Craigslist writing ad. While some clients may (understandably) need us to prove our ability to write about rocket science, asking for mundane trials within our field of expertise is simply unacceptable.
Please accept our existing portfolio and impressive resume, as our work samples are usually related to the topic you’re looking to cover. Finally, we normally wouldn’t apply to your writing gig unless we were confident in our ability to produce great results.
Relying on “Exposure”
Chances are you have come across bad writing clients that want to pay in the form of experience and exposure. And if said client is actually willing to pay, don’t expect a huge amount deposited into your account.
There are some instances when being paid in this virtual “currency” can be helpful, particularly if the client’s website genuinely helps your business grow. More often than not, however, the client in question has a website that is no more popular than my introverted, country-living grandpa.
On the other hand, if their website truly is receiving massive traffic, would you really believe the client isn’t making enough money to spare a few bucks?
Inconsistent Payment Schedule
I have dealt with great clients as well as some awful ones since I started writing in 2007. Most of them have treated me fairly, but a handful got into the habit of not paying until I reminded them – more than once.
This actually happened again just recently, despite the contract stating weekly, timely payments. Even worse, that same client missed the mark by $5. Needless to say, I don’t write for said client anymore.
Respect is a two-way street; treat writers fairly and we will always go for that extra mile to ensure that your business thrives.
Setting some ground rules is crucial for clients, otherwise an article just wouldn’t be worth the money they are paying us.
However, some clients have a tendency to switch things up once the article is practically finished, making the job a bit trickier than it needs to be.
Other times the client might abruptly give you an important piece and expect you to research the topic and turn it in within 12-24 hours. Unexpected things happen, but making a habit out of it seems to be the norm with some. Even if we have the time to write the article, chances are you (the client) are slowly damaging your existing relationship with the writer.
Tell me some of your own nightmares and how you managed to deal with bad writing clients. I’d love to hear your thoughts!