After 3 years of working as a Virtual Assistant, I already encountered lots of different clients. Most of them were okay, some were even great, and there were a few who caused me headaches (2 or 3 of them didn’t pay me). To avoid such problem, I came up with pre-cautionary measures that you should do before taking any job/project.
There are two ways in dealing with clients, directly and on freelancing sites like oDesk, Freelancer, Elance, etc. In my opinion, freelancing sites are much safer because they have this system called escrow where an unbiased middle man is involve in the transaction. Here’s how it works: When you choose to work on a client, he pays you via escrow and the payment is blocked by the system (the client and you cannot get it unless the deal is done and good). This means that even if you don’t have the money yet, you are secured knowing that the money is already there and you will surely receive it once the job gets done.
Surely, there will still be “payment issues” like those clients who refuses to pay. Escrow can solve it but it will be a long investigation process so to avoid this hassle it’s better to be cautious always.
- Before dealing with a client, check his profile.
- Check the projects he previously posted and also total money spent.
- Check his feedbacks. If he always put negative feedbacks on his contractors, he might be a trouble client and its best not to consider dealing with him.
- If he is new to the site, check if his payment method is verified. If not, ask him to verify it first before proceeding.
- You may also investigate outside the freelancing site especially if your client is direct. Use the Google Search Bar and do some detective work. By doing a little investigation, you can be able to avoid scammers.
Some clients are WISE too. They ask for test jobs to multiple contractors online and use it for their business then hire no one. When a suspicious client asks you for a test job, don’t agree especially if you already have a good portfolio with lots of sample work to show.
Also, don’t work on illegal or unethical projects. If the client’s practice is like this, there is a possibility that he is not a good person to deal with. It’s better to report him to lessen the scammers online.