When you hire a content creator, you have questions about the process. It’s only natural. The same is true of freelancers that you hire. The person on the other end of the buyer/seller dynamic, the hallmark of capitalism, always has an opposing point-of-view. Understanding how someone feels on the other side of the conversation will help you in future projects, negotiations, and contracts. Here are seven things that a freelancer wonders about a project.

Is the Client Reliable?

writer checklist

Image via Flickr by Lauren Cameron

One of the first questions that a freelancer wonders is also one of the hardest to answer. Content creators have no firsthand knowledge of new clients. They must take a leap of faith for this kind of work. As such, any quality freelancer will do what freelancers do best. They’ll research the issue.

Freelancers will find out as much as they can about a potential client. Today, that means available online data collated via internet searches and social media reviews. Someone who asks for a great deal of work without offering payment in advance is questionable. A freelancer must decide whether the available information suggests that the client is reliable. Otherwise, the content creator must pass on the offer.

As a client, your goal is to make sure that your online presence highlights your organization’s quality. If negative reviews exist online, you should challenge them by adding an explanation from your perspective. If your social media accounts have engaged in controversial behavior in the past, you should offer details about what transpired and why your company stands behind the choice. That way, potential content creators will have a better idea of your point of view.

When Will I Get Paid?

The freelancer payment process is oftentimes messy, especially with newer and less professional workers. Inexperienced content creators haven’t yet learned how to engage in streamlined negotiations, and so they are reluctant to act transparently. The same is true of new companies hiring clients for the first time. In many situations, both parties could use more training in the art of negotiation.

The most important topic is the obvious one. Freelancers want to know when they will get money. Is payment offered ahead of time? Will the client pay at the time of product delivery? Will payment have to wait until the time of publication? Some services even function like web advertising, with payments after 15, 30, or sometimes even 60 days.

One of the basic laws of capitalism is that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. So, the client will try to delay payment as long as possible. The freelancer wants it immediately. That’s one of the two main negotiating points. The other is…

How Does Payment Work?

Writing in particular is a tricky negotiation. Several viable options exist for payment, each of which has its pros and cons. Some freelancers charge by the word. The amount varies wildly, depending on the skill and experience of the writer.

Some freelancers charge only a penny a word, and the client usually gets what they pay for in such situations. Others charge a couple of dollars per word or more. These are usually specialists with tremendous track records in a field of expertise. Paying per word is riskier for the client since the writer’s verbosity directly influences the overall project cost.

The other popular type of payment is per project. A freelancer agrees to write a piece and accept a lump payment, independent of words written. This deal is better for the client since they have a fixed cost. The freelancer takes on more risk since they agree to a payment fee before knowing how much work the job requires.

Will the Client Pay on Time?

Three of these topics involve payment, which may seem excessive to clients. It shouldn’t, though. Your business has a primary goal. The same is true for freelancers. They don’t work for free. Content creation is a service, and it is the business that enables freelancers to pay the bills.

A client with a track record for late payments is someone a freelancer will show reluctance to work with again. When a content creator agrees to a project, their primary fear throughout the gig is that the person won’t pay on time or, in a worst case scenario, won’t pay at all. The best clients pay in advance or on delivery of product to relieve freelancers of this fear.

Is the Client Reasonable?

Re-writes are a reality of a freelancer’s career. Still, some requests are more reasonable than others. When a content creator agrees to a project, the nagging concern throughout the process is that a client will ask for needless re-writes.

Usually, this situation occurs when a client doesn’t offer enough guidance at the start and receives something that they didn’t really want. Unfortunately, it also happens when a client is unreasonable, someone who demands too much. During the earliest interactions, a freelancer pays attention to the client to see if warning signs exist about unreasonable expectations.

Does the Client Care about Quality?

A strange situation exists on the internet. Some successful sites aren’t all that interested in quality. They’ve found ways to succeed via clickbait and don’t worry about anything other than content volume. The best freelancers don’t like this trend for a specific reason.

A content creator’s work doubles as their resume. Each article reflects the freelancer’s skill. Someone who asks for a quick job where quality doesn’t matter is asking the freelancer to put a blemish on their resume. This won’t bother every content creator, but it is a problem for the ones with high standards. The best clients offer transparency about what they want and promise recommendations to freelancers who deliver.

Is Additional Work Possible?

Freelancers spend a significant portion of the work week negotiating new projects. When they interact with new clients, the hope is that a fruitful business relationship will develop, one that leads to lots of projects over time.

Freelancers have a work schedule, and the goal is to have a set roster of clients filling all available slots. That way, the freelancer can spend all their time creating content rather than wasting time on negotiations, some of which don’t lead to any work at all. It’s a way to maximize profits, and so the hope is always that one job with a client will lead to many jobs over time.

As you can see, the way that freelancers evaluate a project is different from the way that clients do. Freelancers focus on issues like payment, reliability, and potential career benefits. It’s the best way for content creators to guarantee that they can have a productive, prolific career. You should always target freelancers who show this sort of ambition and professionalism.