I am pretty sure I have written about this topic already. However, the Freelancers Union has launched a campaign to pass legislation that will offer freelancers some of the same protection regular workers receive. If you visit their website, you can read more about the campaign. I myself have been approached by other business owners who want me to do work for free. This happened just last week! Here are some tips I have to avoid falling into this trap.
Insist on partial payment up front.
When I take on new clients, I insist on a deposit before I start work on a new project. This way if the client decides to cancel the project, I at least get some money out of the deal.
Use a written contract.
Make sure that you have everything spelled out in a written contract. This way there are no surprises. Make sure your contract covers how many revisions you will make, what tasks you will perform, and anything else that could be a cause for confusion.
Communicate with your client and do it often.
If something does come up that will cause a change in plans (power outage, sick family, etc.), be sure you communicate with your client. For a client, nothing is worse than sitting around wondering if the work you paid for is going to get done. Just like you don’t like waiting on money, clients don’t like waiting for work. Make sure your client knows what is going on and when they can expect the work to be completed.