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How can I identify a potentially bad client?

Whether you're a writer or graphic designer, one of the best aspects of freelancing is that you get to choose projects at your own discretion. This can land you in trouble, however, as not all clients are worth your time. In fact, some clients may even cause more problems than they're worth, which can lead to issues with invoicing or claims that you didn't live up to the terms of your contract. To protect you and your business, Forbes offers the following tips on how to spot a bad client, and what to do you if you find yourself in a dispute. 

Unfortunately, some clients will do anything to avoid an invoice. They may claim work wasn't done to their satisfaction, or simply put off responding to your repeated appeals for payment. Others might simply forget to remit payment for services rendered, which isn't nefarious but still aggravating. You can sidestep payment issues by asking for a portion of the payment in advance. From there, you and the client can establish payment milestones. If a client is reluctant to agree to this pricing model, you can choose to walk away without any real loss. 

In terms of the project itself, micromanagement is a real problem. Not only does it lengthen the term of the project a great deal, it also undermines your authority as a professional. Clients pick you for your knowledge and expertise, so they should have some confidence in your ability to perform work. If you feel you're being micromanaged, try having a frank discussion with the client about the issue. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some clients are simply too vague in their approach to a project. This can cause problems in a few different ways. First, it's possible that the person isn't really sure what he or she wants. In this case, there is a great chance of dissatisfaction at the end of a project no matter how much work you put in. Lack of instruction may also result in the need for endless revisions, which could have been prevented. If you choose to work with a client like this, make sure you're billing accordingly for all revisions and consultations.  

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