From the Finally Fast help desk:
In an ever-turbulent economy, more Americans are turning to freelancing to help them get by. But freelancers have to be careful when taking on work, as employers have the potential to exploit them, or conduct themselves in ways that can be costly to freelancers. If you’re thinking of giving freelancing a try, be on the lookout for these five warning signs when dealing with employers.
1) Employers who only Communicate by Phone:
Employers who prefer to communicate by phone certainly mean no harm toward freelancers, but those phone bills can be rather costly, and items may get missed in the conversation that need to be addressed. If an employer will only communicate with you by phone, be sure that they cover the cost for the calls. If they won’t agree to this, suggest that you conduct your calls on Skype. Skype allows you to make free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide. In addition to being the most popular VOIP app in the world, Skype also allows you to make calls to regular phones with inexpensive international phone call rates.
2) Free Samples:
Another Employer behavior to watch out for is free sample requests. Although an employer may request a sample if your portfolio doesn’t cover the type of work that’s being offered, a free sample is a bad idea. Creating samples takes time, and if you don’t get the job, your time has just been wasted. Ask the employer to pay half price. And be sure to keep a copy of the requested sample for your work portfolio.
3) More Work, Less Pay:
Occasionally an employer will promise a freelancer more work for a reduced rate. This is only worth your time if you can actually survive financially working at this reduced rate, and the employer signs an agreement guaranteeing the full amount of the work that’s been promised. Otherwise, the employer can just walk away after having you complete a single job way below your regular rate.
4) Bad Feedback:
When reviewing employers on a freelance site such as Guru or Elance, be sure to check the feedback from other freelancers. Although anyone can be the victim of false feedback, the employer should be avoided if their feedback is consistently awful.
5) Endless Revisions:
Finally, when negotiating terms with an employer for a fixed price job, be sure to agree upon a set number of revisions. An excessive amount of revisions will force you to work for a longer duration than the job was originally worth, wasting time that you need to spend on finding new work. If the employer won’t agree to a set number of revisions for the work, switch the terms from a fixed price to an hourly rate so you will be properly compensated for your time.