Deposits are not negotiable
A client who does not have the money/willingness to pay a deposit will most likely not have the money/willingness to settle their full account.
Retainers are paid in advance
All my retainers are month to month and are payable in advance. Why? By charging up front I assure the client of my confidence in my abilities. By not binding a client to an ongoing contract, I am motivated to continue to deliver results, while their risk is minimised.
No work commences until the scope of work / contractual red tape has been finalised.
This counts for rush jobs too. Too many times have I wasted hours working in good faith. No formal acceptance of my terms = no work will be done.
Only the first consultation is free of charge.
While customer service and satisfaction are important, it is equally important to establish a healthy respect for the value of your time. If you do not value your time, neither will your clients.
Do not be afraid to say no to certain projects.
There is a thin line between being willing to take on ambitious projects and burning your fingers. It is important to understand what your limits are and how far you can stretch yourself. Do not be tempted by the fear of losing out, when it comes to projects where you are not sure whether it is worth your while.
What are your top freelancing tips? Please share in the comments section.