New individuals and businesses become freelance clients every single day. Freelancing has grown in popularity, and it appears a large portion of the global workforce will freelance in one way or another in the near future. With so many newbies, there are a lot of unknowns. So what should new freelance clients expect from freelancers?
If you’ve never hired a freelancer before, or if you’ve only hired a few, then this post might help. Today I’ll walk you through client expectations, so you can decide whether or not you’re being reasonable with your requests, demands, and ultimately your standards for the work you pay for.
Should New Freelance Clients Expect Perfection?
One of the biggest new client complaints about freelancers is their level of quality. You spend X amount and you get Y in return. Your expectation of Y is a high-quality product. But that’s not always what you get.
The question is, should you have expected high-quality in the first place? If not, what should your expectations have been?
To answer that, we have to consider three important factors:
- How much money did you spend?
- How well did you know the freelancer before you started?
- How good were your instructions?
How Much Money Did You Spend?
When you have a low budget, you should lower your expectations. Yes, there are whispers of high-quality workers for bottom-dollar rates. But the clients who grab those freelancers have been in the game for years (or they got lucky).
New clients don’t know what to look for in freelancers. So they hire the first person who offers a good deal. That’s a recipe for disaster.
When you don’t have much money to spend, you won’t attract experts to your gig. Instead, you’ll get freelancers who are willing to accept low pay because some money is better than none.
Those freelancers are hungry for pay because they need money. They need money because they aren’t earning much right now. But if they aren’t making much money, there’s a reason for that. If those freelancers had the qualities of high-earners, then they wouldn’t bid for your $10 job!
So if your budget is low, you have to lower your expectations and work with what you get.
How Well Did You Get to Know the Freelancer?
Before you started working together, how much time did you spend getting to know the other person? In my experience, new clients are just as afraid to get on live video or phone calls as most freelancers.
The problem is if you don’t get on video calls and if you don’t spend time getting to know your freelancer, then there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed with the work they deliver.
How do you get to know them?
It starts when you read their proposal, cold email, bio, website, portfolio etc. You look at their feedback and ratings. Check out what they’ve done in the past.
If you’re still not sure how good they’ll do, then you move to a phone or video call. You can’t accurately judge most people by private messages or text chat alone. There are too many ways to scam.
When you want high-quality freelancers, you need to meet them on a call. Find out if they communicate fluently. Check your gut feeling. Is there something “off” about them? If yes, and if you still hire them, then don’t be surprised when they deliver crap work.
How Clear Were Your Instructions?
Part of the reason clients hire freelancers is to get a specific job done right. But it’s hard for freelancers to deliver quality work when they don’t fully know what you want.
To help your freelancer meet your expectations you need to do one of the following:
- Spend more time crafting detailed instructions
- Pay higher rates for someone who *gets it* from the start
- Or simplify the deliverables you ask for
Detailed instructions take time to write. That can be frustrating. But it’s the only way to make sure your freelancers know exactly what you want and how to give it to you.
An alternative to written instructions is to take a video. By recording your requests and instructions you can speed up the process. You don’t have to put your face on video. Instead, use a screen recording service like Loom or Screencast-o-Matic.
You could always pay higher rates to attract experts, but even then you’ll need clear instructions. Experts usually have processes that help them perform better for you, but nobody can perform at the top without clear expectations.
If detailed instructions are out of the question for you, then the only real option is to simplify your demands and expectations. Don’t expect copywriting in your exact brand voice and style if you haven’t written out a detailed guide explaining what that is. It just doesn’t make sense.
So What Exactly Should New Freelance Clients Expect?
As a new client, you should expect to get what you pay for. Nothing more, and nothing less.
You should expect that if you pay higher rates, you will attract higher-quality workers. That if you spend time getting to know freelancers, you will have a better relationship with them. If you give clear instructions, they will follow your lead and deliver what you want to the best of their ability.
If you want the world delivered on a platter, then you have to pay for it, and you have to give others clear directions about what that means and how to deliver it for you. All of this is a process. It takes time. But the time and money you invest to find the right person for the job pays off later in the time and money it saves (or earns) you overall. Make sense? Happy hiring!