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Freelancers: 8 things to look out for before accepting the contract

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

If you’re about to sign on the dotted line for your next gig, then here are 8 things to look out for that might make you think twice!

  1. “You’re our first ever freelance contractor” Clients who are new to working with contractors almost always get it wrong the first time. You don’t want to be their guinea pig, unless you’re absolutely sure you can manage their expectations. These clients tend to expect miracles from you, especially as they will be paying much more than a standard employee.
  2. “You’re replacing somebody who doesn’t know they’re about to be replaced.” This will become a very tense situation, soon enough. To replace somebody, you’ll need knowledge and a clean handover – you won’t get this if the outgoing employee is hostile and won’t share information.
  3. “The project hasn’t started yet.” You have to ask why you’re starting now. In some cases, you’ll start to help the project get off the ground – and you’ll know exactly what your role in that is, should that be the case. Otherwise, you might find yourself diverted onto work that isn’t in your area of expertise, and never get off it.
  4. “The scope of the role is quite open at the moment” A smokescreen that is really saying ‘We are still deciding what you will do, and therefore this could be anything, anywhere.’ It smacks of a lack of organization, or worse still, you’re being set up to take on work that is already doomed to failure.
  5. “You’ll be paid when the agency is paid” – avoid these gigs. If the agency can’t guarantee your payment, then you could soon be chasing payments and diverting all your attention into arguments.
  6. “You can’t use company facilities” You should ask yourself Why? You’re walking into a ‘Them and Us’ situation here.
  7. “Your desk phone will be blocked for outside calls” demonstrates a lack of trust that you’ll use a simple device as a phone for genuine company business. You need to be able to speak to people outside of the walls of the workplace to do your job, right?
  8. “We lock down internet access for contractors” is like the above point. If your client can’t trust you to get on with the job without loafing on Facebook then you’ll find yourself under constant supervision and scrutiny.
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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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