Freelancing

I have question that was bothering me for a long time.
I have done some freelance works for diffrent people and i wonder how can i make sure that they won’t fool me ?
In most cases they tell me to do some work and after that they don’t answer.
I don’t have fax or anything to sign contract, so what can i do to feel safe ?

The answer is the same whether your the freelancer or the client:

Use contracts (find a way… “I don’t have a fax” is not an excuse). Work with people you’ve met in person (or come with references/recommendations). Get some amount of payment up front.

You’re never truly safe. But these are the basics everyone should practice.

Also, the contract is the equivalent of a tax credit, here in the USA. So if you do get burnt, you at least have documentation that your business took a loss and can reduce your taxable income by the amount of the loss in some cases.

The trouble with contracts is that they give you grounds for legal action if the client does not hold up their end of the bargain. In the case for freelance work the amount billed is generally to small to make legal action a valid tool. For example in Oregon, my home state filing in small claims court costs $1500 and that was 10 years ago, its probably more now. Would you spend $1500 hoping to get $400 back?

This is even worse if you are working with a client that is outside of your country. Your court’s ruling carries no weight if the company has no interests in your country.

What I do is start small. If they have a project they wish rendered, then I break it up into 3 smaller chunks. When I finish chunk number one I send the client a bill. If they are willing to send progress payments then generally you have something to work with.

Once I have billed the client a few times and they have not missed any payments, then generally I relax and am willing to be more flexible with the client.

Your customer (not yours specifically but freelance customers) are just as worried that you will rip them off if they give you the money upfront as you are if you provide the work upfront. A solution is to require payments. I use to have a contract that was 25% before I begin, 25% when the design is done, 25% when the product is ready for final review, and the last 25% when I deliver the product.

Now I use several different freelance websites to get most of my freelance work. All of the sites I use, after accepting a bid, the person looking for the contractor must put the funds in an escrow account for the contractor. There is never a problem with funds, and if thre is a dispute, the website acts as an arbitrator. I am VERY pleased with the way it works. The down side to these sites is there are contractors that give their work away. So you have to deal with the people that offer a 30 second animation for $50.00 when my bid may have been $500 or $1000. But as you gain more experience on these sites you get rated and with good ratings and most importantly repeat customers, the people that give it away become less important.

I have built a great reputation with several clients so they do not even go anywhere else. They know I provide a quality product, on time, at a fair price. Reputation and repeat clients is most important when freelancing.

Hope that helped.

Thank you for all of the answers , they were really helpfull and gave me some ideas .
Best wishes.

Hey there place57, out of interest could you mention the freelancing sites your referring to. Are they animation specific?

sorry if this request is against forum rules, I couldn’t find anything about it in the forum rules, I’m just curious

The ones I use are not degign specific. Here is a list, http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/50-freelance-job-sites-for-designers-programmers-best-of/

My favorite is Elance (http://elance.com)