How can you negotiate with a client as a new freelancer?

As a new (or already active) freelancer you should learn how to negotiate with a potential client about job details and deadlines. It seems pretty hard but you will get practice over time.

At first, you will start sending proposals to the clients in your professional area. After many proposals, you will get invited for an interview. That means that client saw your profile and proposal and he is potentially interested in collaborating.

This is the interview process where you should ask the client all relevant job details and other related questions. Do not leave something not answered, because that could be potentially later problem. Some of the things that both the client and freelancer should clarify are:

  • Project details. It is important to clarify all requirements about the project. Do not forget to ask questions even if the interview is finished. Do not let to make mistakes just because you did not think about the details. Make a list of questions before the interview so you can be prepared.
  • Deadline of the project. This is something that can be skipped but it is crucial for the time organization and client satisfaction. Ask the client what is expected time for finishing the project. If you can not meet the deadline maybe you can negotiate about that. You can also recommend another freelancer who is skilled for the interview.
  • Do not miss the deadline. After you agree about the deadline with the client make sure to respect that. There can be some unplanned things but do not let the bad organization ruin the client’s trust. If it happens be honest, apologize to the client, and make sure it will never happen again. Next time negotiate better project deadlines.
  • Project communication. Define the time needed for you to get back with the finished sample work. Does the client want daily communication about the project progress?
  • Keep all the details in writing. No matter if the interview is on Skype, Zoom, or writing on the Upwork platform, make sure to take notes of everything. In this way, you will protect this agreement and have it all in written format.
  • Project payment. Before you negotiate about the payment, you need to define if the project will be done in milestones or at once. Also, do you want to be paid per hour? Almost every freelance platform has payment assurance. Require only to be paid via a freelance platform, or you can potentially end up with no money. Do not start with work before the client payment option is approved, or the client asks to pay you in another payment option.
  • Do not work a sample job for free. If you need to do the sample work that requires few working hours do not them for free. Value your working time and your knowledge!
  • Do not spend much time on interview. Every client that needs a freelancer to finish some job will be efficient in communication and details. Your interview will not be long, and the communication will be clear. If you notice that the potential client does not give the right answers or skip answering, you can think about leaving the interview. Do not spend much time on someone who actually wants free work, or anything else.