What a Freelancer in digital Accessibility expects from a Contractor

Of course, freelancers are happy about orders. Nevertheless, I have a few wishes for clients. The keywords here are money, respect and commitment.

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Time is important

As a client, you should take the contractor's time just as important as your own or that of your colleagues: last-minute orders on December 23rd. at 4:59 p.m., To be finished on 26.12. is disrespectful - and that's just a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, sometimes it's a rush, but why should the freelancer pay for your bad time management? If deadlines have been agreed, the client should also stick to them or communicate early if it doesn't work. One should also respect the solo self-employed if they are sometimes absent due to illness, children or other commitments. We're humans, not gumball machines. With freelancers, clients allow themselves sloppiness that would be fatal in normal working life, such as leaving out agreed phone calls without canceling them or never calling them back.

The tendering mania of the administrations is particularly annoying. In the meantime, mini-services such as a one-day workshop or the translation of a document with 10,000 characters are also being advertised. Hardly anyone will charge more than 2000 € for it, but is forced to understand many pages of tender. As a rule, if you make a mistake when filling out the forms, you will be kicked out anyway. The chances of winning the tender are manageable. So let it be. Please only advertise services if the volume is over €10,000.

Time is Money - nothing is for free

Some level of free advice is fine. But to spend two hours advising on procedures and then hiring someone else is bold. Another example of disrespect towards the freelancer. This has happened to me several times, which is why I am now less liberal when potential customers want an initial consultation.

Pay in Time

Invoices should be paid within four weeks. Some are actually dependent on it, especially in the 1st quarter of a year you have a lot of expenses but almost no income. My record was waiting four months for payment, the customer claimed to have been ill, which was obviously not true. What employee would wait four months for their salary? If you are ill and expect a bill, you arrange for a substitute.

In my opinion, you don't have to turn it down as a client if you don't accept an offer from a freelancer. As a rule, you write so many offers that you forget about them at some point anyway. An exception applies if certain deadlines have been agreed, for example if an order has to be completed by a certain deadline. Depending on the size of the job, the freelancer must block resources that he can use for other purposes if the offer is rejected. A lady called me once, chatted in my ear for what felt like 30 minutes and answered many months after I had completely forgotten the call to say that someone else would be doing the job, the most useless call ever.

Make no wrong Promises

Only announce engagements when you actually have something in the pipeline. It is a common cliché when dealing with freelancers that they will be recommended or considered for hiring. As a young freelancer I took that seriously, today I ignore such statements. At least as far as the orders are concerned, in 95 percent of the cases nothing ever came of it. The person probably forgot about me two minutes after the conversation. Of course, not every non-binding statement is actually followed by an order, but this kind of polite phrases means that I, at least, can no longer take the persons behind them seriously.

In short: treat the freelancer the way you would like to be treated yourself. The majority of customers are actually not like that. Unfortunately, the small group of difficult customers causes a lot of trouble.

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