This blog comes directly from you readers. Someone asked my advice on how to deal with a dodgy client. To give you an outline, this freelancer had taken on some work, done their usual due diligence, started the work only to discover some illegal goings on in the past. So what do you do with someone with a dodgy past, or with a company you think might be ripping people off?
First and foremost try and do as much due diligence as possible on prospective clients. Try and find details using like companies house, look into reviews etc. Even in the internet age it can still be surprising how tucked away this sort of stuff is. Fore-warned is always fore-armed.
Worry Or Not?
We all have a past and everyone has made mistakes, just because someone has a black spot does not necessarily mean you should be worried, but certainly a higher level of caution is needed. You should have already taken your usual precautions, but in this case it might be wise to do that little bit more. Ensure you are paid close to the end of the project and don’t hand over deliverables.
If you’re worried that you’re helping a con-man or perhaps a client is simply mis-representing their services then it comes down to a moral question. If you flat out know this company is scamming people then walk away, but in truth this is often a grey area that will be personal to each and every one of you.
For me, I wouldn’t work for a short term loan company because I’ve seen that they prey on people in bad situations with no choice, but would work for a gambling company because I feel there’s more of an element of choice and now the industry is duty bound to try and tackle addictive behavior. That’s where my ethics sit.
My ultimate advice to this freelancer was just to remember that the nature of working for yourself is much more transactional than ‘working life’ the very nature of it means you’re dealing with more people and with that comes more personalities. If you have a bad feeling about a client then finish the project and then you don’t have to work with them again. If you have genuine concerns then try and talk to the client about it. You don’t have to call them out, politely saying ‘hey I found this about you’ might go a along way to calming any doubts.