Protect yourself against scams.

There is no better protection than a prepayment.


Therefore ask for an advance payment always and for everything, unless you are a freelance newbie working on a portfolio or working for a customer that has already established himself as a reliable employer.

If you thought that customers are not afraid of being scammed, you would be wrong. They do too and maybe even more than freelancers. These fears do not arise out of thin air, unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers targeting all sorts of people. For this reason no one will give you a 100% prepayment, however, it is reasonable to ask for 30-50% upfront. 

If the customer does not agree on these terms - continue to convince him. Your task is to convince the client that you are a reliable partner and you are not going to scam him.

Even after all your efforts and negotiations techniques the customer does not want to transfer a prepayment, saying that he has already been scammed before and from now on he pays only for the work done, then this might ring a bell for you to consider if the customer himself is a fraud. They often like to hide behind this «fact» and use it to their advantage. 

Another option is to offer a customer a risk-free deal on (if possible). This service is free of charge for the customer, however, you as a freelancer will pay 10% of the initial reward promised for the job done. Yes you will lose some money, but it will protect you from losing the entire amount that was agreed on (however, you can adjust the 10% price).

As mentioned before, receiving an advanced payment does not mean that you will get the rest of the money promised. However, it will be a smart move to «secure» yourself if the type of work allows it. Do not provide original sources of your work to the customer before receiving the final amount. For example, if you draw a design - send only JPEG digital files and not PSD, when designing a web page - host it locally and not on the customer's server. Some designers add a watermark on their files, however, it might be unpleasant to see for a customer, therefore, you should consider all pros and cons before choosing your strategy. 

Third option, how to protect yourself is to sign an agreement, but this is more as a moral pressure tool on the customer than a real guarantee in case something goes wrong. Customers and contractors are often located in different cities and no one will want to battle over the dispute being mile away.