The Most Common Problems with Clients:

Red Flag or not?

There are many articles on the internet about clients' red flags in cooperation. But some of these red flags can be dealt with, and we'll tell you about the most common problems with clients.

Over 9 years of working with clients on Upwork, we have formed our vision, and in this article, we will share it with you.

Unrealistic Expectations

There are cases when clients want results without investing enough budget. Sometimes, this indicates undervaluing the freelancer's work, but other times, there may be a lack of understanding of the technical side of the task or project from the client's side. What seems like a simple task to the client for a few hours can be long-term work with results.

How to deal with it? If the problem is that the client poorly understands the task, you can explain in detail the complexity of the task and the work plan. Also, providing a detailed estimate from your side will help the client understand why so much time and money are needed for this task. In our team, we believe that honesty and realism from our side - is the best way to cooperate and it helps to prevent a lot of problems.

Poor Communication Skills

Pay attention to this point if you want not only to make money from the project but also to live happily during the work on it. If the client communicates unclearly or behaves disrespectfully, it is a serious reason to refuse cooperation.

We believe that quality communication is a key factor in collaboration, and in our article "4 Basic Communication Rules at Etcetera", we talk about the principles that each team member learns during onboarding of our agency. Although they may seem trivial to some people, in fact, it's impressive how these 4 details can have such a big impact on achieving great results and avoiding conflicts.

Unjustified Changes in the Project

Such clients can be divided into two categories - the first category makes justified changes, and the second - chaotically introduces changes that are not needed.

How to deal with it? In this case, it is important to explain to the client how their changes will affect the project budget, and that a significant part of the work already done may turn out to be a waste of time. If the client is willing to pay for changes and take responsibility for the risks, then it is worth continuing cooperation. Clients who cannot justify the changes in their thoughts are unlikely to be satisfied with the result of your work because their views have changed, and you have done the work according to the initial agreements. It is better to avoid such situations and part ways as early as possible on a good note.

Distrust of the Freelancer's Expertise

Of course, at the beginning of cooperation, a slight distrust from the client may be present. But if the client starts excessively controlling every step you take, not listening to your proposals, not being satisfied with the result because their expectations do not match reality, and you constantly prove that you are trustworthy - this is a serious red flag.

How to deal with it? From your side, you can offer an alternative: either the client starts to trust you more as an expert, or - end of cooperation.


Before starting work, it is important to check the reviews about the client to form your own opinion about their reputation. However, don't be too categorical about negative reviews. Each person has their view of conflicts, and one or two bad reviews are not a reason to refuse a client. But if you notice a negative pattern in the reviews that repeats or a review about the client's actions that do not correspond to your values, then it is worth being cautious.

Also, try to use the time before opening the contract to form your own vision of cooperation with this person.

We hope this article will allow you to choose clients more qualitatively and, as a result, have an effective and pleasant cooperation.

On our website, there are more articles about clients and approaches to them to improve and simplify your work in freelancing, for example, how to identify client needs or the article "Who are Etcetera clients?" where we analyzed 45 of our regular clients over the past 3 years and shared the results.

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