A Matter of Trust

08Nov07

Recently we had a potential client come to us through an unusual source. While it’s nice to be able to expand our client base the source of it created a potential problem: trust.

There is always a problem with trusting a new client. Just as they have a problem with trusting you. Until the relationship is established and there is a successful and mutually beneficial consideration both sides are somewhat wary. Many clients think that only they are at risk when entering into a transaction, but those who have been in business know the contractor also runs the risk. That goes double for freelancers and it multiplies again every time a client fails to pay. After a while you start to get a nose for the dodgy ones. It’s not foolproof by any measure but it’s close.

One of the ways we tell is how they came to choose us. Usually this is a referral or as a result of our advertising. There are lots of other ways but if you’re pleading for contractors on an obscure and unrelated forum, while claiming to be a big-player in the industry, then we’re going to be a little suspicious. Then there is what they want, and how they plan to achieve it. If they want the world – 5 camera coverage of a 2 hour show 3 times per week – then it starts to raise alarm bells. Especially if they believe a fair price is in the tens rather than the tens of thousands per week. Finally, there is how they behave. Especially around others. If a potential client introduces us to others as ‘our video guy’, while we’re still negotiating (or, as happened recently, before the job was even discussed) that’s usually another red-flag.

That doesn’t mean that we won’t do a 5 camera coverage of a 2 hour show 3 times per week for someone that pleaded on our blog while referring to us as their video guy. It just means that we’ll be wary and we’ll do some checking as to your bona fides. To see if you are in fact the Vice-President of a major recording label. And if you check out and accept our price then cool, we’re only too happy to do business with you. But if, like this new potential client, our search shows major discrepancies then chances are we’ll deem you too much of a risk. Sorry.

BTW all those are real world examples from the last 6 months.

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