What to Do When a Client Treats You like a Salaried Employee

Successful freelancers have lots and lots of clients. They go where they are needed. They tackle one project after the other, not stopping for anything.

Different than many salaried employees, there are no meaningless meetings. There are no long chit chats at the water cooler. There are no moments for listening to cat stories from over the cubicle. A successful freelancer is an efficient problem solver that moves quickly from task to task.

So what is a freelancer to do when a client wants to bring this efficiency show to a standstill? That’s what this post will let you know. We will explore what to do when a client treats you like a salaried employee.

If the ‘Extras’ Are Important Enough – Who Cares?

Sometimes the extra tasks are important. A weekly call for instance may result in a smooth week ahead. Spending time on their social media pages may show the client that you’re really invested in the well-being of the company. So these are fine. But if things get out of hand – or if they aren’t helping to begin with – it’s time for protection.

Practice Safe Freelancing

Protection. I would actually say ‘padding’ but thanks to lawyers that word has a very negative connotation.

Let’s say you have two clients. One client that you invoice every two weeks and that’s about all the interaction you have with them. You always do a great job. They always pay on time. The second client though wants you on a weekly call, wants you replying to all blog comments, wants you to attending company outings and may generally have a lack of respect for your time. Again, if these are all relationship building activities – great. But if you’re getting very little results from them – it’s time for protection.

The protection comes in the form of money. You can’t possibly charge the first client and the second client the same price. Your time must be compensated. After all, time is our greatest asset. Remember. It’s a matter of protecting your time, not being greedy.

Explain to the client that, because of the time involved, you will need a raise. A good client will understand and happily give you the raise. Much of the time, they just don’t realize the value of time.

Why Many Freelancers Get Treated like Salaried Employees

I believe this happens most with companies who aren’t used to dealing with freelancers. After all, our behavior always resembles the people we are around most. It’s like how a college professor may have great respect for college-aged people. But the manager of a construction crew may look at college-aged students as merely strong backs. People who treat you like a salaried employee are simply used to doing things that way. This is also why it’s important not to get angry with the client.

With that said, do not assume the worst in a client. Do not think they are out to waste your time. They probably just don’t know any better. After all, most clients are used to dealing with salaried employees – many of whom could care less what their employer does with their time. But you’re a freelancer. You respect your time a great deal. Inform your client that it is valuable. And may your dollars per hour go sky high.

Keep working efficiently. Keep making lots of money. Keep guarding your time.