20 Warning Signs To Help You Avoid A Potentially Bad Client



The Warning Signs to Avoid a Bad Client

As a professional translator and/or interpreter, your offline, and online reputation is one of your main assets; but, what about the reputation of your potential clients?  

Here are 20 warning signs that may help you assess if a potential client might not be good for you or will mean problems down the line.

20 Warning Signs To Help You Avoid A Potentially Bad Client

Note: Most of these points apply to clients that are businesses and not individuals.


Use the following warning signs below as a check list to help you find, check, and investigate for potential problems.  



Most of these are common sense but being human as we are, we sometimes tend to forget, and overlook the obvious.  



You are welcome to use this as a simple guideline to help you.

 1. NONEXISTENT ONLINE. 

The potential client does not have a website or any online presence.  At the very least, the potential client should be in an online directory, on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc) or a review site like yelp.

2. WEBSITE MISSING CONTACT INFORMATION.

Potential client does have a website but it is missing the most crucial information, their contact information.  

3. WEBSITE MISSING SOME CONTACT INFORMATION.

Contact information should include: 1) legal business name, 2) employee(s) full name, 3) physical address, 4) telephone number, 5) corporate email, 6) tax number-if applicable, 7) VAT ID number-if applicable, etc... 

4. CONTACT INFORMATION IS HARD TO FIND.

Is the contact information easy to find on the client's website?  Is it completely, clearly and prominently displayed on their website?

5. EMPLOYEE(S) NOT IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES.

The potential client, another words, the people behind the company do not identify themselves completely on or offline.

6. INCOMPLETE OR INCORRECT REGISTERED BUSINESS NAME.

The potential client's business name is incomplete or incorrect.

7. USING A P.O. BOX OR VIRTUAL OFFICE.

The potential client does not have a physical address but instead uses a P.O. box or virtual office.

8. USING A BAD PHONE NUMBER.

The potential client has a non-working number or non-geographic number.

9. PHONE AND COMPANY INFORMATION DO NOT MATCH.

The potential client has a working phone number, but a simple reverse look-up does not match with the company information.

10. USING A FREE EMAIL PROVIDER.

The potential client does not use a corporate email, instead uses a free email service provider like Yahoo or Gmail.

11. TAX & VAT ID DO NOT MATCH THE COMPANY INFORMATION.

A quick query of your potential client at your local government office to check tax id and/or VAT does not match the company information.

12. HAS INCORRECT OR NO DOMAIN REGISTRATION DATA.

A simple look-up of the potential client's website on whois.com, and the domain registration data does not match the company information.

13. IP ADDRESS IS NOT FROM WHERE CLIENT CLAIMS TO BE LOCATED.

A simple look-up of the potential client's IP address, and the location does not match from where the client claims to be located.

14. DIFFERENT CONTACT INFORMATION IN VARIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA.

Potential client has different contact information in various online social media.

15. PLENTY OF BAD ONLINE REVIEWS.

The potential client has a Yelp business account (or similar site) with a handful of bad reviews.  You ask about your client's reputation among colleagues and online business forums like groups in LinkedIn and get negative feedback. 

16. ON BLACKLISTS, BAD PAYMENT PRACTICES OR SIMILAR SITES.

You conduct searches on Google and LinkedIn on your potential client, company and employees.  Google advanced search with the following keywords "complaint", "scam", etc.  The potential client or employees are on a blacklist, bad payment practices lists, groups, blogs and/or directories.

17. HAS BEEN OR IS CURRENTLY IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW.

The potential client has a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau or Department of Consumer Affairs.

18. HAS BEEN OR IS CURRENTLY IN LITIGATION.

The potential client has been sued (Small Claims Courts etc.), currently being sued or is a regular in the legal system.

19. NOT REGISTERED TO CONDUCT BUSINESS.

The potential client is not formally a registered company in the state they operate from.

20. BUSINESS LICENSE REVOKED.

The potential client is not licensed to conduct business.


20 Warning Signs To Help You Avoid A Potentially Bad Client


If the potential client is transparent about themselves and their business that most likely means the client has nothing to hide and odds are they would make a good client.

A potential client that is not completely honest or transparent, does not instill trust and will most likely mean bad news down the line.

In other words, trust your research (never rely on only one source) and your gut.

Just like you are expected to be honest and professional, expect the same from your clients.

Starting off all your business relationships right helps you avoid all kinds of problems down the line.

Always remember to retain all correspondence between yourself and the client just in case you need to resolve a dispute in the future.

So there you have it.

There are just a few items worth consideration before accepting any job.

I imagine there are much more other good points and if you know of any please let me know so they may be added to the list.



20 Warning Signs To Help You Avoid A Potentially Bad Client

As always, thank you for reading and sharing my posts. Please if any of my blogs inspire you, give credit where credit is due.  Let's be fair, honest, and professional. Let's help each other be great and stay great!

 Feel free to connect or email me, Carmen Arismendy.  I'm a professional Spanish interpreter-translator and founder of eLingual.Net.  I started the eLingual Network because I could not find a fair, no middleman, no job bidding, ethical, and transparent meeting place for translators, interpreters, and clients online.  The website is in beta phase and by no means perfect but it's a step in the right direction.
eLingual.Net's mission is to spread happiness worldwide through happy translators, interpreters, and clients.
For the professional translator and interpreter, this means no middleman, no job bidding, the freedom of setting their own fees, having control over their services, and who they choose to work with.
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