While it is generally clear enough that you should outline such important details as the desired word count, the writing style, and the format by which the article should be delivered, there are other areas that you should work out before getting started too. The more ambiguity that you can remove, the better off you’ll be in the long run. This is why it is so important to be clear when defining roles, responsibilities and expectations.
When handling freelance writing clients, it is in your best interest to take very little for granted. I’ve come into situations where, for example, I provided a quote to write an article with the assumption that I would only have to make a minor correction here or there if necessary. What ended up happening was a constant back-and-forth relay of drafts with far too many revisions.
What I initially perceived as a relatively simple project for a rather modest fee ended being quite the exercise in frustration for all parties involved. I didn’t burn any bridges, but it did teach me the importance of making the specifications of the project as clear as possible. These days, I generally include a note about how many revisions are included when I provide a rate quote. This way, the client knows up front that multiple revisions may come at an additional cost.
Clear Voice, Clear Head
Don’t assume that certain aspects of your business relationship are self-evident. Don’t assume that when you send that PayPal invoice that it’ll get paid in the next couple of days. I haven’t enforced it yet, but I do have a note on many of my invoices about late payment charges. Again, this ensures that there is as little ambiguity as possible and I appreciate it when clients provide me with the same level of clarity.
Ultimately, one of the reasons why you may perceive someone to be a bad client is because of a breakdown in communication. One or both parties was unclear in articulating its expectations of the relationship and this can build itself up to be a much larger problem. Avoid that by being as clear as possible (and get it in writing).