Freelancing Nightmares That Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine


A few weeks ago we decided to create a comprehensive and honest guide, Hiring A Freelancer, to give you a full picture of what it feels like to work with a freelancer and how you can avoid the most common outsourcing nightmares.

Hiring a freelancer to help with some work can be a great thing, freeing up some time that you can devote to other tasks and also providing a professional touch to the job that you might not have gotten if you’d done it yourself. But it can also be a tricky proposition, not just for the client but also for the freelancer. Many times a freelancer will take on a job from a client only to have it turn into a nightmare. The nightmare can take any form, but it can prove to be especially nightmarish if the client turns out not to be very helpful…

Here are a few examples of freelancer nightmares that members of our PeoplePerHour freelancer community kindly shared with us on our Facebook page:

Melanie Morton, a PPH freelancer, once made the mistake of using only one client as a source of income without realising for a while that their business was on the rocks. She managed to turn things around for herself, though.


For Mashfika Monika, the first client proved to be a nightmare in the way that all people are worried about their first job. This was Mashfika’s first freelancing job and Mashfika worried that their client wouldn’t leave a good rating after they received the work. But they did leave a good rating, to Mashfika’s relief.


Erik Biglak had a big project coming due, and he hired out some work to a couple of people, but it turned into a big mess as they didn’t deliver what they promised. With a deadline fast approaching, he hired some people from PPH who managed to get things sorted out and complete the work on time. He’ll be sure to hire from PPH from now on.


Richy Bryne got burned by a client. His client didn’t pay him for a job and even took money from his Paypal for a previous job. The client refunded himself for the job a month after it was completed and refused to pay Richy and his team for the following month’s work. He managed to provide enough evidence to Paypal to eventually get his money back, but he’d already had to pay his team out of pocket.


Tudora Raluca had a hard time a first finding decent clients who wouldn’t underestimate her work and would leave decent feedback. She began to wonder if she should go back to office work, but after changing her client selection process, she had better luck with clients.


The above stories are just a sample of things freelancers have had to deal with from their buyers. Some not as bad as others, but still a nightmare!

Freelancers of PPH, if you have any tips for first-time buyers to help prevent a nightmare situation, please share them in the comments box below. We will be adding a new page to our Hiring a Freelancer Guide titled, ‘Freelancer’s Tips’ and we will be using your tips on this new page!


  • Faryad

    What about the nightmares of freelancers?

    Free workers, underbidders, trash sellers, useless updates, expensive and non-refundable proposal credits, wasted times/credits for fake jobs, buggy system, paying the price for other party’s dispute, etc etc.

    Is there anyone replying this?

  • Rachel Turner

    My tips:

    1. Where possible, try to get a sample of work from a new freelancer before hiring – something that will only take them a couple of minutes, but will let you know immediately if they can deliver what you’re after. Better still, where appropriate/possible, pay them to do a mini-project before letting them loose on a bigger one.

    2. Where possible, avoid using a new/unknown freelancer for a service with a short deadline. There will be no time to sort out any cock ups they make.

    3. Stick to PPH Terms & Conditions, even when they are counter-productive, if you have or are likely to have a dispute with your buyer or seller, or they will award the dispute to the other side on a technicality.

    My most recent ‘Freelancer Nightmare’ story has taught me all of the above, a costly lesson. I had an urgent project with a deadline of 8pm that evening, and a new but very willing freelancer who listed all the right qualifications and experience and assured me she could do the work well and by that deadline. It was a disaster. Terrible quality work, missed deadline, extremely rude responses despite my giving several ‘second chances’ and help. Long story short, I ended up doing the work myself, finishing at 2am.

    I requested a refund, she disputed it. PPH awarded her the money, despite seeing evidence of the appalling quality of the work and the missed deadlines, due to the fact that I had gone against the T&C which stated that I should have given her two opportunities to revise and resend the work. I can tell you that by 2am and 6 hours past deadline, there was no way I was giving her a further 2 x 6 hours to ‘try again’.

    In retrospect, I should have offered her the opportunity to stay up all night revising the work (even though I’d already done it myself by then). She no doubt would have said no, but at least I wouldn’t have broken the T&Cs.

    Hopefully my story will help other freelancers to avoid anything similar happening!


  • Josh

    As said by Faryad, what about freelancer nightmares?!

    Get rid of the dirty buyers; utilise a reporting system that actually works. Make a reporting system where PPH users with good reputations have more sway than new PPH users (as they will likely not abuse the system). When we report false buyers, you actually investigate them. Get rid of these buyers as they don’t add to the system at all, they simply annoy us and waste our time when we could be earning more money.

    Secondly, and more importantly, we are the backbone of the business, perhaps try to listen to the freelancers every so often.

  • Helen

    Agree to some extent with the above. Many many sellers walk part way down the path to awarding a job and then want a FREE sample tailored to their requirements. Given that they can usually be shown previous work, this is not necessary.

    When sellers stop appearing on PPH it is worrying, I have had one who after I sent the work in has never been on the site again. So has not even read the work.

    I suggest that anyone puts the full job amount in escrow, not a proportion as a deposit. That way, as I understand, PPH will make sure the escrow is released after 15 days of the invoice being sent.

  • mohamed ghareb

    freelance worker is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or a temporary agency that resells freelance labor to clients; others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work. “Independent contractor” would be the term used in a higher register of English that designates the tax and employment class of this type of worker, the term freelancing is most common in culture and creative industries and this term specifically motions to participation therein

  • Donella Daddie

    Don’t complete work on an open file format because your client can gain access to your work, transfer it over to their sheet, then and not pay you a penny for it.
    It happened to me just recently.

  • Faryad

    You are not alone Donella. Stealing works is something very common on PPH thanks to the creative strategies of platform developers.


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