I have been recieiving a few "Invitations to Interview" from clients who were not solicited. Most of them have been requesting me to edit a few documents to "see if we would be a good fit". I have refused many of those and have never provided any fre work for a client.
What are the best practices for handling these requests? Should I charge them full price, half price, or provide the free sample?
How are opportunities to get free work from freelancers quickly identified?
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If a client needs a sample of your work, they should set up a small contract and pay you for it. Asking a FL to perform any work for free is strictly against UW's ToS and we can and should report any client who does so. That said, many clients using the platform for the first time are just as likely as newbie FLs not to read the rules. If you are interested in the project, there's nothing wrong with telling the client that free sample is a no-no and offering to do a small paid sample. If they refuse that, walk away and report them. If you're not interested in the work anyway, walk away and report them. Nobody profits by teaching the cheapskates to take advantage of FLs who are desperate to win work.
That said, it is not against the rules for a FL to offer a free sample. But we should all save that for when we're pitching a big, juicy project where it's worth investing some time and energy on spec.