Last week I had a new freelance video editing project come in. My #1 freelance writing client wanted a video created and turned to me to do the editing. I got going with it, working almost a full day over the course of a handful of nights and a Saturday morning. Then I got an email saying to stop working on the project and that they wanted to table it for a couple months while they work up a larger marketing campaign.

Well, damn. I spent almost a day on this thing and I’m going to have to wait to get paid until we complete the project… 

But that didn’t happen. I was told to bill for the hours I’ve spent so far. The next day I had a few hundred bucks sitting in my PayPal account. Reasons like this are exactly why I love working with this company.

Sure, my project got put on hold and I made a fraction of what I would have otherwise but something happened outside of my point of contact’s control and they made good on the work that I got done and paid me immediately. These are traits of a great freelance client.

Below I’ve brainstormed a few more traits of a great freelance client, specifically for video editors. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Traits of a Great Freelance Video Editing Client

A great video editing client gives you direction in what they’re looking for.

If they don’t give you direction then they are open to whatever your creative juices give them.

They answer any questions you have to their best ability without being annoyed.

They pay you your standard rate without snide commentary or pushback. (Here’s my standard rate)

They pay you quickly and through a medium you’re comfortable with.

The best freelance video editing clients go through two rounds of revisions, max.

You are able to use whatever software that works best for you. If you want to do everything in FCPX, cool. If you want to use Media Composer, cool. If you want to use Windows Movie Maker, good luck but cool.

New around here? Check out the Edit Video Faster Archives to see everything on the site.

Projects come at a rate you can handle. You aren’t dumped ten projects and have two weeks to get them done. And you aren’t given one project every six months (unless they’re very large projects like a feature or series).

Ideal freelance video editing clients know video lingo. You can talk in normal video terms without having to dumb it down for them. They know what they want and how to describe it to you.

They understand the limits of what can be done, what they’re paying you for, and what you can actually do. I can’t make a 3D world for somebody but I can fix most poorly shot green screens and make a heck of a story out of minimal b-roll.

They label files properly.

When you are done with a project you are reaffirmed that you’ve made the right career choice. Who needs to own a Tesla anyway?

They refer you to other people and businesses.

You can communicate with them easily and by whatever means you’re most comfortable doing (e.g. email, phone, text, smoke signal).

They understand you have other commitments and just because you have other work or other things going on that their project is still important to you and you’re doing the best you can.

The best video editing clients you feel good working with them. It’s nothing you can calculate; it’s just a feeling you get somewhere deep down.


That’s all I can think of. Do you have more to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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– Josh // Getting back into this whole writing thing