Low-paying clients are like cheap toilet rolls.

Jo Driscoll
3 min readMay 7, 2023
Photo by Elly Johnson on Unsplash

A big temptation when starting freelancing or when business is slow is picking off the low-dangling fruit. Desperate for any work, it is all too easy to accept low-paying jobs.

Taking on low-paying jobs in itself is not always necessarily a bad thing. If you’re lucky enough to take on jobs that you can easily bash out and get paid for, they can become a great little stopgap.

My main issue with low-paying jobs is they’re normally served by clients who don’t value freelancers enough to pay them their worth. And when a client doesn’t value your worth, you can bet your arse they’ll become a huge pain in it, your arse, that is.

Chances are, that neat little job of writing a 500-word blog article will turn into a monster headache of multiple revisions, and at the end of it, the client still won’t be satisfied.

I’m in plenty of Facebook groups and see this sort of problem pop up all the time. Not surprisingly, it often happens on Fiverr where cheap clients find a way to cheat the system and get the work done for free by cancelling the order after the work is done. Sadly for freelancers, Fiverr is weighted in favour of the buyers.

So, why are low-paying clients like cheap toilet rolls? Because they’re a false economy. Buying a cheap toilet roll means you end up having to buy more of it because it’s crap quality (pun intended). Per sheet, the cost works out to be more than with a quality roll which lasts longer.

If you take on low-paying clients, you’re spending your billable time on jobs instead of work which would net you a higher hourly average. You’ll have to work harder and faster to make the same kind of money you could make by charging more in the first place.

Your income will stretch much further, charging more and working less!

Let’s say you want to make £500 per week. If the work you do works out to an average of £10 per hour, you’ll need to work a 50-hour week. By contrast, charging a £25 per hour average, you only need to work a 20-hour week.

Higher-paying clients tend to be less hassle and place more value on your worth. Not a hard and fast rule, of course, merely an observation. And even if your higher-paying clients start requesting…