What should you do when you're offered to do different stages of work from two different clients (i.e. agencies) for the same project?

By different stage of work, I mean the working stage and the verification (QC) stage, which generally should require two different persons. The projects were outsourced, hence this incidence can occur.

I know turning down one is a must, but what to do when this situation keeps coming and you signed NDA with both parties (with the clause that you cannot tell anyone that you work for them)?

It seems that I am the main freelancer for both clients. For the first client, I already worked with them in many projects in verification stage and I'm sure that they ask for my availability first before other freelancers; for the second client, they just stated that they want me to be their 'main freelancer' for their 'client', which seemingly they get outsourced from the first client - and they get outsourced because of the 'test' they asked me to do to qualify to be the outsourcer of this first client.

Any advice is appreciated.

  • Both clients want 'exclusive' rights to your work?
    – morsor
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


Pick a client... turn the other one down. You know you can't do both. The only ethical thing to do is to turn one down. There's no tightrope you can walk. There's no delicate balance you can pull off. The ONLY way you could do both is if the two clients for some reason realized (on their own) that they were both sending you work for the same project(s).

It's not fun when this happens, but there's really nothing more you can do without risking your reputation with all your clients. I've been in a similar situation.... under an NDA and offered a job I wanted, but it conflicted with previous NDA work... so had to turn down the new job. Hated doing that.


You have a conflict-of-interest. It is your responsibility only to make sure YOU can't get into any kind of trouble as a result. If the client for the quality-control stage doesn't ask, whatever. Cover your own behind. That MIGHT mean declaring yourself unfit due to the conflict.

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