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In the case of needing a certain amount of articles, let's say 50, is it better to ask for an example of how the freelancer would write a single article before awarding the bid or after doing it?

Ask for an example first:

  • Pros: you see if the style and the way the freelancer writes fits your needs
  • Cons: the freelancer is somehow working for free (?)

Award bid and then ask for an example:

  • Pros: respects freelancer job, no free samples
  • Cons: if you don't like their style or isn't what you need then you may lose money due to having already awarded the project and may incur in some escrow dispute.

What is more practical and fairer for both parties?

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Definatley ask for example first. It's not unreasonable to ask to see an example. When we go for interviews for jobs, we are providing an example of ourselves, with the risk of 'wasting time'. You can look at it the same way. They want the work, and you want to make sure it won't be a waste of time and money. Asking for an example is reasonable for the type of work, and most workers in that area will have a portfolio of some kind anyway.

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What is the point of asking for a preview after awarding the contract? If you're happy with it, great, continue with the project. If you're unhappy with it, oh well, you're already committed, so continue with the project. I don't see how getting a preview after awarding the bid is anything other than a waste of time, since it won't change how the project progresses.

  • This looks like a comment, not a full-featured answer. – bytebuster Mar 7 '18 at 21:20
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Freelancers will have a portfolio of past work.

The purpose of a portfolio is for the freelancer to be able to show examples of their previous projects/work. They may have a range of styles or methods they are comfortable with and the portfolio should showcases some of their better work in those areas/styles. Freelancers set up portfolios so they don't have to do any "free" work but can still show off their skills to potential clients.

Reviewing a portfolio should be enough to give you a sense of style and abilities. All you need to do is request to see their portfolio.

No one should ever enter an escrow agreement (or ANY contract) with the full intention of breaching that agreement if the mood strikes them. It's unethical and could possibly constitute fraud to a degree. At the very least it's a really horrible thing to do to others. Quite honestly, you posting you'd do that would be enough for me to decline ANY work from you. I mean, how do I know if you'll ever pay me or merely randomly decide you don't want to adhere to any payment contract? You do understand what a contract is, right?

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