While signing on new clients, ask for an advance. Their reaction will tell you how serious they are.
In the entire time that I’ve done business, I’ve relied on trust. Yep, you heard me. I trust my clients to do the right thing, just as I would for them. However, trust doesn’t get spun out of thin air. It’s something you have to actively build. More importantly, they should too.
If you’re thinking that they’re a big company and they have a reputation, which makes them trustworthy, LOL. The bigger the company, more the power, lesser fucks to give. What they say, the promises they make, the ‘word’ they give you means squat if they’re not willing to demonstrate trust.
Paying an advance for the first project is a way of demonstrating they are trustworthy.
P.S: I don’t always get advance. Sometimes, I take the leap of faith, go by a gut feel. But I will always ask. How they react informs how I conduct business with them. (And I don’t do free trials, but you already know that).