When you start out in running a business or as a freelancers, protecting yourself and your business through contracts and agreements is never something you think about. I know I only figured that I needed such document after making a few mistakes. Having contracts or agreement terms with clients you work with is very important. They need to know how payments, refunds, and cancellations are handled at the beginning of your working relationship, this way you avoid any misunderstandings and confusion.
After finally figuring out how I should go about this process, I created a simple terms & conditions document which I send to my once off & short term clients. This includes design work & website designs. For my long term & retainer clients I have a more detailed contract. This helps becuase sometimes asking clinets to sign documents can be quite daunting, whereas when you sned them a Terms & Conditions document, they don’t have to sign it but they automaically accept the conditions when they accept your costings and you do work for them.
As creatives we like short and not too complicated douments. So I’m going to help you understand what goes into this document, why and also share a template you can edit to fit your creative business.
STATEMENT OF WORK
This part can be more detailed on your quotation or price packgae sent to the client. So have something standard across all the work you offer. This is basically explaining what you have agreed to, the turn around time agreed costings. Which should be on your final invoice sent for payment.
The most important section is your payment terms, becuase this is one of the major issues we usually face as small businesses & freelancers. You need to make sure you state your expected time frame of payment after sending your invoice, 10 days, 15 day or 20 days.
Depending on the type of work you doing for the client, sometimes other costs my incur along the way, so you need to stay that if this happens and client agrees on it, they will be invoiced once work is done.
Last part is late payment. You need to have interest on late payment, should the client fail to pay within the stipulated time frame. This can be anything from 10%
Most creative work you can not really do refunds, more especially if you have started with the work, hence why you protect yourself by requesting for deposit before starting work and also full payment before handing over final work. But if you can do refund, depending on your business, you need to state those terms in this section.
Here is where you mention what you will be handing over to the client. So if you do websites, you will state where the website will be hosted, as some designers work with WordPress some work with Squarespace. If you do logos, then you need to state the type of file formats you will send, pdf, jpg, etc. Also if client paid for any imagery you can state that they will be sent the images should they see use for them in the future. This section is also important for photographers. As they would state if they will print the images, sent via a link for download or delivered via a disc/usb.
This is to make sure client knows what to expect and how to expect it when they receive their work.
More reserch can be done on what you can include in such an agreement, I don’t want to go into too much detail as all businesse can be different and we provide different services. You can however see legal advice if you can to draw up a more professional document. If not I have provided a simple template to assist with the process