As a freelancer, we understand that you wear a lot of hats. From the actual job, the follow-thru on payment, handling taxes; it’s easy to get caught up in feeling overwhelmed. It’s for this exact reason that having a clearly defined contract is so important. As a designer, this may feel like you’re working with the wrong side of your brain.
Luckily, we are here to help demystify some of these things and make sure you know the absolute “must-haves” any agreement you draft up should include.
1. Outline The Process
When working with a client it can be easy to gloss over the “How” and only focus on the “What.” Meaning, often times you will come to an agreement on what the finished product should be and not necessarily the steps you need to take to get there.
In any agreement make sure you outline the key benchmarks and feedback methods you’d like to set up in order to stay on track.
2. Get Clear On Payment
In any business deal knowing your worth is key. The same should ring true when drafting your contract. The murkier the payment specifics the easier it is to not get paid, simple as that. By creating exact payment dates, whether that be something arbitrary or at the completion of the job, you can remain on top of getting your money.
Another beneficial thing to do is ask for an upfront deposit. Prepayment is helpful when working with a new client. It allows both parties to stay focused and helps instill trust early on.
3. Know Your Rights
In another blog post I talked about being wary of the “Work For Hire” agreement. Now, contracts like this in the design space are a little more common than in music; but that doesn’t mean that that always has to be the case. A “Work For Hire” agreement gives your client 100% right to do whatever they wish with your finished product.
If you feel like the price you’re agreeing to isn’t fair, then there is nothing wrong with charging more. Clearly understanding your usage rights is critical to any contract you sign.
4. Revisions. Revisions. Revisions
The job isn’t done until it’s done. That may sound repetitive, but that is just a fact of doing business. It is important not only to meet your deadline but to also maintain a healthy working relationship with your client. Many times I’ve been on the wrong end of an agreement where I found myself making the 8th tweak to a logo with my only design notes being, “Can you make this pop more?”
It’s important to avoid that at all cost. The best thing to do is to clearly outline the number of acceptable revisions on any job. This client may not know how much work goes into something, and that’s perfectly okay – it’s why they called you.
By outlining that your willing to do 3 revisions max, it allows your client to be more careful and precise with the changes that they might ask to make.
Have any other contract “must-haves” as a designer? Feel free to let us know and be sure to download Quiktract, the easiest way to draft up your next design agreement!