Saturday, April 08, 2006

Freelancing Contract

Sometimes, a none-paying client is all you need to be discouraged from pursuing a freelancing career and opt instead to receive a flat salary every month being employed. Freelancing pays good if you know how to make your clients pay. You don't even need force, just a piece of paper will do. What you need is a Freelancing Contract.

Freelancing Contract How-To
About.com, one of the best resource site in the internet has this guide on how to create a simple contract you can have your client signed. From that article I give you the steps here.

  1. You can create any sort of document that appears as an invoice. Many word processing programs contain a document wizard and several invoice templates. Open up one of these templates or create a new one.
  2. Your contract needs to be as specific as possible. In the upper right hand corner of the document you can type the words SERVICE TERMS, CONTRACT or any other variation in a bold, 12 or 14 point font size (larger than the rest of your contract type).
  3. On the left side, type your name, title, address, telephone, fax, Email, etc. Make sure all of your contact information appears here.
  4. On the right, type the date and complete contact information for your client.
  5. Assign the project a job number and write it down for your records. Also include this information on your contract, usually above the client's contact information for easy reference.
  6. Make a few lines to detail the job description. If you're giving a price quote for a TV commercial, write as much detail as you can. For example: Job Description: Joe's Used Cars (:30 TV Commercial)
  7. Are you charging by the hour or offering a flat rate? If charging by the hour, be sure to put your hourly rate on the contract and an estimate of how long it will take you to complete the project. If you're charging a flat rate, be sure to put on your contract that this is the bottom line price.
  8. Your contract can resemble an invoice (lines for a description, price, etc.) to be more professional. Of course, you don't want the word INVOICE to appear on your contract. But you can easily save a copy of this document as an invoice so when you complete your work, you can send an invoice that mirrors your contract. Less confusion and less room for debate over paying up.
  9. Now you're ready for the heart of your contract. Be very specific on what the client is getting. Just because you have your policies on your Web site doesn't mean you can be skimpy in your wording here. Example:
    Commercial Copy
    • Copy Due DATE
    • Revisions and rewrites included as defined in policy
    • Payment for services due within XX days of final revision
  10. Type in your price for the project (or estimated hours if you are working on an hourly rate). If you are working on an hourly rate, be sure to include terms on how you handle going over the hourly estimate. If you estimate 3 hours at $100 an hour and you come back with a job time of 8 hours, you're going to have a hard time convincing the client to honor their end of the deal.
  11. Write a line that acknowledges the client is accepting the terms by signing the contract. If you are doing your business via fax, as most freelancers hardly meet their clients these days, you'll want to tell the client they need to sign the contract and fax it back to you. You will sign the contract before you send it to them for their signature so they will have your signature on their copy.
  12. Make two lines at the bottom of the contract. One for you with your name typed below the line and one for your contact person at the ad agency or individual business with their name typed underneath the line. This will be your signature lines when you and a client accept each other's terms.
  13. Save your contract so you can plug in the details for your next project without having to start all over again.
  14. That's it! To see a sample of your finished contract, click on the link under the "Related Resources" section at the bottom of this page.

4 comments:

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