05.02.12

ADVICE / 14

over the past few weeks we’ve been telling you how important a contract is when you are a freelancer. but i know some of you are like, “yeah yeah we get it. but what do i SAY in my contract?!” the answer is pretty long, but all of the points are super important…


THE ANSWER:

my contracts begin with stating who the client is and who i am. i describe what the job is and details of all the deliverables i’m responsible for. depending on the project i also include a timeline for concept, sketches, design rounds, final delivery of files, and dates for the clients feedback in between. then i include the fee or hourly rate i’m charging for that project. i discuss how many rounds they get for revisions and what it will cost if they need more revisions after the allotted amount.

after that i write about what happens if the client changes their mind half way through the project or doesn’t want to finish. if i’m charging a flat fee i list a kill fee for major steps in the process (ex: design round 2 – 80% of the fee). if i’m charging hourly i bill them for all the hours i worked. you can set up a payment plan whereyou get paid every 50 hours put in or if it’s a long ongoing project you can get paid every two weeks or a big sum at the end. i usually like a half way point payment and a final payment.

at the end i state what the usage rights are for the creative i’m providing. it could be a spot illustration that is only for a magazine article, or it could be a pattern blown out on multiple ways in print and digital forms. make sure to include a section about this and type out what exactly the artwork is getting used for. you’ll kick yourself when you see the client use your design in ways that you hadn’t discussed. it probably doesn’t look good because you didn’t design it for that purpose and they didn’t pay for the rights to it. you’ll be pissed. i’m speaking from experience. also include a statement about how the creative can not be used in any other form unless discussed and approved by you, the designer.

once both parties agree on the contract we sign, date and then i start working.

having a contract really helps guide the client and myself through the project process. it keeps us on track and is always a good reference if they are any hiccups along the way. it’s also good to run your contracts by a lawyer to make sure everything is buttoned up and you’re protected. it might not be affordable in the beginning but it’s important to budget that out. you contract can be straight forward, you can mix humor into it and/or design it to match your branding. you set the tone. you’re in control.

(illustration by katie evans. read more freelance advice posts are here. if you have a question you want answered, just leave us a comment in the box with it!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share

18 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Erin May  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 7:44 am

    THANK YOU! This series is so helpful to this fledgeling freelance designer/marketer.

    Are you ever oursourced to by an agency, rather than working directly with a client? If so, how do you protect yourself and your work then? Do you have to sign any non-competes?

    I can’t tell you how much this has educated me! Please keep it up.

  • 2. erin aka eef  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Great tips! I’ve been using a book for my legal forms, seems to cover most things although sometimes I edit the contracts a bit to suit my processes better! I wrote about the book I use here: http://eef-etc.com/2011/business-and-legal-forms-for-graphic-designers/

  • 3. Alexis  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:23 am

    This is great advice. As an attorney for creative business owners I’ve seen many people get into legal trouble because they didn’t have any agreement in place. Managing expectations at the beginning makes a big difference.

    BTW – Love this series.

  • 4. Sarah  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience!

    As designers, what are your favorite resources for keeping up with Photoshop updates and pushing yourself to learn more?

  • 5. Carly  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Bri, you rock! Thanks for this post packed full of answers to some burning questions. PS I’m thinkin “the contract” can set the pace for a healthy business relationship. Thanks again for the good thoughts!

  • 6. adele  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 10:07 am

    This is such great advice!
    Happy Wednesday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • 7. Ann  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I have a question about client gifts: who, what, when, why & how?

  • 8. Danie at Pasadya  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I really love this series. I keep saying it, but it’s just so true. I’d love to do graphic design for clients in the future, and your advice always coincides with what I need to do for art.

  • 9. anna  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    love this series. thank you for the advice!

  • 10. Laina  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Such great advice! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I’m living in the freelance world and have definitely learned how important contracts are. The one area I keep finding to be vague is in terms of “revisions”. How do you determine one round of revisions from the next?

  • 11. Gabriela  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 4:41 am

    This posts are really helpfull now that I’m starting my new business!! Thanks a lot Bri for having such an amazing space full of inspiration and directions! :)
    And thanks Katie !!!

  • 12. Nubbytwiglet.com » &hellip  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:11 am

    [...] • Designers, if you’re struggling with what to include in your contract, here are some good pointers. [...]

  • 13. Joy  |  May 4th, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Ladies! Thank you for sharing this information!!!! I wonder what do you think about websites that claim to provide support and secure connection between freelancers and clients such as guru.com? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that. Also, how do you find clients? What are ways in wich you network and find work? Again, THANK YOU, your advice is always helpful!!!

  • 14. Confessions of a Fledglin&hellip  |  July 12th, 2012 at 5:01 am

    [...] have read blog after blog after advice-giving blog about working with iron-clad contracts and adhering to strict deadlines and being firm about my hourly rate and when it came down to it, [...]

  • 15. Pat  |  May 6th, 2014 at 8:20 am

    We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with valuable info
    to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be grateful to
    you.

  • 16. drain auger  |  July 13th, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody?
    This piece of writing posted at this site is genuinely fastidious.

  • 17. cloud 9 queens hookah  |  July 20th, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of area .
    Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website.
    Reading this info So i am happy to show that I
    have a very just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed.
    I so much certainly will make sure to do not omit this website and give it a glance
    on a relentless basis.

    Here is my website … cloud 9 queens hookah

  • 18. karatbars international compensation plan  |  September 2nd, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

    Feel free to surf to my web-site :: karatbars international compensation plan

ADD COMMENT

hidden




Subscribe to Comments RSS  |  Trackback Post

||||||||||||||
 photo aboutpic_zps274091bc.jpg
FIND ME HERE
 photo press_zps16ed2344.jpeg
MY STYLE POSTS
 photo 2_zps8b7e2290.jpg
SIGN UP…
POPULAR POST
 photo floral_drink_selex_55_zps1a2677c7.jpg
LOVE THESE DISHES…
 photo plate_zpsde56ca7d.jpg
OUR MAILING LIST
 photo mail_zps0136b91f.jpg
FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM!
 photo ScreenShot2014-08-23at13127PM_zpsf56cf374.png
DIY POSTS
 photo ice-cream-10_zps28b00940.jpg
DLF VIDEOS
SPONSORS
MORE FUN
 photo jobboard-check_zps431bea8e.jpg
FREE TECH DOWNLOADS
 photo downloads_zpsd641254d.jpg
MY AD NETWORK
SERIOUS STUFF
Why hello there designlovefest readers! Welcome to my place of inspiration + creation. Thanks for stopping by. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so if at any time you see work that is improperly recognized, please send me quick note and I’ll gladly update the information.

Similarly, all graphic design elements and layouts present here were created specifically for designlovefest and should therefore be credited appropriately if reposted. We like to keep things nice and friendly here on the web, you see. It’s all about spreading the love. Ok, enough serious talk....go get inspired!