With Freelancing, It’s super important that you have a document that keeps both you and your client accountable for your actions and process throughout the entire project. The “contract” is that guiding piece of paper that can do just that. When I first started out on this whole adventure, my contract was pretty weak. It included what I thought were the necessary things like timelines, payment and top line expectations. It wasn’t later that I realized you really have to get into the nitty gritty to save yourself.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way…
1. Late Fees: Within your contract, you need to state when the final payment is DUE and what happens if that payment is not received. I’ve found that the stricter your policy, the more likely your client will pay on time.
2. Rounds of Revisions: Your contract also needs to state how many rounds of revisions are allowed before a penalty is applied. Abiding by a certain amount of revisions helps guide your client in making thoughtful design decisions and prevents them from abusing their email correspondence with you.
3. Hourly Rate vs Flat Rate: I have learned to state that “any design element outside of the design brief/contract” will be billed at an hourly rate. This also keeps your clients honest to the original contract or agreement.
4. List of Deliverables (both parties): This may seem like over kill, but I’m telling ya…if you don’t say EXACTLY what you expect, clients tend to lose sight of what was in the original plan. I learned this the hard way and ended up doing a lot of work for free.
I’d love to hear if you’ve made any discoveries along the way. I’m always trying to improve my process and love hearing from you guys!