Note : This is NOT just aimed at logo designers.
Thought it would be interesting and useful to see how other designers word their contracts and proposals, so this post sets out to achieve just that.
I don’t use a contract, don’t believe they are worth the paper they are printed on. If someone wants to screw you, a contract is not going to stand in their way, more so if they are overseas. If you are freelancer with a non paying client, trying to enforce a contact will just send you to the crazy pit, or at the very least, cost you financially and emotionally. For personal reasons, I have had enough of the legal system, and have every reason to what to avoid the unrealistic dramas that unfold in a courtroom.
So what can we do to protect ourselves?
Up and till now, I have still tried to play the roll of ‘reasonable and open to negotiation gentlemen designer‘, assuming there are people out there with integrity and honest thoughts. For the most part this has worked out well for me, no painfully dull and complicated contracts and a fair and reasonable deposit/payment option. But there has been a few instances of dishonest clients abusing my good will, that have had to make me question my methods.
Right now, I have had it up to here – stretching arms as high as the sky – and need to firm up certain areas.
As a freelancer, just one instance of a client playing silly buggers is enough to derail you emotionally and financially.
So to business
Do you have a water tight contract? Maybe you don’t use a contract but have other means at your disposal to ensure that you are financially rewarded as promised for your work. Maybe you just have a detailed proposal that the client is bound to when they pay the deposit, a form of acceptance of your terms etc. Maybe your small print is detailed, your ass is covered, yet it all comes across as quite reasonable, because of the way you word it. Do you use any form of digital signatures that a client has to sign and approve before you take them on? Are your terms and conditions’ worded neutrally or have you gone for the pre-emptive ‘take no shit’ approach? Do you get anything in writing, do you use Escrow for larger logo/design projects? Do you ask for full payment up front, regardless of the budget, or do you use one of a few percentage methods 50-50/25-50-25/75-25 or do you have another method to secure your work is paid for.
Whatever system you use that WORKS, would you consider sharing your reasoning and methods with other designers?
Share your methods
The more we can learn how other designers protect ourselves, the better it will be for both designer and client.
My plan is to highlight how a variety of designers prep their paperwork, prior to taking a client on, to ensure they are at the least possible risk of being caught out.
This isn’t limited to logo designers, but any form of creative service where once a client see’s a design/proof, you are at risk of them running a mile without paying.
Depending on how many replies I get, this may be a one off post, or ideally, a mini-series highlighting a designer and their fire proof method of handling the contractual/proposal and invoicing aspects of the client relationship.
I would like to feature each designer, with small bio and background and a run through of your procedures. Maybe a few real world examples of when you had been ripped off that lead to you firming up your back-end. And to top it off, a specially formatted template based on your own to make available as a download, either to be used as a whole or to only take the bits needed.
The reality is, not every system will be 100% appropriate for someone else. With a variety of examples to study, we can mix and match and create a much broader and well defined method of working that reduces the loop holes and makes for a better experience.
If you are interested in sharing your preferred way of working with clients, then please send me an email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Or leave a comment below, either or.
If you do want to send a detailed email, for now, just email and tell me in a few words how you work the ‘contract/proposal/invoicing’ aspect. Once I have this general outline in my head, I can get back in touch with you so we can work on a more detailed post of your methods.
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