Whether you might be just starting out in a business or a seasoned “skilled” it is best to have a contract when doing business – if not for your individual safety, but for the security of your clients.
Not a day goes by that I do not hear horror stories about misunderstandings on projects that might have easily been prevented with a straightforward contract.
Simply, they state the work you might be providing and the associated fee involved. They also needs to indicate what is just not included, resembling incidental material costs and excessive copy changes, etc. Always put into writing your intent and email it to the client.
His or her email response, together with the “deposit” is an contract of the agreement. For added security, have them sign a replica of the contract and mail or fax it to you. My policy is that I don’t begin any work until the down payment has been paid and the contract is signed and delivered. This not only protects my business, but in addition shows me that the shopper is serious about his or her intents.
When you’ve gotten developed a great, solid relationship along with your client, then monthly billings are the norm. But until then, 50 % down is just not unheard of. After all, you take a risk doing work – and most of the time, monies owed are usually not paid based upon the client “not liking the design.”
Remember, you might be hired to do a job – and it’s as much as the potential client to research your design ability and make the choice to rent you, based upon the findings. You are usually not hired to “make them completely satisfied.”
Now that will sound cold-hearted, and I care about every one of my clients, and the work I do for them. However, once I am hired, for instance, to do a logo – I’m hired to design a logo – based upon their specifications. After an inexpensive amount of time, if they only do not like the designs I give you – they’re still obligated to pay for my service. I do try and rectify the job and pinpoint the “problem”, but unless the client can in some way convey their desires, I just have not perfected “reading minds.”
And I do expect to be paid for my effort. But a Professional Designer will have the opportunity to work with the shopper, and eventually, completing the project to the clients’ satisfaction. In the 23 years I even have been providing marketing and design, there have only been 3-4 instances where I just wasn’t in a position to design the project to the satisfaction of the shopper – and on one occasion, they refused to pay, as they decided to shut the business. I ultimately needed to sue for the $100! Can you imagine, tarnishing your credit, not to say your fame, over such a small sum of money!
The principal reason I used to be in a position to collect the cash easily is because I had a written and signed agreement for the project. I also had documentation that the logos were delivered – it was principally “no contest”.
I used to be in a position to satisfy the opposite clients, by hiring outside of my office. I discovered a compatible match for his or her needs and all were completely satisfied ultimately. And that’s your ultimate goal: Satisfaction and repair.
In closing, remember art is relative. You can’t be every thing to everyone. And not everyone seems to be going to love your design style – but many will. So, remember to be skilled, and assured in your work. Have a portfolio of samples to display your design style, and above all, have a contract ready for the signing!