Whether you are a freelance copywriter or programmer, you need to agree on a freelance contract with your clients. This will cushion you from some costly situations that may result from clients setting their terms. Sometimes such terms may not favour you.
I know your conscience says, “I don’t need a freelance contract. I already relate well with my clients.’’ Well, that`s a common error that most freelancers never realize. Test the waters and afterwards tell us the results.
How will you deal with situations like this?
A client decides to end the project in the middle of the project without notifying you. Open eyes! Oh man… you will lose a lot! Your time wasted, cash gone and much more.
I showed you how to create a freelance contract, but did I talk of the components? No. Now, here are the elements of a good freelance contract.
- Scope of the project
Before agreeing to work on any client`s project, define its scope. In your contract, define precisely what your contract entails.
For example, if the client wants a 26-page informational web copy, define clearly the word count for each article, enquire if there are specific keywords to be used, and much more.
Examine the difficulty level of the project. For example, it is much easier to write 2 blog posts each 500 words a day than to design a website in a day. Based on the ease of working on a project, you can set realistic deadlines.
In your freelance contract, you need to get specific on the price for the services you are offering. Be it copywriting, conversion pages like sales letters and landing pages and much more.
If it is hourly charges, ensure you state your ideal rates in your contract. Don’t charge too low as a way of attracting clients. That may not work well. Keep in mind that quality is associated with value, which may be related to the cost.
Ensure you have clear rush payment terms and rates in your contract. This is because most clients are ready to pay for work on a rush.
Depending on how long it will take you to complete the project and its complexity, come up with reasonable charges. Otherwise, if you charge too high, your clients may be scared away.
- Deposits or up-front fees
Requesting half or full up-front pay is a common practice. Clearly set your terms regarding up-front payments in your freelance contract. If you consider having the hard-nosed term like I do, don’t start any project unless you have cash in hand, and all information agreed upon.
- Deadline for final draft revisions
In your freelance contract, state clearly the information regarding deadlines for final draft revisions. This will cushion you from clients who may show up after 5 months demanding more changes.
- Guarantee Satisfaction
Do you guarantee satisfaction to your clients? Kindly include such a clause in your contract. This strengthens your client`s confidence in you.
If you are sure you cannot deliver high-quality stuff to your client, please don’t even embark on the project. Otherwise, you will embarrass yourself properly and ruin your reputation in the freelancing industry.
- Kill fee
Wait a minute! Don’t go overboard define this as payment for murder!
The kill fee is simply the amount you charge a client as a penalty for cancelling an ongoing project. In your freelance contract, make it clear how much the client will have to pay for cancelling an ongoing contract without any notice. This amount could be a certain percentage of the up-front fee or the full up-front fee.
Such terms will make your clients give all details and get serious before they waste your time.
- Significant project changes
In your freelance contract, include the terms and conditions regarding the change of project nature midstream. You could probably say that any major alterations in the initial project instructions will call for a revisit on the project terms. This could include major changes in both pricing and time needed to complete the project.
- Final copyrights
Don’t forget to mention something about copyrights in your freelance contract. Mostly, the copyright goes to the client. However, you should include conditions that you may use such work for your professional portfolio.
- Expiration date
As a professional freelance, you need to plan your work. Don’t just assume that your client will get back to you within 24 hours. What if the client sits on the project for a full month and no communication whatsoever?
To avoid falling into such pits, clearly indicate the expiry date of the project in your freelance contract.
- Payment schedule
Agree with your client on when you will get paid. Typically, one-off projects should be paid for upon completion. Long-term contracts may be paid for after an agreed period such as bi-weekly, weekly or monthly.
- Payment methods
Be clear from the start which payment method your client will use to pay you. Whether PayPal, Skrill, Bank transfers or any other. Just be sure both of you are comfortable with the method agreed on. This will avoid hiccups that may arise after project completion and you can`t access funds.
- Signature lines
Very important! At the bottom of your contract, include two lines for signatures. This shows that both of you have agreed to all terms and conditions stated in the contract.
Having a good freelance contract will make you remain in the driver`s seat while dealing with clients, increase your clients` confidence and build self-confidence in your business. Moreover, a good freelance contract will cushion you from losing income and wasting time!