Like most freelance web designers, your creative efforts are both a labor of love and a business. Unfortunately, people often assume that “experience” or “exposure” are enough to pay your bills.
Having a contract in place is crucial to protect yourself. Contracts help to establish clear expectations and ensure that both parties understand the terms of your agreement. They also give you a way to legally enforce your rights and get paid. What sort of things do you need in your contracts with your clients? Here are some tips.
Project scope and delivery dates
Your contract should outline the project scope and delivery dates, including the specific services you’ll provide and the timeline for the completion of each stage. Be as detailed as possible to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings later.
Your contract should include payment terms, including the total project costs, any deposits required and the payment schedule. Clearly state your payment methods and the consequences of late payments.
It’s essential to outline your revision policy and include any additional costs associated with changes or revisions requested by the client. This helps to avoid “scope creep” and ensures that nobody has unrealistic (or unreasonable) expectations.
Intellectual property rights
Your contract should outline ownership and usage rights for all content and designs created during the project. Be clear about who owns the intellectual property and how it can be used. If ownership is meant to transfer to the client, make sure that it’s clear that you won’t transfer ownership until you’ve been paid in full.
Your contract should include a termination and cancellation policy, including any fees or penalties associated with early termination. This helps to protect your time and ensure that you’re compensated for all completed work.
Liability and indemnification
Your contract should include a liability and indemnification clause to protect you from any claims or damages resulting from the project – or your client’s future use of what you created.
Be sure to get legal guidance to ensure that your freelance contract provides adequate legal protections. Good contracts, after all, are the key to a thriving business.