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As said in part one of this article, contracts are one of the most vital and misunderstood tools of the freelancers arsenal. Here in the fifth installment of the Client Tactics Series, we will look at schedules in contracts between a freelancer and his clients.
A schedule is just a fancy legal way of saying “this is my work process and this is how you (dear client) will pay me.”. Schedules like contracts benefit the client and the freelancer in the fact that it lays everything out on the table. No hidden surprises, everything is accounted for.
Depending on the length of language on your contract. Your schedules could fall on the same sheet or a secondary sheet. I opt for the secondary sheet, (It’s not OCD, it’s just a compulsion; okay?) That way it isn’t muddled into the middle of the contract. Lets face it, once the client signs your contract and they get their copy, they will only look at it should problems arise. By putting the schedules on its own page, the client will be more apt to look at that page more frequently.
How many schedules one has depends on how one break apart one’s design flow and invoicing style. For smaller projects I have two, bigger projects three. Here’s what a sample schedule would look like:
|SCHEDULE 1 for My Eager Client provided by MyDesignStudio|
|Item 1||The Freelancer’s Fees:||My Hourly Fee ($xx.xx)
Estimate of Time Needed: xx hours.
Special Software: Expression Engine ($xxx.xx)
|Item 2||The Premises:||MyDesignStudio, INC.
123 Maple St.
Anywhere, TN 37067
|Item 3||The Services:||Custom Expression Engine Template Development
Valid xHtml and CSS
Search Engine Optimization
|Item 4||The Products:||One fully licensed install of Expression Engine. Twenty-two (22) Fully licensed stock photos, and a completed website.|
|Item 5||Commencement Date:||05/01/2010|
|Item 6||Termination Date:||07/01/2010|
The above would only need to be duplicated for situations for multiple invoice stages, which are a definitely beneficial idea. State what you are doing and what was being utilized in each section, saving the products until the last schedule unless they are needed during that particular phrase or schedule.
Here are some additional questions to comprehend when building a contract.
When making your first contract its wise to look over a pre-made contract or the contract of a freelance buddy. The most intimidating part of writing a contract is legalese. Its boring, hard to understand, and complicated. Like my writing style. According to wikipedia here is the definition of legalese:
Legalese is an English term first used in 1914 for legal writing that is designed to be difficult for laymen to read and understand, the implication being that this abstruseness is deliberate for excluding the legally untrained and to justify high fees.
By starting with a template and adding in the special bits that make your business different, you’ll decrease a lot of the overhead that would come by either having an attorney write up or having to learn all the in and outs of contracts. By looking at either a pre-made template or one from a freelancing friend, you’ll be able to pick up legalese and be living it up like Robert Shapiro! Okay so maybe you won’t be living it up like Mr. Shapiro but you’ll at least know what a tortfeasor is.
Would you guys like to see a complete downloadable sample contract written by yours truly and distributed through 1webdesigner? Do you have any questions or comments leave them below and I would be glad to help out.
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Jeff Boshers is a freelance web designer from Tennessee. He enjoys discussing classic design principles, css, printing techniques, and client management among other things. You can find him on twitter @boundbystars and see his work. He is currently doing a 52 week project called 52 luchadors.