One of the easiest ways to get yourself in a tricky situation with a client, is to skip the Terms and Conditions stage. Charging into a client relationship without setting boundaries means you don’t have anything to fall back on if they’re a late/non-payer, if they like to conduct meetings at ridic-o’clock or if they expect many, many revisions at no extra cost. T&Cs set the standards of your working relationship, and also highlight any issues that may crop up later on. Plus, it just looks more professional!
When you’re new to freelancing, Terms and Conditions can seem like an intimidating concept, but when you’re starting out, a basic email T&C (which they can reply to, to confirm), will suffice. Below is an example of a very basic one I use.
Late Payment Fees & Early Payment Discounts
Late payment fees and early payment discounts are processes I use to encourage prompt payment of invoices. The latter works better, especially with larger clients, but the late payment fees cover me if someone does pay late.
This is a very basic idea, and I tend to add to it and tweak it depending on the client and work. For example, for copywriting gigs I’ll add something about the number of revisions included. If it’s a client you’ve never worked with before, it may also be worth adding something in about the process if the original contract needs to be changed.
What else could I include?
Other things you may want to include:
- Details of your charges
- Part payment if you’re taking a deposit
- Intellectual Property Ownership (including usage and resale)
My recommendation would be that you don’t start the work until they confirm they’re happy with your terms in writing.
Want an extra check?
As you progress, you may want to use a contract instead. Companies like Lawbite offer contracts, with a lawyer who can check it over for you, and Practical Law has a free one you can create by answering some questions.
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