When I first started freelancing, I had a lot of nasty client situations I couldn’t get out of.
There were additional deliverables I had to do, projects that extended by 2 months, and even revisions I couldn’t charge for. When this happened, I always ended up resenting my clients. I felt like I was being abused into giving more than what they paid for.
The only reason why this happened was because my Agreement wasn’t clear.
So in this issue, I’ll be talking about 4 things you need to have in your Agreement as a creative.
🛑 DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this newsletter does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all information, content, and materials available on this newsletter are for general informational purposes only. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.
How can we avoid going over the scope of work? By mentioning what IS and IS NOT included in our project.
I’ve had clients who asked for a logo design, but also wanted the mockups I added in the logo presentation (e.g. business cards).
Here’s an example for a logo only client 👇🏻
This section helps me deal with unnecessary revisions and sudden changes in the scope of work.
I make sure to mention the number of revisions provided, design concepts presented, and how much it would cost for an additional revision or design.
Revisions. Client is entitled to X rounds of revisions. Vendor will not charge client for these rounds of revisions for as long as the changes requested do not substantially alter the original project scope, nature or purpose; and as long as Client has not already given Vendor any final approval for the piece of work concerned. Any other kinds of revisions are considered a change in the project scope. Each round of additional revision will be billed at $$$ per round.
Proposed Design Concepts. Client is entitled to X number of [logo] design concepts as mentioned in this SOW. Additional design concepts will be charged at a rate of $$$ per concept. Additional concepts will also result in a change of timeline.
Change Order. Vendor will notify Client in advance of any expected additional charges due to general changes requested. Work shall not proceed on the requested changes until a fully signed Change Order is received by Vendor.
What if you have a disaster client you want to fire? I’ve been tempted to fire multiple clients before.
That’s why I have this section in my Agreement. This lets any of us cancel the project at least 5 days before the written notice 👇🏻
Either party may terminate this assignment by providing not less than five (5) days written notice to the other party. In the event of cancellation of this assignment, ownership of all copyrights and the original artwork shall be transferred to Client for any work completed up to the date of cancellation. Client shall pay for all work and expenses based on the contract price and expenses already incurred up to the date of cancellation.
Some really bad clients might make defamatory statements about your business. I never experienced this, but I’ve heard of designers who were dragged down on social media by influencers and personal brands.
So that I never have to experience this, I always add this section 👇🏻
“Client and Vendor mutually agree not to make public defamatory statements that would materially harm the reputation or business activities of any Parties to this Agreement.”
Scope of Work
🧠 Course: Proposals & Contracts by Mike Janda — This is the main template I use for all of my documents. He has templates for contracts, proposals, capability decks for projects with different scopes of work (web design, logo design, etc.)
📖 Book: Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall — Want to get into storytelling? Then this book is a must read. Kindra included a lot of storytelling examples and the framework she uses for her stories.