Whether it be web design or writing, or anything dealing with a service, freelancers should have a contract for each project, no matter how big or small the task may be.
For newbies in the freelancing business, this can eliminate a lot frustration in case a the project does go as it is suppose to. While freelancers are not all innocent, there are many times a client decides that the freelancer should provide services not stated from the beginning of the project.
Some of the areas that should be included in a freelance contract are:
- Explain what the project is about.
- Give an estimated time of project’s completion.
- Explain to client what services are included and what services are not included in the project.
- Explain how you will complete the project.
- Give a project bid and payment policy.
- Share methods of how client can contact you.
Communicate and also make sure to document conversations via instant message, Facebook messages, Skype, Google Talk and more as these can be used in case a client refuses to pay for services that have been completed.
For example, I had a client who seemed to be happy with her site’s development and had expressed several times that the project’s results were more than she had expected. We had discussed prior to the project what was not included in the project and she wanted me to do this without being paid. Because I had fully completed her project, and had already installed it on her live site, I used her conversations to dispute her credit card reversal. This transaction was done through PayPal and they had sided with me based on the documentation I was able to provide.
Prior to this project I have had repeat clients and they have come to expect more than the project entailed, so I decided that it was necessary to put together a formal project proposal and contract. This would define exactly what the project entailed and what services were included.
So, in conclusion, anyone in the line of freelancing should probably consider putting together contracts in their own business dealings, rather than relying on emails, instant messengers, and chats to cover the legal end of working on a project.
As a note, it is quite alright to do extras, but those must be specified as extra and not to be held as part of the original project. However, it probably is better if you just stick to not doing extras or it will be expected every time you work with the client. Remember, your time really is money.
Are you a freelancer? Do you put together formal bis proposals and contracts when dealing with clients? Have any freelance stories to share?