When I first started building websites as a side business, I didn’t use contracts. I would meet with someone who needed a website and we would come to either a verbal or email agreement. That was pretty much it! I’d get to work and figure it out as we went along.
It wasn’t until I had my first problem client who wanted a billion revisions, changed the projects in the middle of it, and then expected to pay the same amount. Recently after that, I also had a client who just refused to pay after the project was completed. They stated that “they couldn’t afford it.” GREAT….
After these experiences, I got serious about implementing contracts no matter how big or small the project, and no matter how well I knew (friend or family member) or didn’t know the client. It’s not that I don’t trust people. I do, but I’ve learned that contracts ease the entire process from kick-off to completion. Both parties know what to expect, what the deliverables are, and to handle certain situations.
Contracts are now a part of my workflow. Once a client accepts a quote, a contract is generated. Once both parties have signed the document, a 50% deposit invoice is sent. Only after that first payment is received does the project begin.
I feel that having a contract paired with an up-front deposit is critical (whether you ask for 25%, 30% or 50%). You want to make sure your client is committed and serious about the project before you start working.
I like the process I have now. It seems to work out well and has helped manage some projects that have gone off course.
What my Contract Includes:
- Project Name
- Client name/primary contact
- My name
- Timeline- start date & end date
- Project deliverables
- Payment methods
- Cancellation terms
- Work days & hours
- Feedback & revision info
I want my contracts to explain everything clearly and in simple terms. I never want to mislead a client and end up having them be upset with me!
As my business progresses, I’m sure I will evaluate my contract and add in areas as issues arise. There are weird things that happen when you’re working with all different types of people. It’s amazing the things that you would never think of that should probably go in your contract.
Do you use contracts for your business? How have they helped you? Comment below =)
“Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” Don Miguel Ruiz
Thanks for Reading,