When did you last think about your contract? 20 things your contract should cover
Do you send you customers the same contract for every job you do? Doesn’t each piece of your work have slightly different scope or timelines? Are some jobs more involved and go on longer than others?
The contract you use with customers should clearly state the what, when, how and who for both parties. It doesn’t need to be pages long and full of legal jargon.
When thinking about your contract, think about all the things you need to protect yourself and reassure your client.
20 Questions – how many you got covered?
- Has someone booked your services – what if they cancel at the last minute?
- Has a customer reserved your time for a project – what if it doesn’t go ahead?
- What happens when there are changes outside the scope of the work you first agreed?
- If the work is open-ended, will you put a cap on the amount of work you will do before you get paid, or ask for payment up-front?
- Ownership – who owns the finished work?
- What if you have submitted your ideas and the client says it doesn’t meet their needs?
- What are the milestones and deadlines?
- When is the work considered to be complete?
- What happens when a project goes on beyond the timescale you expected.
- What if your customer fails to supply the information you need?
- How many changes and edits can they have?
- Who supplies the content; you or the client
- Who is responsible for out-of-pocket expenses, like licenses?
- Who is responsible for managing the project?
- What are your payment terms?
- Who is your main point of contact?
- What will you do if the customer pays late?
- How will you protect yourself if you need to cancel work because of an emergency?
- How can you leave the project if you don’t get on with your client?
- On a multi-supplier project, who is responsible for paying you?
A contract should set out, in clear terms what both parties can expect from your business relationship. Without a contract everything is wide open to interpretation on both sides.