Getting started as a freelancer takes guts - You enter a world where you work directly with clients, do your own marketing, and shoulder all of the project management responsibilities. On top of that, you need to become an expert on estimating and pricing strategies and protect yourself against financial exploitation.
A carefully crafted package of estimates, contracts, and forms protects both you and your clients and gets you going in the right direction.
The Importance of Customized Contracts and Forms
With little effort, you can usually find a one-size-fits-all freelance contract template online. While a "fill-in-the-blanks" approach might work for your very first freelance job, you'll soon discover that clients and projects vary - a lot - and so will your contract needs.
A customized package that includes few key components including essential terms and conditions is not difficult to create. Your package does not have to be elaborate but it does need to be professional and thorough in order to create a binding agreement with a client.
A basic freelance package should include the following:
The starting point for any job includes a pricing strategy and a carefully crafted estimate. Your internal estimate will guide future negotiations, and help you manage your income and your work load.
This document is shared with the client and includes the scope of the project and a summary of your services. Too often a client estimate is incomplete. That may cause a breakdown of communication which can ultimately lead to conflict and a loss of work and income.
Terms and Conditions
Loaded with legalese, this part of your package can be difficult to understand - but it is critical to get it right.
Project initiation and completion dates, key deliverable dates, meetings, approval deadlines, and a payment schedule are included when you build a project calendar.
The time to start building or updating your estimates, contracts, and forms is before your next freelance job.
If you are interested in creating your own set of contracts and forms for your business, Portfolio Studio is offering a free, self-directed course. Launching in November, this course explains the basic components you'll need and provides examples to help you get started. You can expect to spend a few weeks creating a quality set of contracts and forms for your freelance business but you'll reap the rewards for years.
Other questions? Reach out to us.