By Hari Julka
Starting a web design firm service or simply a transcription service? Just make sure you have terms and conditions in place, before you attempt to perform the work or service. Get the T&C (Terms and Conditions) agreement signed before attempting to write even a single line of code.
Ask the customer, to deposit 10-15% in advance, so that they know, they are committed to the project, as you are. The amount should be enough to cover your basic costs of producing the work or content.
Work with the customer, within a timeframe, to deliver the project. If the customer, does not stick to his or her deadline, deliver the project, within your timeframe, and send the invoice by email.
If the customer refuses to own up to the product or service delivered, still charge him or her for your time and the service delivered.
You can tweak the service, as you go.
If there are relationships involved, forego the money to keep the relationship.
There are hundreds and thousands of freelancers who get shortchanged every day on the internet just because they have not kept up with the terms and conditions and legalese of service agreements. It happens with the first time employees turned freelancers. If not learnt, freelancers lose valuable work hours and get nothing in return for their work, which can or cannot get used by the client.
Here are some T&Cs every freelancer should email his or her client, prior to the start of the project.
- Make a draft agreement and keep it in a folder in your cloud drive. Tweak it as per every new assignment.
- Always take a formal deposit (about 10-20%) before start of the project.
- Take the final payment before delivering the final project – thus if its a blog you are delivering, you can hold up to 4 paragraphs of the essay. If it is a website, you can hold the domain and password in your hand, or not make it go live, till the full deposit is made.
- Payments should be within 10-14 days of the invoice generated. If not done in time, levy a fine that can be 10%-20% of the total project cost.
- If the client fails to deliver, put a caution – that you may advertise the non-deliverance after 90 days on social media, to alert other freelancers and services companies about the brand. Social media is a bigger judge than anything else in the new virtual world.
- Non payment of an invoices should invite suspension of on going work.
- You should have three stages of payment –
- 1. Upon Signing of Contract (Advance 10-20%)
- 2.Upon first draft of the design/services/content (40%-50%)
- 3.Upon final draft of the design/service/content piece (40%-50%)
- If developing / designing for a friend, do charge just $1 for each stage to show in accounts, and maintain sanctity of the process.
As per a sample agreement available on Columbia.edu, these few could be the following tasks in an agreement to provide a digital service to a client.
Follow the above steps and never get shortchanged for the valuable hours of your life you give to a project. After all, the only thing you have limited in life is the number of hours you will live. Don’t sell them cheap.
The author is a digital marketer and blogger based in New Zealand. He loves to blog on topics such as technology, entrepreneurship, social media, and managing teams in the digital world. In the past time, he loves to practice his nature photography skills.