6 Things You Need to Explain to Your Clients Before Signing a Contract

  Contracts are binding and legal leverages that protect the interests and rights of both the designer and the client. These tie both parties to attune to the provisions of the contract and makes sure no one cheats over the other. Also, these benefit designers greatly because:
  • The designer will have some security that the client will pay
  • The designer can withdraw the deal once he feels violated
  • The designer will have an idea on how to react with clients who do not pay
What should be considered before signing contracts is no joke. This is to be taken seriously. Once you sign, you need to finish the project and work well with the client as the client does with you. This is to preserve your reputation and of course, to follow the law.   designer-signing-contract Understanding the importance of contracts, you should always explain a few things to your clients before signing a binding and legal contract. You need to make them understand your terms so that both parties can work well together. Here are a few things you need to explain:

Payment Schedules

As a freelancer, you have to assure that you are going to be paid. I mean, who works for free, right? That is why, as early as possible and before signing a contract, you have to discuss matters like payment schedules to your clients. You need to ask the following:
  • When am I going to be paid?
  • How much is the upfront payment?
  • How will I be paid?
  • What are the necessary steps both of us should take in case of late payments or late delivery?
hiding-client You have to do this in order to secure your efforts. You have to discuss this openly with the client. As a precaution, you might want to read Smashing Magazine’s article on clients who refuse to pay.

Delivery of Final Output

Of course, this item is included as one of the things you need to explain to your client. As a freelancer, you also need to give your client a sense of security. You need to assure that you’ll deliver at the date you both agreed. Now, when it comes to setting a deadline for output, most freelancers divide the projects into segments or milestones. Each milestone has a deadline. Example, you are to submit a web design for a restaurant website. As a freelancer, you will divide the whole project into four milestones. Say, first, you’re going to deliver the PSD of the layout and, second, the basic HTML page and so on.

Why are milestones important?

  • Because the client will be able to see the progress of the project
  • As a designer, you will be organized with your time frames
  • You can make an agreement on the payment schedules based from the milestones
exchanging-documents Now, if you’re going to ask me, who sets the deadline? The answer here is simple. It’s not the sole right of the client to set deadlines. As a designer, you also have to explain your concerns to the client. Again, play safe. Give some extra time to your projected deadlines so that you can adjust easily when problems arise. Of course, setting a deadline is never easy. Here are a few tips:
  • Assess the project well. Set realistic deadlines
  • Explain to the client why you can’t meet his deadline and offer a win-win situation
  • Play safe
  • Include the smallest details in the plan
  • Regular Meetings and Updates
Meetings and updates are important to preserve a healthy client-to-freelancer relationship. You both have to decide the time of the day when you and the client are going to talk. Save a few hours to voice out your difficulties and try to find a way to resolve them. Creating a routine where you both communicate properly will surely help. Remember, that you have to do this at a specified time only. client-meeting As a freelancer, you have to explain this to the client because most of them can go crazy with updating. We all know these types of clients. They nag and ask almost every minute for updates and sends numerous revisions which adds to the already heavy pressure that we are experiencing. To address this, you have to open your mind and explain to the client that you can’t reply each time; you need a specific time and duration for these meeting so that you both won’t hamper each other’s productivity. Here are a few guidelines to meetings and updates:
  • Be straight to the point
  • Update on the accomplishments first before stating the problems
  • Try not to sound like whining when you state your problems
  • Listen to the client
  • Make sure that you note everything that you talked about.
Specs of the Project Before signing that contract, you need to discuss the project with the client carefully. Of course, all of your efforts will be put to waste if you and the client won’t jive with your ideas. Heck, it may even go worse than that. clients-inspecting-project That is why it is important to talk about the contents of the project.
  • What does the client want?
  • What do you want?
  • Would he need the website to be responsive?
  • Will it be needed that you add some jQuery plugins?
Ask these questions and determine where you will both work well together. You have to be realistic to your client about this. You need to state what you can do and cannot do and explain how difficult it is for you to finish what that said client wants. That way, you will preserve a good relationship where you both understand each other.

Design Revisions

Let’s imagine this scenario. You deliver a project to the client on time and on target. After a few days, the client contacts you for revisions. Now, you ask yourself, do I have to charge that said client for this? This should be addressed before signing the contract. You have to assert that you will only give a limit of three revisions for the entire project. This is an important aspect of freelancing because you have to preserve your reputation as you would want to deal with the client with extra care and compassion. But you also have to protect yourself and your interest. revisions This article talks about what the number of revisions that you should allow. Now, I ask, you, do you agree with this?

 Client Feedback

As a designer, having a portfolio  is really important- and part of building a solid portfolio is having enough testimonials from your previous clients. This is not an urgent matter, though. But you have to get your client’s feedback from your work. client-feedback Why is this important?
  • To assess yourself and discover your strengths and weaknesses
  • To assess your system
  • To build a stronger portfolio
Now, what can I recommend when it comes to getting client feedback?
  • Prepare a template of questions
  • Keep the questions short and direct to the point
  • Use tools like:
  • Get regular feedback before submitting revisions
Conclusion As I’ve stressed at the beginning of the article, signing contracts can be very complicated and could result to future headaches once breeched. That is why, before entering into an agreement, you have to make sure that both you and the client have understood what both of you want. This is not only about legality, but about preserving a sound working relationship that could lead into successful partnerships in the future.