Join Terry Lee Stone for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing a sample contract, part of Running a Design Business: Designer-Client Agreements.
Now that I have shown you the basic components of a Designer-Client Agreement, check your Resource Guide for three sample contracts to see how a few designers have made them work. In the first sample you can see the contract format that I have outlined in the last few movies. It's very simply designed. Here is the General Information. This is what the Project Description and Objectives look like. Next, this designer outlines the Fees and Expenses. Then they do a full breakdown of the Phases of work followed by the Terms and Conditions, at the very end are the Signatures.
Now I know I have suggested that you breakdown phases before you talk money, but this designer reversed the order and it works just fine. In sample Contract 2, just for contrast, I've shown you how an attorney creates a Designer-Client Agreement, big difference, right? They start with six pages of Terms and Conditions and then go to a two page Summary of the Project Information. Essentially, they've reversed the order I suggest. Note that this feels super unfriendly, right? Maybe you're beginning to see why I suggest starting with the project and then going to the legal boiler plate.
In Contract sample 3 the designer has followed my preferred order; their design is simple, clean and well organized. Note that they've included just a little bit of flair, but haven't been heavy handed in the design. It's all very complete and orderly, but clearly from a creative professional. So as you can see, Designer-Client Agreements don't have to be boring, but they do have to be complete and well designed; that's because this documents are literally setting the tone for your entire working relationship with the client.
- Understanding the anatomy of a contract
- Scoping the project
- Estimating your costs
- Subcontracting work
- Heading off problems