What do I need to include in a client contract?
You know when you see those 10 page long contracts and freak the hell out? Yeah, it’s actually the kind of contract I use for client engagements. It’s like a freakin bible but I wouldn't have it any other way!
Because a contract is the one document that can hold both you and your client accountable. To complete the project and get paid for your services provided and for any work delivered.
So for those of you who are starting out or who are yet to get around to creating a contract, there are a tremendous amount of resources out there to craft a contract for your business.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING YOUR CONTRACTS
I couldn’t stress that enough 🙌 because sure, you can download a template or use a CRM premade template that you simply add your details to. However, it may not protect you as well as a more comprehensive Master Services Agreement (MSA aka. a contract) that is tailored to your services, business and even the country you reside in.
If you're an Aussie designer looking to create a great contract for your business, my hot tip would be to engage with Riz McDonald from Foundd Legal - Riz is fantastic and can help you with any legal problem or need in your creative business.
OK, WHAT ARE THE BASICS TO INCLUDE IN A CONTRACT
These are some of the must have's:
Names/Business names/Addresses and contact details of parties involved (you and your client are each a party).
Date of the agreement when made.
Any definitions of terms in the agreement.
Moral rights clause where you have a right to attribution for the creative works produced even when copyright is assigned to your client.
Acceptance of work clauses for when final delivery of work occurs.
Copyright clause that deems who holds copyright ownership of the work made. • Assign Copyright: you give copyright ownership to your client at completion. • License Copyright: you retain copyright and the client licenses it from you for • • outlined purposes for an agreed timeline. (eg. for typefaces, stock photos/video)
Self-promotion, to be permitted to display works for your portfolio.
Confidentiality of either party's info/ processes/plans without consent.
A clause that pertains to limiting your liability to the sum of the agreement.
Undertakings and warranties made by both parties.
Defining the relationship of both parties. i.e. not an employer/employee.
No restraints on trade with other businesses during the agreement.
Force Majeure which means you are not in breach due to man-made/natural disasters or terrorism occurrences.
Clauses that outline causes for termination due to breach of contract.
Clauses where the agreement can be terminated: eg. a client stalls for more than ‘X’ amount of days.
An outline for the period of time you will archive a clients project in the event they require retrieval of work. As well as it being subject to any fees upon request of those works being resupplied.
Typeface design and licensing.
Printing terms and conditions.
Submission by the client of any original works they provide you with.
Location of services - where your services will be conducted (eg. your home)
Changes of scope for the deliverables.
An outline of your hours of service to complete the work and the hours a client may contact you with a response.
Fees & charges beyond agreed scope: • After hours fees • Resumption of work fee after the project is placed on hold. • No deposit refunds (*this depends on your state/countries laws) • Rush fees • Revision terminology and fees • Payment cadence/milestones • Fees for delivering your working files to the client (*if you want to do this)
AND DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE THESE AT THE END:
Schedule 1: Outlines the contract period, project timeline (including invoicing milestones) and an outline of the project fees.
Schedule 2: This outlines the scope of work. The services provided, a list of deliverables and any revision opportunities.
AND! Don't forget to add a space for you and your client to sign and date the contract.
So this is a very top-line overview of some of the inclusions in a contract. Again, get in touch with a legal professional that can help you with craft your own contracts. It really will be a great investment for your business.