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    Contracts with clients

    Hey all,

    I'm an art student at the moment but I have been receiving some requests for artwork from prospective clients. I'm just going to cut to the chase: I have terribly little experience working with clients and I don't want to get ripped off due to my own ignorance. Does anyone here have some rock solid advice on going about setting up contracts with clients in the best way possible?

    Thanks

    PS: Perhaps there is a link to a thread that already deals with this/these types of questions. Any/all help would be greatly appreciated.



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    Contracts are the pillars of freelancing but are still not a guaranteed method
    to ensure you will not get ripped off. Contracts, if worded correctly, are there to
    provide you with evidence of the agreement should it reach a stage where you
    need to bring it to the attention of the proper authorities.

    Verbal agreements are a form of contract, but harder to enforce, as are
    email agreements. It would be a good practice to get as much as possible
    in writing (via emails) -as well as- the contracts themselves. Always remember
    to be as polite and clear in your emails as possible, no matter what goes down.
    (Should the deal sour.) All of this will be to your benefit.

    Ensure you have both the clients signature as well as your own on the contract.
    A contract may be rendered null and void in itself, even with signatures should
    there be anything on there which would not be within legal boundaries. (eg: you
    claiming the clients first born should they not pay the remainder of the balance.)

    Deposits are a good way to ensure results from both the client and yourself in
    finalizing the deal. However, these are not always possible depending on the who
    or what the client is. For a one on one commission however, feel free to request a
    deposit.

    Be as pedantic and clear in the wording on the contract as possible. Include as much
    information as you can, full names, dates, addresses, etc. As well as a clear description
    of the work, (including the quantity), time alloted, etc.

    Lay out the expected payment date. (eg: on delivery of completed product, a week after
    invoicing, etc) be very clear regarding this point.

    Lay out the terms of use that you have arranged between yourself and the client. (where is
    the work being featured, where will you be acknowledged, etc) as well as ownership rights
    of the piece.

    State the processes as to which the contract will be enforced and, should you
    wish it a period of negotiation should a dispute arise.

    Do no work without both signatures.

    It would be in your benefit to have a logo and letterhead ready, which you
    can put on your invoices and quotes. Have a proper filing system for all
    work related material and retain hard copies as well as electronic copies.

    Last edited by Star Eater; August 3rd, 2012 at 01:41 PM.
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    This is most useful. Thank you so much!



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    Cool I'm glad. Maybe some of the other regulars will offer some
    of their insight as well. Good luck!

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    Tristan Elwell
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    Hey that's a nice link. Maybe we should sticky that somewhere?

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    Good idea, I've started a Business and Professional Practices Link thread:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho....php?p=3518064


    Tristan Elwell
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    Contracts are obvious, but the main ways that I ensure my safety (as well as I can anyway) are to...

    1) Ask for at least 50% down with the remainder paid after completion.
    2) Don't deliver the hi-rez artwork to them until remaining 50% is paid.

    Sure, they can always flake after the 50%, but at least then you got something for your trouble. The most important thing is to never fall for the "Awwww man...we really need that art for the presentation tomorrow. Can you just send it now and I'll send the check in the morning?"

    That check will never get sent. As long as you have something they want, they have zero leverage.

    Do that, in most of the time you'll be fine.

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    Elwell and Dusty, thank you both so much!



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    Thanks, I linked a bunch of those stickies in the new thread.


    Tristan Elwell
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    As mentioned above, always get a contract which spells out exactly what artwork you are required to do for what amount of money. Also make sure the contract details the payment terms.

    As for payment terms - 50% upfront isn't always possible. I know that the husband (he's a mobile app developer) doesn't always get that from his clients, but will be flexible - perhaps 33% down, 33% at the halfway point, and 33% before turning over the code. Or 50% at the halfway point after wireframes are presented and 50% at the end before turning over the final product.

    And we deal the same way with the illustrators we hire - we don't usually pay a deposit upfront with an unknown, but we will pay 50% after low-res sketches and preliminary artwork is presented to make sure the artist is both capable of doing what we need and is going in the direction we need, then pay the remaining 50% after low-res final artwork is provided. After payment is received by the artist, they send us the high-res artwork. We've had no problems doing things this way. We feel it protects both parties.

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