contract now or later

forgive me, this is kind of basic and probably rehashed a lot, but when you submit a bid/quote to a client as a freelancer do you always include your contract? Or do you wait till later, after they just digest your price and scope of work, and schedule - so they have less to consider at one time.

Also, when freelancing for an established consultantcy or agency, is it common not to have them sign your contract ?


My proposals usually include contract terms but if you just want to see if they’ll accept the price first then send them the cost with a shorter, summarized process/deliverables. I usually do this in an informal email before doing a full contract so as to not waste time. I then do a full contract after the price is already agreed upon.

Yes I always have a work agreement with established firms. Make sure they indemnify you of any legal issues. If you don’t you can get sued if something bad happens down the road. It’s important to be indemnified and protected and put the legal responsibility on theemploying firm to bear the burden of any mishaps and lawsuits that may arise from the work. In the end they are ultimately responsible for what goes out the door so get your protection in writing.

DOn’t do any work without an agreement on cost, fee rate, and terms of engagement. To do things without a contract means you risk a he said, she said situation and people not adhereing to or deviating from what is expected. This way there is no mistake or question or misunderstanding. If you don’t you’ll be sorry later.

thanks mpdesigner. I once made the mistake of starting work on a job before they signed my contract, they were on the opposite coast and just ignored my contract but wanted the work right away, did the job because I was recommended through a friend’s friend and they said they were good to deal with, after they got the work, the relationship soured, and made it harder to push to get the contract signed, losing battle ensued, not worth time, energy, aggravation, lost $500. I hear for freelance about 10% go bad and its not worth the effort to go after them unless over $1000.

I send the proposal which has a place for a signature. The larger the corporation, the less likely anyone will sign. My billing practices is 50% up front, 50% on completion. Unless it is a large, multi-phase program. Then it is billed at the end of the phases.

If they want credit (net 30), and are an established client, I have little worries. If they are a new client, I always ask for credit references. If none are provided, I usually don’t even waste the time for a proposal. If they do provide them, I call the references andI wait to start work until I get that 50% up front. If they can’t wait, TS. If I feel confident about their ability to pay, I will start work but there is zero chance they will see anything I do before I see that check.

That’s why I don’t give them their stuff until they pay (if there is not a contract). Well sometimes even when there is a contract.