Students first freelance job

Earlier this summer I had a freelance job that I did and ended up not being able to get a hold of my client which meant no $ for my work I did. Well, now I found a new job, but don’t want this to happen again. So here’s what I need to know.

  • What should I charge hourly, if I should?
  • Should I ask for a deposit, if so how much?
  • Contract, what should it say…exactly?

If someone could please help me out as soon as possible that would be great!

i usually ask for 50% upfront. and the remainder on the punch-list sign-off.

if the project is big enough i’ll list a few stages with amounts due at the end of each one. but i still ask for a considerable deposit. this helps weed out those that are serious.

I’m looking at trying my hand at finding some freelance work, was wondering a few things… (actually wondering about pretty much everything) but to start:

  1. How does one go about writing up a contract?

  2. How does one even go about finding clients??

  3. Are there any general tips, or even online resources you would refer someone (such as myself) to if they were looking at going freelance?

  1. I found one online which was aimed at graphic designers, adapted it lots (paying particular attention to clauses such as liability), then had a lawyer friend in the trade look it over and alter it for me.

  2. They know me already - I was an employee for 12 years. Or they find my website.

  3. This is pretty much the best resource online. IMO there are tons of dodgy work from home /freelance ruses on the internet and alot of people out there who want your work for nothing. It’s incredible the amount of people I never hear from again once I’ve mentioned a deposit.

As for how much to charge, might want to read this:

AGREEMENT, dated the {*eenth} day of {month, Year}, between the {Name of the Company} (hereinafter referred to as the “Client”), whose address is {current headquarters address} and {Designer name} (hereinafter referred to as the “Designer”), whose address is {address} with respect to an industrial design project (hereinafter referred to as the “Project”).

WHEREAS, Designer is a professional industrial designer of good standing;

WHEREAS, Client wishes the Designer to design the Project described more fully herein ; and

WHEREAS, Designer wishes to design this Project;

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing premises and the mutual covenants hereinafter set forth and other valuable considerations, the parties hereto agree as follows:

  1. Description. The Designer agrees to design the Project in a professional and workmanlike manner in accordance with:

_ the Following plan.
_ the plan attached hereto as Schedule A and made part of this agreement.

Project Description
{ As Detailed as Possible}

Scope of work to be performed by the Designer
{As Detailed as Possible}

Scope of the Designer’s work set forth in project phases:

Design Research/Analysis
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP} {sometimes The Client can provide the Designer with previous research}

Design Concepts
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

Conceptual Drawings
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

Molds/Manufactured Parts
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

Assembled Products
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

Sub-Brand and Product Identity
The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

The Designer will provide the Client with {ADAP}

Contract Documentation/Administration:

If this box is checked, the Designer shall prepare an estimated budget o include with the Design Concept for presentation to the Client, but the Client acknowledges that this budget is subject to change and is not a guarantee on the part of the Designer with respect to the prices contained therein.

As the work is in progress, the Designer shall be available to meet with the Client with the following frequency to discuss the status of the work with the Client, and to consult with the Client with respect to whether what is being designed, delivered or manufactured is in conformity with specifications and of suitable quality. However, the quality and supervision of product or manufacturing shall be the responsibility of the suppliers or contractors.

Services to be rendered by the Designer in Addition to those described above:

The Designer will render any design consultancy to the Client in the form of advertisement or target distribution. The Designer will only provide consultancy and will not accept requests for designing or creating advertisement for the Client This includes, exhibit design, point of sale displays, point of purchase displays, end-cap displays, shelf displays, television commercials, radio commercials, visual advertisement, and any other form of design that the Designer does not feel directly affects the product design or the packaging design.

  1. Schedule. The work to be performed by the Designer under this agreement shall commence:
    on the {} day of {Month}, {Year}
    if the Client is to provide reference, layouts, specifications, or other materials specified here, after the Client has provided same to the Designer.

The Designer shall make reasonable efforts to progress the Project and Designer shall:
complete the Project on the {} day of {Month}, {Year}
conform to the following schedule: A three part schedule including design research, concept development, and communication.

The Client understands that delays on the part of the Client or suppliers may delay performance of the Designer’s duties, and the Designer’s time to perform shall be extended if such delays occur. In addition, if either party hereto is unable to perform any of its obligations hereunder by reason of fore or other casualty, strike, act, or order of a public authority, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of such party, then such party shall be excused from such performance during the pendency of such cause.

  1. Purchase shall be handled in the following manner.
    The Client shall arrange and commit to purchase of merchandise, materials, and production as the agent of the Client, and the Client shall make payment directly to the suppliers or contractors. If the Designer is acting as agent for the Client, the Client shall approve all purchases by signing a written authorization.
    Other arrangement

The Designer shall [shall not] prepare purchase orders for purchases of merchandise, materials, or production and shall advise. Client as to acceptability, but shall have no liability for the lateness, malfeasance, negligence, or failure of suppliers or contractors to perform their responsibilities and duties. In the event that, after the Client’s approval for purchases of merchandise, materials or production, the Designer shall notify the Client in writing, but shall bear no liability with respect to the changed circumstances, and the Client shall be fully responsible with respect to the purchases of merchandise, materials, or production. The Designer makes no warranties or guarantees as to merchandise, materials, or production. The Designer makes no warranties or guarantees as to merchandise, materials, or production, but will assign to the Client any rights the Designer may have against suppliers or contractors, and the Client may pursue claims against such suppliers or contractors at its own expense.

The Client shall make certain that the Designer receives copies of all purchase orders and invoices.

The Client shall be responsible for the payment of sales tax, packing, shipping, and any related charges on such purchases.

  1. Approvals by Client. On the Designer’s request, the Client shall approve plans, drawings, renderings, purchase orders, and similar documents by returning a signed copy of each such document or a signed authorization referencing such documents to the Designer.

  2. Client Responsibilities. The Client shall cooperate throughout the Project by promptly providing the Designer with necessary information; arranging any interviews that may be needed; making access available to the project site; giving prompt attention to documents to review and requested approvals; facilitating communications between the Designer and other professionals, such as engineers, suppliers, and manufacturers whom the Client has retained; and, if necessary, designating the following person to act as liaison with the Designer. If the Client is to provide specifications, plans, drawings, materials, or related information, this shall be at the Client’s expense, and the Designer shall be held harmless for relying on the accuracy of what the Client has provided. If at any time the Client has knowledge of a deviation from specifications or other problem with the Project, the Client shall promptly give notice in writing to the Designer. The Client shall be responsible for receiving, inspection and storing all deliveries, except as follows
    If the package delivered was addressed incorrectly or package in a negligent way that may cause harm to delivery

  3. Remuneration. Client agrees to pay the Designer on the following basis, as selected by a check mark in the appropriate box or boxes:

Hourly per diem rate. The Designer shall bill its usial hourly or per diem rates as follows: {$} per hour which will be paid ever week for {} hours. The Client shall pay a nonrefundable design fee of {$} on the signing of this Agreement. Thereafter, the Client shall pay a monthly retainer on the first day of each month in the amount of {$} until {Month} {day}, {Year}. The Designer shall render billings on a monthly basis, applying the design fee and retainer payments thereto, and the Client shall pay any balance due on the billings within {#} days of receipt.

Flat fee plus a percentage of costs. The Designer’s compensation shall be a nonrefundable design fee of {$} paid by the Client on the signing of this Agreement, plus an additional markup of {%} percent of the expenditures for merchandise and materials and {%} percent of the expenditures for production, except that the following budget items shall not be included in this calculation: {ADAP; include workman’s compensation, office maintenance, food, office supplies, etc.}

Flat fee. The Designer’s compensation shall be a design fee of {$}, which shall start with a nonrefundable payment of {$} by the Client, with the balance paid in installments of {$} according to the following schedule:

If the Project continues beyond {#} weeks, an additional fee of {$} shall be paid each month until completion.

In the event that the Designer’s remuneration is based, in whole or in part, on the amount expended for the Project, all purchases of merchandise, materials, and production for the Project shall be included for the purpose of computing remuneration due the Designer, except for the exclusions

If a receipt cannot prove for the expenditures. If the purchase is an object not directly related to the production of the product, and/or the purchase is heavy machinery that could have been outsourced.

In addition, the Client may append to this Agreement a list of items owned by the Client prior to commencement of the Project and use these items without any additional fee being charged by the Designer.

If an estimated budget is required by the client, an additional fee of $350.00 shall be charged for its preparation.

In the event that the Client requests design services beyond the scope of work for this Project and the Designer is able to accommodate the Client’s request, the Designer shall bill for such additional services as follows
All extra design services will be charged an the same rate plus overtime for extra hours worked on additional requests with a minimum of {#} hours and a maximum of {#} hours.

  1. Revisions. During the development of the Project, the Designer shall make a reasonable amount of revisions requested by the Client without additional charge, but if the revisions are requested after approvals by the Client without additional charge, but if the revisions are requested after approvals by the Client, an additional fee shall be charged as follows
    The Client will pay the hourly wage for the amount of time that was spent on the revisions, concept design, and prototype development. The Client will also be responsible for reimbursing the materials wasted before the revision was received by the Designer.

  2. Expenses. In addition to the payments pursuant to Paragraphs 6 and 7, the Client agrees to reimburse the Designer for all expenses connected to the Project, including but not limited to messengers, long-distance telephone calls, overnight deliveries , and local travel expenses. These expenses shall be marked up {%} percent by the Designer when billed to the Client. In thes event that travel beyond the local area is required, the expenses for this travel shall be billed as follows
    The Designer will initially pay for his own travel and may request reimbursement only if a receipt of transportation and written documentation on the intent of travel. If the intent was research through conference, the Designer must present proof that he/she attended such an event. It is the Designer’s responsibility to find the cheapest rate of travel, whether it be train, airline, but, or personal vehicle. If the Designer decides to use a personal vehicle, the vehicle’s mileage must be recorded as well as receipts for refueling.

At the time of signing this Agreement, the Client shall pay the Designer {$} as a nonrefundable advance against expenses. If the advance exceeds expenses incurred, the credit balance shall be used to reduce the fee payable or, if the fee has been fully paid, shall be reimbursed to the Client. Expenses shall in no event include any portion of Designer’s overhead.

  1. Payment. The Client agrees to pay the Designer within {#} business days of receipt of the Designer’s billings for purchase, remuneration, or expenses. Overdue payments shall be subject to interest charges of {%} percent monthly. IN the event that the Designer is the winning party in a lawsuit brought pursuant to this Agreement, the Client shall reimburse the Designer for the costs of the lawsuit, including attorney’s fee.

  2. Term and Termination. This Agreement shall have a term that expires on the {month} {day}, {year}. The term shall automatically renew for additional three periods unless notice of termination is given either by party thirty (30) calender days in advance of the renewal commencement. In Addition, this Agreement may be terminated at any time for cause by either party notifying the other party in writing of the party’s breach of the Agreement and giving ten (10) business days for a cure, after which the notifying party may terminate if there has been no cure of the breach. Causes for termination shall include, but not be limited to, failure to perform any duty pursuant to this Agreement in a timely manner and postponements of the Project or more than fifteen business days total. While reserving all other rights to be paid by the Client through the date of termination for the Designer’s work, for any purchases by the Designer of merchandise, materials, and production pursuant to purchase orders approved by the Client, and for the Designer’s expenses.

  3. Ownership of Design. The ownership of designs created by the Designer pursuant to this agreement shall be as follows:

The Designer shall retain ownership of the designs, including any drawings, renderings, sketches, samples, or other materials prepared by the Designer during the course of the Project. The Designer’s ownership shall include any copyrights, trademarks, patents, or other proprietary rights existing in the design. The Client shall not use the designs for additions to this Project or for any other project without the permission of the Designer and appropriate compensation.

The Client shall retain ownership of any design in its final form that is selected and approved for use by the Client for the Project. All other designs, concepts and ideas prepared by the Designer in the course of the Project shall be owned by and be the exclusive property of the Designer.

  1. Consultants. If outside consultants, including but not limited to architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, acoustical engineers, and lighting designers, are needed for the Project, they shall be retained and paid for by the Client, and the Designer shall cooperate fully with these consultants. Such consultants shall be responsible for code compliance in the various areas of their expertise.

  2. Publicity. The Designer shall have the right to document the Project in progress and when completed, by photography or other means, which the Designer may use for portfolio, brochure, public display, and similar publicity purposes. The name of the Client and location of the Project may be used in connection with the documentation, unless specified to the contrary as follows
    The Client does not include the design within its company and then requests not to have documentation of its company.

If the Designer chooses to document the Project, the Designer shall pay the costs of documentation. In addition, if the Client documents the Project, the Designer shall be given credit as the designer for the project if the Client;s documentation is released to the public.

  1. Relationship of Parties. Both parties agree that the Designer is an independent contractor. This Agreement is not an employment agreement, nor does it constitute a joint venture or partnership between the Designer and Client. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to be inconsistent with this independent contractor relationship.

  2. Assignment. This Agreement may not be assigned by either party without written consent of the other party hereto, except that the Designer may assign payments due hereunder to other parties.

  3. Arbitration. All disputes arising under this Agreement shall be submitted to binding arbitration before {month} {day}, {year} in the following location of the Designer’s address of business and settled in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association. Judgment upon the arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. Disputes in which the amount at issue is less than $1,200 shall not be subject to this arbitration provision.

  4. Additional Terms and Conditions:
    Additional designs that are not directly related to this contract during or after the expiration of this Agreement will result in the writing of an new Agreement. IN the time that nay contract expires and must be recreated, or if a new contract is formed, the Designer has the ability to increase or decrease any fees or hourly wages, as the Client has the ability to negotiate any changes to a newly written contract.

18, Miscellany. This Agreement shall be binding upon the parties hereto, their heirs, successors, assigns, and personal representatives. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding between the parties. Its term can be modified only by an instrument in writing signed by both parties. Notices shall be sent by certified mail or traceable overnight delivery to the parties at the addresses shown herein, and notification of any change of address shall be given prior to that change of address taking effect. A waiver of a breach of any of the provisions of the Agreement shall not be construed as a continuing waiver of other breaches of the Same of other provisions hereof. This Agreement shall be governed by the law of the State of {}.

IN, WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed this Agreement as of the date first set forth above.

Designer {company name}
By {Authorized signatory, Title}

Client {Company Name}

By {Authorized signatory, Title}

this was a sample contract given by some attorneys for a freelance design agreement.

A design brief should be given before the contract and a detailed schedule and project cost management should be given in Gantt chart form attached to the contract.

I’d definitely make them sign some sort of legal agreement. There’s a book called “Business and Legal Forms for Industrial Designers.”

If they won’t sign it, it looks sketchy…