Mike Monteiro, the Design Director and co-founder of Mule Design Studio, explains why it can be so difficult to get proper compensation for creative work. Whether it’s a client offering to pay for a project in “exposure” or a freelancer who doesn’t deliver what was agreed on, contracts provide protection for everyone involved in a professional creative project.
When you create a contract for yourself, whether as a freelance worker, marketing firm or as someone hiring a creative agency, you take the first step in preventing future problems.
Within your contract, it’s important to have clear definitions of the work involved and clear expectations for both parties. For example, sometimes a web designer may want more money to continue working if the project has gone on for too long but the scope of the project hasn’t changed. Or maybe the client assumes the agency will be writing the content for their new brochure, but it wasn’t specified (either way) in the agreement.
Your contract should allow you to protect yourself and ensure you get the deliverables, and value, you expected. If both parties agree a change needs to be made once work has started then Monteiro’s solution is to draft up a new contract for the additional work and keep everything in writing. This can be an awkward thing to negotiate but if you have a good working relationship agreeing to a new contract should not be complicated.
We use contracts to protect ourselves and our clients from unexpected problems that might arise during a project. When a change occurs that would affect the scope, budget, or timeline of a project, we create an additional contract called a “change request” that outlines the updates to our original agreement. Our clients are very open to signing a new contract as long as they are properly notified ahead of time so they can make an informed decision.
Whether you’re getting your oil changed or building a new e-commerce website for your business, it never feels good to be surprised when you get the final bill. When used properly, contracts help both parties agree on a fair and mutually beneficial outcome, so never be afraid to formalize an agreement for work being done. It should give everyone involved peace of mind knowing you have a legal document you can rely on to govern the project.