Please read the following carefully as it establishes the foundation of us working together. (Click on the numbered headings below or just scroll down.)
Fixed price - Exceptions
Starting work - Communication - Delivery - Review & approval - Rush jobs - Deposit
Minimum charge - Invoice format and currency - Payment
Mine - Yours - Conflicts of interest
You'll get a flat rate for the job. It is useful for both of us to first talk about your business goals, what to do to achieve your objectives and how to do it in the most cost-effective way. When the scope of the job is defined in as much detail as possible, you will get a customised, fixed-fee estimate.
My estimate will include fixed rates for all items that can be defined in advance, plus a provision for out-of-pocket expenses and undefinable items, if these seem likely to occur. Of course, a ceiling may be set for these costs if you so wish.
You will know the exact rate right from the start. With me, you never need to discuss why a job took 10 hours instead of 8½ or 12. When the fee is agreed on, it stays that way.
For smaller-scale and quicker jobs it may make more sense to base the billing on time or amount of text, depending on the nature of the job.
Also, if the assignment involves time-intensive work, such as editing tabulated information, timing video scripts or doing background research for you, these will be rated on a per-hour basis.
I'm not a fan of legalese, so instead of a 10-page contract document drawn up by lawyers, it is sufficient for me to get any form of written approval of the proposal, cost estimate and payment schedule, plus the deadlines we have mutually agreed on. An email will do just fine, as long as the correspondence is clear about scope, money and time.
I work on a project-by-project basis with many clients representing many industries, probably also yours. That is why I cannot enter any framework agreements or accept limitations to whom I work with. (See also Conflicts of interest.)
I would greatly appreciate it if we could communicate through email or some other way that retains a document trail. This will protect both of us, and I cannot guarantee I am reachable by telephone at all times.
Generally, I will upload the copy to an online collaboration space (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox etc) for your review and comments. Emailing back and forth very quickly leads to versioning problems, especially if several people are involved in reviewing the same piece. Of course, if you think there won't be problems, email is fine. A word of warning, though: if the review process leads to the need for me to restore a master file from several versions, it will incur additional cost.
I'll be happy to help you work on those online collaboration platforms if they are unfamiliar to you. Believe me, keeping the review process smooth and unambiguous is well worth the learning curve.
If my copy requires revisions, please get back to me within 5 working days. Otherwise I will assume the work has been approved as is. If your approval process is likely to take longer, please let me know in advance.
Rates include rewrites as necessary. Usually, no more than one or two review rounds are enough to reach the final result. If we find ourselves discussing punctuation on a seventh round, then one of us is not doing their job professionally. Major revisions, the introduction of new material or a change of the brief or scope while the work is already underway are grounds for revisiting the budget.
If your job requires a quick turnaround, please consult with me first. Depending on the scope of the job and my workload, overnight service may or may not be possible. Please usually allow at least 2 working days for any assignment. A surcharge of 50% will apply to deliveries within 24 hours or less, or if the work needs to get done over weekends, national holidays etc.
Part of the agreed project fee is payable up front. There are many options for the remainder: a time-based payment schedule, part payments after the completion of each project phase, a retainer and so on. Also, when we have worked together for a longer time and know each other better, other arrangements are possible.
All information I receive from you will stay 100% confidential. If required, I will be happy to formalise this by signing a non-disclosure agreement. Unless we're doing something that needs to stay secret even after completion, I do, however, reserve the right to mention the job and your company as a work reference.
All jobs, however small, incur a certain amount of administration, accounting and other costs. These are covered by a minimum charge of 150 euro.
In most cases, you will receive my invoice in PDF format by e-mail, sent direct to you or your outsourced accounts payable partner. If you would rather receive a paper invoice, please notify me in advance. Electronic invoicing from one country to another is, unfortunately, difficult, but I'll be more than happy if we can find a way to do invoicing electronically.
I quote and invoice in euro, unless otherwise agreed. Please check the euro exchange rate against your own currency. If your accounting system requires billing in another currency, it's no problem to me, though there will be some extra banking charges for handling other currencies that I have to carry over to you.
I hope you understand that being a solo operator, there's a limit on how many projects I can work on simultaneously. Still, I must keep my cash flow in motion to meet my own obligations. That's why my payment schedule is shorter rather than longer; immediate payment, 7 days or 14 days being the most common. If it doesn't fit your accounting and payment procedures, let's have a talk. Be warned, though—30 days, 90 days, end of next calendar month or other similar terms will, as a rule, not fly.
Please pay by bank transfer by the due date stated on the invoice. No cheques, please. Clearing them takes ages and is subject to exorbitant handling fees, particularly if received from another country.
When making the payment, please remember to include the payment reference number (RF number) or the invoice number on the documents.
Oh, and one more thing. I commit to delivering what was agreed by the deadline agreed. For the sake of fairness, I hope it works both ways: when I've done my part of the deal, I would greatly appreciate it that my bill gets paid by the due date.
I'm responsible for producing the result within the time frame and according to the terms we agreed on when starting the job.
I also guarantee that the copy you receive is an original work as understood by copyright laws.
I write text content. Thanks to my background in advertising and visual design agencies, I will be happy to contribute to the visual design process, but will not produce any visual design myself.
My responsibility ends once the copy is approved at the end of the review rounds.
You are responsible for what you publish. Once submitted, the text is out of my control, and in some cases amendments have found their way into the copy between approval and publication. That is why I cannot take any responsibility for errors, omissions, typos or other faults in the published version.
Note that it is also your responsibility to have the copy checked from a legal viewpoint before publication, if this is an issue in your business. I write marketing copy, I'm not a lawyer.
If you're concerned that any of my ongoing jobs might create a conflict of interest with your project, let me know. For my part, I will review my current work situation when we start discussing, and will let you know if there is any doubt of a conflict. Please note, however, that as a "hired gun" I work with many clients from many industries and will reserve the right to continue doing so without limitations. If you're concerned about confidential information, you don't need to be; see section Confidentiality above.
If you have any questions or I didn't explain something in enough detail, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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