One of the major reasons behind designers getting into freelance design business is their passion for work and love for creativity. Since designers are more focused towards their creative side, they tend to ignore business-related details and their importance. It is commonly said that one should learn from someone else’s mistake but in such cases, unfortunately, mostly designers learn from their own mistakes. It is very important for every freelancer to learn and understand certain aspects of running a freelance business. Focusing just on creativity will make you and your business, suffer.
If you want to be a successful freelance designer, you should gain some good knowledge regarding a few important documents for your business. All you need to do is work and concentrate on these documents for one time and later on you can save yourself from a lot of hassle by using the same documents on every project with obviously a little bit of amendment. In this article, we will be discussing a few important documents for freelance. Also, if you have been into freelancing for some time, you should have had these documents by now. However, it is never too late to start working on them. Other than this, if you are about to step into freelancing world, this article will really help you in preparing these documents.
Let’s discuss some crucial documentation that needs attention in freelance design business for its own betterment.
I have seen many freelance designers not giving contractual documents much importance in the beginning of the career. This practice makes them learn how important these contractual are because they suffer a lot in the initial years for not giving them the importance they deserve. Talk to any experience freelance designer or read anywhere, they all will tell you to go for signing a contract before working on any project.
As a freelance designer, you will have to deal with shady clients every now and then. Such contracts can save you from a lot of hassle and issues related to deadlines and meetings. Make sure your contract includes all key points so that there is no room left for misunderstanding. Contract must include details regarding your services, payment amount, payment method and any other importance clause that you think should be added in order to avoid future confusion.
Mostly designers’ complaint about these contracts being too expensive for newbies to afford. Plus, hiring an attorney and working on legal terms can give you a headache. These days all templates are available over the internet so you should simply get a template and make changes accordingly. Same template can be used for all sorts of clients with required amendments.
Documentation Regarding Continuation of Services:
Mostly designers add the clauses related to re-designing of website. However, a very importance factor is maintenance of the website. Since you will the designer, you will be required to maintain the website every now and then. You should have a separate contract for maintenance services mentioning all the important details. The contract should state your services and payment methods very clearly.
A lot of new designers are not even aware of the existence of such documents. This document basically helps in developing a healthy relation between client and the designer. Also, it helps designer in understanding the client’s requirements. This document should contain some simple, basic yet important questions regarding company and the services it provides.
Also, if there are any suggestions/instructions that client would like to convey regarding this project should be included in the design brief document. Again, you do not have to spend hours on designing this document every time with a new client. Since the questions are very basic, you will only have to make a few changes here and there and send it to client as soon as you can in order to save time.
Drafting a Proposal Document:
As a designer, you should always have a proposal template with you. You never know when you might have to pitch to a client and in such cases, proposal templates are very important. While drafting a proposal, make sure you keep things transparent and easy to understand for the client. Proposal documents are indeed a great way to advertise yourself. These proposals will definitely carry a logo of your company and this not only represents you as a professional but also creates a brand image of yours.
Invoice can be considered as one of the most important documents because it involves payment details. You can find plenty of web applications available over the internet to help you design an invoice. If you are not satisfied with sample templates, you can create your own document of invoice and for this, you can use excel sheet or any format of your own choice. This is again a great way to brand yourself and while drafting an invoice template, make sure you are including all the major and minor details.
In order to come across as a professional, you should have your own letterheads, notepads and other relevant items. Although, it is not way too necessary but if you have to send mails to the clients, you should have a professional letterhead to do so. Any informal contracts or small deals can be signed on letterheads so make sure you get that printed as well.
Many designers avoid having project completion documents because they think it is unnecessary and it might annoy the client as well however, such documents are equally important as proposal or invoice. The basic purpose of such document is to just bring it on the record that you have successfully completed the project and also handed it over to the client. It should also possess a clause regarding your client’s approval and satisfaction from the project. Although it might seem to be a very unnecessary document but it can save you from a lot of trouble in the long run. You might come across a few clients who can blame you for not finishing the project on time or not completing it the way it was supposed to be and in such cases, you can always show the signed project completion document.
All the documents mentioned above might come across as unnecessary in the beginning of your career and you would definitely like to focus more on your creative side instead of getting stuck with document and contract drafting. However, if you get the documents made you will be thankful to yourself in the long run. Such documents save you from unnecessary clashes with the clients and when everything is documented, there is no room left for misunderstanding. Such contractual documents help client and designer develop a good and healthy professional relationship. As a designer, when you will be working with a free mind, with no such tensions involved, you will come up with a master piece. These documents should be treated as a formality because you will have to deal with good clients and bad clients as well and these documents will come to your rescue when you are jammed with an appalling client.