Doing the deal: the lifeblood of freelancing

Deals need to be clear

The idea is that there should be no surprises for either side. You want to know what the terms are that you have agreed, however bad (or good), and mbe able to prove them – which means putting them in writing in an email or letter. You can include a copy of this statement of the agreed terms – the contract – with the finished work when you deliver it.

• Useful phrases: ‘So we’re agreed.”I’ll put that in an email (or a letter) and send it over to you so you can check I’ve got it right.”

First fee – money that counts

You want as much as you can get. Aim to manoeuvre them into suggesting a figure first – then ask for more. Remember that with negotiation you are exploring what the best available deal might be. You can’t guarantee you’ll get something that is acceptable to you, so there may be cases in which you just have to turn it down.

• Useful phrases: ‘What are you offering?”Come on, you can do better than that.”

Further fees – the icing on the cake

You may be able to set fees up-front for uses that both sides envisage: x amount (or such a percentage) for web use, y for repeat use in a year-end round-up, z for roll-out into the US. Be wary of tying yourself down when you’re not clear what might happen, or where you think inflation could nibble away at the value of a preset amount.

• Useful phrases: ‘Let’s negotiate that when we get to it.”

Expenses – nice if you can get them

Aim to agree in advance what expenses will be covered and roughly the amount. Avoid incurring expenses before you know whether they’ll be paid back.

• Useful phrases: ‘So you’ll meet the costs of this, this and this, which we expect to be around such and such.”Can you pay an advance against that?”

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