[thelist] terms and conditions documents?

Allen Schaaf techwriter at sound-by-design.com
Thu May 6 22:17:57 CDT 2004

At 05:56 PM 5/6/04, Paul Bennett wrote:
>Hi there peoples - happy Friday from New Zealand!
>Having just begun freelancing fulltime I am interested in putting together 
>a 'terms and conditions' document. I have been charging by milestones (2-3 
>per project), but am now interested in splitting payments 50/50 (beginning 
>and end) for projects under $5000, as these clients tend to be the ones 
>you have to chase hard for milestone payments.
>Does anyone have a document or blurb that they use when issuing quotes or 
>the like that I could peruse for ideas? ( Legal mumbo jumbo is not a 
>strong suit.)
>Also, does anyomne have any advice re: ensuring small to medium sized 
>clients pay up promptly?

Two tips I learned from my dad and one from my mother.

My father, a now retired civil engineer, used to have problems with 
collecting from doctors and lawyers so what he did was double the price 
that would be normal and get 50% up front. Depending on how difficult the 
client was, he would either send it to collection or bill them some small 
amount and write a note that the job was easier than it looked so it wasn't 
as expensive as he had estimated.

The other thing he did was a 50% payment up front and a 25% milestone 
payment and the final 25% on completion. This way, if he had to chase them 
for the 25% he could put the job aside and work on other stuff until he got 
the milestone payment. This way if he had to chase the final payment almost 
all of his labor and overhead was covered and the loss wouldn't be too great.

My mother told me to raise my prices as it would gain me respect and 
discourage the flakes. I didn't do it for the longest time but she kept 
after me. When I did I found she was correct. I got more work, a better 
quality of client and did not have to burn as much oh dark hundred hours 
getting the work out.


Allen Schaaf
Sr. Technical Writer

Who says bad manuals aren't a risk to your life?
Just ask the passengers of the jet where the engine
caught fire because the company's maintenance manual
was wrong about how to install one key bolt.
(NTSB Report on GE CF6 engine fire, American Airlines
flight 574, July 9, 1998. <http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/1999/AAB9903.htm>)

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