Presenting a Contract To Your Client

I had a fellow web designer ask me how to present a contract to a client during the initial meeting, “while the iron is hot”. Here’s how to do so and when it is appropriate. While it is true that some jobs need a lot of planning and thinking to come up with a price, others (at least for me), are somewhat standardized in that they want (for example) a ten page static brochure-type web site. I know that it will take me around “X hours” to take care of that.

Rather than make it appear that I’m not sure of what it will cost, I can write up an agreement on the spot, price it out (10 pages @ $xx.xx, plus hosting for one quarter at $xx.xx, plus setup cost of $xx.xx equals $xx.xx). We both sign it, they can hand me a check on the spot, and I can leave with a smile on my face and get to work on it right away. They can cross that task off their list of things to deal with in the future. One thing I found difficult to accept when I was first starting out was that, for me, each contract was a big (huge!!) deal. For the business owner, it was a minor annoyance that they’d be happy to get resolved quickly and cleanly. If they can have a very brief meeting, convey their needs, sign a check, and be done, they are happy. If they have a meeting, only to find that they will need a follow-up meeting, and need to wade through a complex agreement sometime in the future, and make a decision later, it reduces your chances of getting that agreement signed. The cliché that says, “Strike when the iron is hot”, applies when possible to minimize the inconvenience to your client. Take care of everything on the spot when you can. If they want a bunch of stuff that needs some research, it doesn’t apply. When they want something that can fit easily into a “Startup Business Package” (or whatever you call it) that you offer, be ready to take care of the agreement on the spot. I have a startup package that I use for those situations. You can see details about my package deal I offer my clients. Feel free to use parts of it for your business (but don’t swipe the entire thing 🙂 ). If you prefer, some web designers have me set the package up for them to use so they don’t need to bother with the server and hosting. That way, you can start with a basic package, add their logo, content, and build it from a starting spot. It can be unbranded so you can charge whatever you feel is appropriate. Contact me off-line if you want to discuss reselling something like this for your needs.

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