6 Step Guide To Setting Up Your Terms As An Online Business Owner or A Freelancer

Having Clear Terms‘ is the means to success online as a business owner or a freelancer. Experience has thought me that if you don’t have well defined terms, the probability of you succeeding online is very slim.

So where do you start? The answer to this is reliant on your level of experience serving online clients as a business owner or a freelancer. Do you understand how online marketplace work?

For example, have you used Escrow payment before or do you know how it works? Working out your ‘own terms‘ is not something that you can do in one day. It comes in as they are needed.

Let’s say it’s a paragraph or point that you add to your existing list of terms in a document as the need arises.

When defining your terms, its good to know where to start. That is what I will focusing on this blogpost.

1. Scope of Work

It starts with the clients scope of work. What does the client want you to do and can you do it?. This is very important. Many online business owners and freelancers I know in the video production industry are good at video creation and editing. However, when it comes to animations and motion graphics, they outsource.

Make sure you are very clear with your client in what you can provide, outsource and what you cannot. Don’t lie that you can do it or find someone who can do it and end up not doing it. You will have failed the client and yourself.

Making your stand very clearly understood by the client is in itself a term. e.g Telling the client “I will require you to provide a given list of items” makes it clear to the client on what you will provide.

2. Cost of The Project

Once you have agreed with the client on the scope of work and both of you are happy, move on to the cost of the project. How much will the project cost? Based on the defined scope of work, come up with a quotation listing each item and it’s cost. Most clients are ok if you do this directly on the e-mail body.

Professionally, I recommend doing your quotation on Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and sharing it as a link or attaching it to the e-mail as a PDF file. This way, collaboration will be easy and the client can print the document and put it on a file for records.

Costing is usually easy if you have your own standard production rates.

3. Payment Terms

Now that the client has agreed to your proposed quote and the deal is closed, go ahead and discuss with him/her, how you would like the client to pay you. Mostly, it’s good to break down this into two parts.

  • Payment Breakdown – Since you have not met the client in person and probably the client is on another continent, have them make a down payment of 50% as a show of commitment. Alternatively, if you are using Escrow service, have the payment broken down to 2 parts of 50/50. 50% when you deliver the first draft of the video and the remaining 50% once you are done.
  • Payment Methods – Share with your client the payment methods you prefer. e.g. PayPal, Credit card e.t.c.

Most clients love it when you are clear on how you would like to receive your payments. They know that by honoring your terms, their work will be completed on time.

4. Revisions And Modifications

Once you deliver the project and the client needs revisions or modifications, what are your terms on this? For example you can say, you offer 3 rounds of revisions for free. Anything after that is billable.

If you are new to online business and freelance marketplace, you will not know it until a client requests for several revisions to a point you are tired of making them.

When revisions and modification term is in place, everyone will be careful not to make any mistake from their end because of the cost implications.

5. Mode of Collaboration

As an online freelancer or business owner, expect to receive large files from your clients. This means you must be subscribed to a paid cloud service like Dropbox, OneDrive or GoogleDrive. This way, you can have your file sync automatically on the background.

Agree on a mode of collaboration for their project. E.g If you are a content creator, you can decide to use google docs for scripting and Dropbox for videos. Either way, it will be easy for each of you to quickly locate a shared file and share their feedback.

If you are dealing directly with the client, communication through e-mail is ok. However if you are dealing with a team, then using free collaboration apps like slack will be great.

6. Refund Policy

Lastly, it’s good to have a refund policy in place as part of your terms. What happens if the client requests for a refund after you have started work with them? That’s why this is important. This way, when the client is getting into work agreement with you and making partial payments, they understand clearly the policy.

A good refund policy is the one that is considerate. A win win. i.e. ‘If the client cancels the contract after delivery of the first draft of the video with no clear reason, 50% paid as the down payment will not be refunded.’

Conclusion

Ensure the client signs and sends you back the contract terms you share with them before starting work.
We all know, people hate signing documents with long form terms. Insist that you have an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) in place anyway before starting any work. Clients with high value contracts are the ones who requests you to sign an NDA because they know the risks and consequences of what may arise later.

For example, if you offer video production services like me, and in your contract with the client, you had a clause on commercial license fee of 10% of the contract sum. You can sue the client if they use the content commercially without consulting you. Contracts are there to protect each party from abuse.

And that is it from me here.

What are your guiding pointers when defining your terms to a client as a video producer?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

And if you need professional video tutorial services for websites and apps, you can request a free quote on www.techtubestudio.com . You will get a response within 12 hours.

Until next time, bye bye and take care.

Follow me on twitter @cheptiony.

Cheptiony Mutai

Cheptiony Mutai is the founder and author of this blog. By profession, he is video producer and an online entrepreneur working and living in Kenya.

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