My Raket, My Rules!

You probably know this already.  But if you're new in the freelancing biz, you must understand that financial security is your top priority.  When you're employed, you don't worry about that because no matter what you do, you still get your pay day.  In Raketsville, you don't wait for the money.  You make the money.  So security measures in the form of paperwork are prime mandates.  And YOU make the rules.

Let's focus on the CE.  The Cost Estimate is that very first piece of paper you and your client will sign off on.  It's the bible of your negotiation so it should flash the total cost with all the service details, as well as all the payment terms and conditions --and I mean ALL. 

These are my basic 'money rules'.

Cost indicated is ALWAYS net.
There's nothing more painful that selling short without even knowing it.  No matter how obvious it must seem to you, you must still spell it out in black and white.

50% downpayment upon initial submission.  
Trickiest part of the deal.  Rarely do I get a downpayment on time.  But vigilance is key.  Without sacrificing deadlines, try to hold back on revisions until you get your first pay.  Beforehand, make it known that you mean business.

50% balance payment upon final approval of material for production.
Second trickiest part of the deal.  You've seen the ad on TV for months and still you haven't hugged a money bag.  Don't let it go that far.  Follow up like the devil.  Don't be harsh, but don't be timid either.

Total cost includes 3 rounds of revisions.  A revision exceeding this will be charged depending on the gravity of said revision.
I like this.  This makes your client more organized for fear of going overboard with the number of revisions.  So instead of calling you everyday for a whole new bunch of inputs, she will collate all her comments in one neat package.  Sweet!

A total redirection from the creative brief calls for a new project negotiation.
Crucial bit, this is.  Do not confuse a new direction with just a simple revision.  It's not.  When the direction requires a complete creative overhaul, so does the Cost Estimate.

If the project is discontinued after creative submission before 50% downpayment is secured, a 50% discontinuance fee will still have to be furnished.
There you go!  So no matter what, you still get bucks for all your effort.  There is no such thing as a 'Sorry' and a 'Thank you' in this business.  You're running a raket, not a charitable institution.

That said, these terms aren't always followed to the exact timeline you have in mind.  Unfortunately.  But it IS on paper.  And it's signed.  It's something you can always go back on for security.

Now you can sit back and make up your own rules.  Empowering, ain't it?


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