What to do When a Client Cancels Work?

A few weeks ago I was contracted to develop a website for a gardening supply company.  The client knew what they wanted and provided 99% of the images and copy.  This meant all I had to do was design the website, update the client on hours worked and gather feedback for revisions.

My last request for feedback was greeting with a “we have decided to take our shopfront buisness in a different direction and no longer the website…” Argh, I thought.  Does that mean I will not be getting paid?  Reading furthur, the client wanted the invoice for work done so they could pay.  Phew.  Payment has been received so I’m eating this week.

This got me thinking about future work.  I want to be able to gurantee I get paid regardless of whether or not the client ends up using the work I’ve been comissioned to do. Enter the world of contracts.  Before doing any work for a client, to cover myself, I’m going to draw up a contract template or two which will ensure I get paid incase the client changes their mind, gets hit by lightning or anything else.  These documents are also good as they detail what the client will be getting, what to expect and what not to expect as well as payment terms, if they get the rights to the design and any other fine print.

Given the nature of my work, I think a few contract variants will be needed:

  • -standard agreement – overarching contract
  • -icon/logo design contract – an update to my designer brief form
  • -web design contract- an update to my designer brief form
  • -web development contract
  • -web maintenance contract – specify levels 1-4 of my maintenance services including what is not included
  • -technical documenation contract

At this point, I’ll have a read through the AIGA template and see how to tailor it for me.