Any relationship has an element of trust involved. This includes the relationship between you and your client. Both sides need to trust each other, and a contract is the start of that. But you need more than the contract. Here are my top WAHM business tips to help to build trust.
Include detail within the contract
You’ll likely have a template for each of your contracts. The idea is that you have a standard contract overall, but you still need some details. It’s important to state the agreed upon rate being charged, the details of the project, and any due dates for payments. You’ll need to include any late payment fees or discounts you’ll offer for early payment.
It doesn’t matter what your business is. As a writer, I’ll include details of the work, including the number of blog posts per month, a delivery date for each stage of a project, and any ad hoc additions. As a photographer, you’ll likely have details on payments before each shoot or before handing over the finished work. An accountant will have details of how payments are made and when.
My contracts have changed over time. I’ve learned to include a number of revisions for free, a kill fee when the work isn’t up to standard, and when payments need to be made throughout the course of a project. As each client is different, the details of the contracts will be different.
You may also need to include a non-disclosure agreement within the paperwork. This is something to consider if you deal with sensitive information.
The Work-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Home Business: Stay at Home and Make Money With Wahm.com
Viewing samples of work
Clients will want to see samples of your work. That doesn’t mean the samples should be free! This does nothing to build trust between yourself and the client. You can offer pre-created samples or you charge a one-off for a specific sample.
As a writer, I have links to content. Photographs will have a portfolio of past work. Artists will also have a portfolio. You’ll find something that works for your WAHM business.
If the client asks for specific samples for a project, you need to discuss pay upfront. You can’t agree to do the sample and then suddenly charge. That’s not going to create a good relationship. A good client isn’t going to have a problem paying for a sample.
Asking for 50% upfront
Actually, the amount that you ask for will depend on the type of WAHM business you have set up. The minimum I ask for is 50% upfront, but I’ve started expecting full invoices paid before work is started. If you have clients who haven’t worked with you in the past, then the 50% can help to settle their fears.
When I’ve worked with photographers, I’ve usually paid a deposit and then paid the full amount a few weeks before the shoot or before the images are forwarded onto me.
If someone is unwilling to pay part of the invoice upfront, this is a bad sign. There’s a chance they weren’t going to pay at all or would be difficult to work with during the project. As you get to know clients, you can choose to allow the client to pay at the end of the month if you want, but remember that once you’ve done the work and sent it, there’s little you can do to get paid.
Be clear and communicate often
One of my biggest bugbears is the lack of communication. I really dislike when a client disappears on me or when someone isn’t upfront with what they want. If something changes and I’m not told until I’ve done something “wrong,” I hate it even more. I’m sure it’s the same on the other side.
So, it’s important to communicate with your client. This is more than just updating on changes. You need to be upfront about your availability or if a project isn’t something you can do. It’s important to be clear on your expectations from them and how often you’d like to hear from them.
I have one client who I don’t hear from too much except for invoices. However, when I need to get in touch, I know he’s there and will respond quickly. If our timetable has been knocked off for whatever reason, I’ll be upfront about that and keep the client updated. We’ve been working together for two years, so the trust has been built between us.
Building trust is essential for a client and a business owner if you want a good relationship. Do you have any other tips for other WAHMs? Share them in the comments below.