Do you sometimes feel like the poor sap in this movie when you are working on a project that you have priced on a per project or per page basis?
There you are racing up the hill to the completion of your project and then suddenly your contact person decides to show what you’ve done to the CEO and he wants the whole thing re-done, or they suddenly remember an entire section that they want to add to the manual. Suddenly you find yourself sliding back to the foot of the hill to re-write land. Will they pay for this extra work or will you be donating your time?
If you are working on a per hour basis then there is generally no problem in this type of situation. There are some freelancers who will only work on a per hour basis. Personally I think that a per hour basis is the fairest way for both sides, but clients for a variety of reasons sometimes want to work on a per page or project basis. To avoid ending up donating your time, in your bid you must clearly define what the project consists of and how many drafts are permitted. Anything outside the scope of the project is on a per hour basis.
For example “The project will consist of 65 pages and will be completed in 3 drafts. Any additional pages, drafts or corrections to previously-approved material will be billed on a per hour basis of XXX per hour.”
Two caveats; First of all don’t be cheap. If you define three drafts in your bid as the project scope and they suddenly decide that they want additional minor changes after the 3rd draft, don’t charge them. Second, let them know in writing that they are outside the scope of the project and how much you estimate the additional work will cost. Do not go ahead and do the extra work until you have received an OK in writing to do so.
Do I use a contract? Never. I define the project clearly in the bid and tell the client that I can’t start work until I either receive a Purchase Order or acknowledgment by e-mail. Contracts tend to scare clients off and a clearly defined bid that has been acknowledged by the client does the job just as well.