The Importance of a Formal Client Agreement

So you’ve got your first Client!

You’ve studied and studied, then burnt the midnight oil and risked every bit of spare cash you can scrape together to set up your own Interior Design practice – but what if they don’t pay?

More than that, what if they claim that the concept you’ve spent days working on seems to be absolutely wrong and you feel like you’ve been speaking to someone else?

One word… Contract! I’m sure you’ve thought of it, although perhaps not? I’d say “on a more serious note”, but frankly this is a very serious note, but one you can address.

Let me firstly advise that we are just making suggestions here, good suggestions, but it’s essential you take independent legal advice as to how you might put any of these suggestions into some form of contract or agreement. Having said that, the following are suggestions that might save you a lot of time and trouble and indeed improve understanding between you and your Clients.

The first point is to ensure you have a contract or at least a formal agreement (no doubt your lawyer will tell you they are different).

The contract (or agreement) should include:

  • An overview of what you are agreeing to do
  • Some detail of delivery expectations, when it is expected that the contract will be fulfilled
  • What significant stages there will be (if any) during the preparation of the project, for example;
    • Conceptual drawings
    • Mood or design board
    • Colour  RAL
    • Material samples
    • How much money the Client will pay for the whole finished project?
    • Will they pay a deposit or make any initial payment?
    • If you recommend buying furniture, who will pay for it? How will it be paid for? Will you earn a “main contractors commission” as a percentage of the value of the furniture and if so, if the Client pays directly for the goods, how will you receive your commission?
    • If the Client is to pay any payments in instalments, what stages will they be paid and what will trigger the requirement to pay
    • If the Client doesn’t like your work and after reasonable discussion they are still not satisfied, what happens to the money they have already paid
    • If the Client likes the first stages of your work, but doesn’t want to continue working with you, what right do they have to (effectively) cancel
    • If the agreement is cancelled, who owns the copyright to the work you have done so far?
    • And again, in the event the contract does not continue, does the Client have to return the work you have shown them to date?

So; lots and lots to think about and you might think I’m going into a bit to much detail, but it really is important to think about these things

avatar Name: Alexandra Eager
About: Formerly Finance and Operations Director of anmarketing agency. Now luckily semi-retired. Amateur interior design buff, constantly experimenting on my own home (much to the chargrins of hubby) and passionate about anything to do with home interiors and improvements. Wish my house was bigger!

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Posts by Alexandra Eager (49)