Guidelines for a Letter of Agreement
There is no set format for a letter of agreement. However, most typically cover the following areas:
- Nature of the Project
This includes what the freelancer will be responsible for, such as writing a newsletter or designing an organizational logo, and what the client will be responsible for, such as providing background materials and arranging for printing services.
- Description of the Specific Product the Freelancer Will Deliver
This can be very simple, such as a four-page newsletter containing 1,800-2,200 words. If the freelancer will be responsible for any other project-related products or services, such as photography, this should be specified.
The cost of a project is usually based on the estimated number of hours a writer or other freelancer will work. Sometimes the project cost is a range (such as $1,200-$1,500) and includes a maximum amount the client will pay. Other projects, especially those that are less concrete in nature, are open-ended, meaning the freelancer will be paid a specified hourly rate for every hour he/she works. Be sure to include any other expenses, such as mileage or long-distance phone costs, that the client will pay in addition to the freelancer's fee.
This should list specific dates, such as when the first draft is due and when the final draft is due.
Terms of Payment
This should outline how the freelancer will be paid. In a new professional relationship, it is common for the client to pay up to half down at the beginning of the project and the balance within 15-30 days after the final product is delivered. (This is another good reason to check references.)
Other Potential Considerations
If there are copyright concerns, consult an attorney.
Every letter of agreement is different, depending on the needs of the client and the work requirements of the freelancer. These guidelines and the sample letter of agreement that follows are intended to serve only as a guide. They are not intended to cover all possible issues. Consult with an attorney for more specific information.
Sample Letter of Agreement
March 1, 2007
Mr. Steve Smithee
Smithee & Company
1010 Main Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Dear Mr. Smithee:
The purpose of this letter of agreement is to outline the scope of the writing services that [FREELANCER NAME] will perform for Smithee & Company.
Services to Be Rendered
[FREELANCER NAME] agrees to write a four-page brochure describing the engineering services of Smithee & Company. Information for the brochure will be provided, on a timely basis, through existing corporate materials as well as through interviews with Steve Smithee and other appropriate Smithee & Company staff.
Smithee & Company 1) will provide all photos, charts and other graphics to be included in the brochure, and 2) is responsible for printing and other production costs related to the brochure.
Services will be performed at the rate of $60 per hour. I estimate that this project will take between 25 and 40 hours and cost between $1,500 and $2,400. If fewer than 25 hours are required, Smithee & Company will be charged only for the actual hours [FREELANCER NAME] works on the project.
The estimated fee outlined above includes a first draft and one edit of the four-page brochure. Hours for additional edits and/or a longer brochure will be billed at the rate of $60 an hour.
All hours in excess of the estimated project maximum (40 hours) listed in the Fee section must be approved in writing by Smithee & Company.
[FREELANCER NAME] will deliver a first draft of the brochure to Smithee & Company by Wednesday, March 26. The final edited version (including hard copy and a computer disk in Word) will be delivered by Monday, April 2, as long as Smithee & Company staff members are available on a timely basis to discuss changes to the original.
Terms of Payment
$750 will be paid to [FREELANCER NAME] within five days after the signing of this letter of agreement. Smithee & Company will be billed for the balance at the end of the project (tentatively April 2) and payment in full will be due within 15 days.
City, State & Zip Code
Smithee & Company