Get it in Writing!
Even if the creative professional is your sibling—or your twin, create a contract that contains all of the project specifics, including project milestones (deadlines) and the payment schedule. When in doubt, write it down. 99.9999% of the client/creative issues can be resolved at the very beginning when the contract is drafted and signed. Don’t start the project until you have signed (and agreed) to all the project specifics. You will sleep better at night knowing that you are both on the same page.
Pay Your Deposit
Most professionals will ask for a certain amount of money to start the project, usually 50% for smaller projects, and 15-25% for projects over $10,000. This ensures them that you are professional, serious about hiring them, have a legitimate budget, and intend to complete the project. Cancellation fees are standard, and usually include payment of work completed plus either a set amount or a percentage of the overall project. In some cases, it makes more sense to restructure the project and complete it than it does to cancel. Considering that creative people are professionals just like you, who also need to eat and pay their bills, then you can understand why this is now the industry practice and endorsed by the major creative trade organizations.
With the project discussed, a signed contract in hand, deposit payment made, the creative professional is ready to get the ball rolling. It’s your turn to relax or refocus your attention on other projects. You will hear from a seasoned professional only if they have questions. Know that you have set yourself up for success by taking the steps you have.
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