One last thing that often gets overlooked: name your client contact at the bottom of the proposal. This is the person to whom you report. You don’t take direction from anyone other than this person (like the late fees thing, be reasonably flexible in the spirit of partnership), especially if it’s conflicting direction. Tanya doesn’t get to take off on a 2-week vacation, leaving Brendan in charge, then return from vacation and override everything Brendan said so you can do two extra weeks of free work because of their miscommunication.
Design trumps willpower. B.J. Fogg, Stanford psychologist
For smaller, lower-risk jobs, include a section at the end of your proposal that says, “If this proposal is executed, it becomes the agreement,” with a dotted line for both parties to sign. Keep in mind that it may not hold up in court, so this solution is for smaller jobs with known clients, and it is only a viable option if your proposal is impeccable, with a very clear scope of work.
Whichever option you choose, don’t start working until the agreement is signed.
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