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Contracts-have you ever had this response?

JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
edited May 2007 in Business Planning
When a client asks for a quote I provide a quote with what JDawg delivers, what is expected of the client, and terms and conditions. For most projects it fits on one page.
So I send this quote for a car wrap to a doctor. Here is his relpy:
"Dear Alicia, this is too complicated for me, too much lawyer like language and I already pay my attorney too much money. It should be a simple affair.  Regards, xxx"
What??? Are you kidding me? Anybody else face this? I`ve been doing this for 2 years and have never received this kind of reply. I know some people do not reply at all but I think it`s because I`m out of their budget. Hmmmm.....


  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Well, you`re no help!
    Nikole, may I ask what do you consider a contract? Mine is fairly simple. JDawg deos this, Client Does this, timeline, Copyright and Payment Fee terms. One page. Done. No one else sees an issue with it but this guy. I was within his budget so no issues there.
  • pepperlegalpepperlegal subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    At the same time, ask yourself if bad business is better than no business.  My guess is that "lawyer like" language is there to protect the pair of you.  Without it, cross you fingers and hope for the best.   Another tack:  sometimes taking 5 minutes to explain what the language means to the customer can often do the trick.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    I don`t know. Having a contract has saved me more than it has hurt me. I use to not have a contract, I would provide a quote, they would approve it and before you know it I`m doing 20 revisions without compensation. If I could go by an hourly rate it would be different but client`s don`t want an hourly rate; they want a flat fee.
    The terms and conditions refer to: 1. copyright infringement - a MUST have as a designer2. stock photo, font and illustration use3. payment terms (50% up front, remainder in full before printing)4. blah blah blah not included in quote are $xx per hour.
    Pretty dang simple. I`ve seen some web and print designers with 2 pages and more.
    Shane, Nikole and Pepper Legal, you`ve made me rethink my strategy for a response. Initially I was more than happy to let this guy go because of his attitude on the phone when we talked about his project. I typically bend over backwards to help a client and I guess it`s why I got so defensive to his reply. A call to him may work better. Will consider it.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Are you talking about logo and artwork, too?
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    For my logo contract:
    Artwork designed by JDawg Design may not be mass produced without prior permission. All rights reserved. Client may purchase copy right to artwork for an additional fee.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Do you feel the same way about a photographer`s work?
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    I can`t even explain what`s going on. I`ve either received some bad information or totally misunderstood and not real thrilled right now so forgive me if I am short on this. I`ve looked over my notes from a few months ago when I met with a business advisor and it`s plain as day, I wrote  "logos artwork copyright."
    Of course we ALSO talked about artwork for mass produced items that are for SALE. Such as graphics for a t-shirt. I am wondering if I royally screwed up and merged logos with that copyright context.
    Not real thrilled so, I`ll just drop the copyright thing as I sort things out and get input from my peers.
    Craig, to answer your question. If you asked me to quote you for a brochure and I say it cost $500. Then how surprised are you going to be when you see my contract that you are only allowed 3 revisions, not unlimited? How surprised will you be to find out the paper I quoted you was for matte book and not glossy cover? Would you not care to know how long it will take me to give you a proof, and then get it printed? Wouldn`t you want to know upfront that I need you to pay me in full before the piece is printed?
    It`s like buying a car. I know EXACTLY what I am going to get when I look at that final sales sheet. No surprises. If the salesman wants to give me car mats, fine. But I shouldn`t expect it if it`s not in the quote.
    Sorry I`ve been burned too many times not having a contract.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    CampSteve, thanks for understanding where I am coming from on this and I also appreciate your offer. You seem to appreciate the value of a contract for both the client and designer. I cannot imagine doing business without a contract.
    But, this post isn`t about copyright, it`s about a client who thought my contract was too legalized or whatever. All I wanted to know is if anyone else had ever faced this with their own contracts and how they handled it. I received good advice from a handful of people, I guess that will do it.
  • pepperlegalpepperlegal subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    Out of curiosity, what are your terms regarding copyright infringement?I am curious because as far as we are concerned, once they pay for the design - it is theirs to do with what they please.
    Actually, unless you have an explicit written assignment of copyright in the contract, the creator of the design continues to own it - even if the buyer pays.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Well pepperlegal, thats what my peers also advise. So, I just don`t even know now. As CampSteve and Craig has pointed out correctly, I`m not out to screw anyone. I`m trying to do what other designers do to maintain the standards within the industry. If anything I think I am too "nice".
    But yes, I know topics stray. I am appreciative of the help I received in handling the original issue. And through this I am learning and there will be adjustments to my contract on some level. I really need to research this among industry leaders.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Funny!! So, Steve... will you go about things differently?
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    If my client does not own his own logo, I advise the client not to sign and pay for it.  simple.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Okay, but would your client expect to pay for the copyright? Say a designer charges $500 for a logo. To transfer copyright, the designer charges let`s say $1500. Would you client accept that?
    I`m very clear on what copyright is. There are laws proteting the individaul who creates the art. It is up to the designer to determine when and how to transfer copyright. To assume copyright is transferred once the client pays for the service is not accurate.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    For my clients, the single flat fee for the logo would cover transfer of EVERYTHING to my client.  What do I mean by EVERYTHING?  EVERYTHING.  Designer gets and keeps money plus NOTHING.  For me and my clients, there is no negotiation on this.  The designer either wants the money [be it $500 or $2,000 or $50,000 or whatever we negotiate] or designer wants to do business with somebody else.
    The "you get the trademark but I keep the copyright" term is a crazy legal war waiting to happen.
  • JDawgJDawg subscriber Posts: 4
    Actually, unless you have an explicit written assignment of copyright in the contract, the creator of the design continues to own it - even if the buyer pays.You`re saying if I am an employee of a company ... let`s say I work for SUN and I make a web page for them. I own it even though I was paid for this?No. If you are an employee, you do NOT own rights. If you are a freelancer, you DO own rights.
    Do you own your own company? If so, you own the rights to everything you design for a client. It is your decision to transfer the copyright over or not. That shoudl be clear in your contract. Oh, that`s right you don`t have one.
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