I've been freelancing as a UX designer for a year and a half, and I'm now in the midst of writing more project proposals. My previous round of proposals was nearly a year ago. I followed the format that Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler recommend in A Project Guide to UX Design. The project I landed in that round gave me work for most of this year, so my proposal writing skills are a bit rusty coming back to this now. A prospect called me last week and asked me to write a proposal.
There are several things I wanted to include in this next proposal if legally possible, which are not mentioned in the Project Guide To UX Design:
- The right to use the work I create in this project in my portfolio
- What to do if the client doesn't pay (either a flat fee or a percentage of the unpaid invoice)
- Cancellation fees
- Policies for revisions (a lesson learned from the my most recent project)
Searching the web today for standard language to use for these, I found a Smashing Magazine article with a contract template. It has several sections I've never seen in a sample proposal, such as things about the Uniform Commercial Code, Code of Fair Practice, and Limitation of Liability.
So, rolling these sections into my existing proposal template, I'm starting to think that I have two separate documents in one. The document is also starting to get quite long, and this proposal is for a short project. So I have several related questions:
- Are proposals and contracts the same thing? If not:
- What are the differences between the two?
- In which stages of the project would I send a proposal, and in which stages of the project would I send a contract?
- Would I need to send both a proposal and a contract to a client? If so, would I need them to sign both before I could start work?