Fashion | Patterns / Textile Design

Contract & Invoice Tips For Freelance Designers

Published: December 1, 2022

The textile design world is competitive, and freelance designers must have the correct documents ready for use. Here’s how to set up contracts and invoices.

As a freelancer designer in the textile industry, you need to take full responsibility for the services you provide to your clients. 

Having original, legitimate contracts and invoices available to use in negotiations is something that will protect you from getting taken advantage of. However, learning the ins and outs of these essential documents is not something that gets taught to most people, least of all those within the creative design industry. 

If you’re a freelance designer looking to seal the deal on your career, this article is for you. 

What’s The Difference Between A Contract And An Invoice? 

A contract is a legally binding document that displays a mutual commitment to an agreement. Once you and your client have signed it, the contract serves as a legal symbol for both of your acceptance of the terms and conditions applied. 

A thorough contract should outline the deliverables and scope of a project, as well as agreed-upon terms for how it will be executed. This includes estimations regarding timeline, rates, and theme. Contracts should always be created and signed by both parties before you begin any work. 

An invoice is a list of provided goods or services alongside a summary of the total amount owed. It includes vital information about the hours involved, the timeframe they happened in, what the client owes, and your preferred payment terms. 

Both documents are imperative for freelancers to avoid miscommunications or exploitative dynamics. Contracts should always get put in place upfront, and professional-looking invoices always get issued on time and correctly.

Drawing Up Your Own Contracts And Invoices For Reuse 

If you’re a textile designer relatively new to freelancing, having all these documents ready and waiting might seem overwhelming. But the good news is this—once you’ve developed basic templates for contracts and invoices, any future effort will be minimal. 

These days, you can get a template for just about anything online. But making your own from scratch will help add more weight to your reputation as a textile designer, and flex your grasp of freelance expertise. 

How To Make Your Own Contract Template 

As a designer, you probably already know the basics of creating a document like this from scratch, which puts you in a great position. This is such a simple document to create that you can make it using a program as simple as Microsoft Word. Here’s what your contract should include: 

  • Description of services – An outline of your role and all associated deliverables.

  • Payment terms – Will your rates be hourly or fixed? Is there a minimum and maximum amount of hours that can get billed? When do you want to get paid? Will there be a late fee if the client does not pay you on time? Put it all here. 

  • Copyrights – Do you want to retain ownership of your work, or is that automatically transferred to the client? Stipulate the copyright terms relevant to your profession.

  • Terms and termination – Should either party want to terminate the contract, there needs to be a clear path forward. Outline the grounds for termination so that everyone is protected.

  • Non-disclosure and confidentiality – Both you and your client may have to provide information about your business/brand that needs to be kept private (client lists, strategies, financial data, etc.). A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) ensures private data remains private on both ends.

  • Potential revisions – Any work in the creative field is prone to adaptation and subjectivity. Provide a clause that outlines your freedom as the designer and how much influence they will have as the client.

  • Signatures – Finally, a space at the end for each party to add their signature. 

If you lack experience with the layout of a standard freelance contract, you can pick up some stylistic direction from various contract template ideas online. But don’t forget to add your own creative flair so that clients can appreciate your talents. 

How To Make Your Own Invoice Template 

Invoices are an absolutely essential document for any business or freelancer. They ensure you get paid on time, elucidate the agreed-upon terms in prior contracts, and provide you with a digital paper trail to follow in case of miscommunication. 

Just like a contract template, you can easily make a reusable self employed invoice template. Your template should include: 

  • Invoice number – A sequential number and letter arrangement unique to each invoice.

  • Date – The current date, the date of the project beginning, and the date that payment is due.

  • Client & personal details – List your and your client’s name, email, phone number, address, and associated brand (if applicable).

  • Summary description – What exact services have you provided your client with? List them clearly so the client knows what they’re paying you for.

  • Total amount owed – The full summary of what your client owes you for your work.

  • Payment terms – Are you charging an hourly or fixed rate? How would you like to be paid? Provide your necessary banking or relevant payment details here. 

A great invoice is the key to successful interpersonal business relationships with clients.

Using Your Contract And Invoice Documents In The Real World 

Now that you’ve created the documents needed to strengthen your freelance career, all that’s left to do is use them. 

After a client reviews your resume and formally communicates that they’d like to hire you for a project, go ahead and send them your contract (with minor adjustments depending on the nature of the job). Once they’ve signed it, you can start working on the project and hopefully hand it over when it’s complete.

The best time to send an invoice is immediately after the handover of your completed project. 

The Tools Every Freelancer Needs

Every freelancer in the textile industry needs access to formal, professional-looking documents to streamline and legitimize their career. A designer’s contract protects you and your work, and a professional invoice helps ensure that you get paid on time. 

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