Don’t get freaked out, you don’t have to have a fine printed document full of legal jargon to set company policies! Just think simple here, I’m talking about setting some standard practice rules for your business that make it clear to both you and your client what you can expect from each other and how things will run.
Things like, all invoices are due within 30 days of receipt. There. That’s a policy, simple, right?
How about all projects require an initial 50% deposit to begin work. There, see! There is another one!
These can even be rules you set for yourself. instead of your client. You can have a policy for how you name and organize your project files, how you hand things off to a printer or how you organize your code.
Policies aren’t hard to come up with, many of us probably have similar rules in place for our businesses. The part where I see most freelancers trip up is, sticking to the policies they set in place. Sure, it is fine to bend the rules from time to time.. you can do that, it’s your business. But, there is no point in setting a policy if you aren’t going to stick to it. Your client s will appreciate these guidelines because they show that you are serious about running things properly and if you can manage your business in a professional way, it’s a good indicator that you’ll manage their project in a professional way.
Client: “This contract looks OK, can you just take this email as an approval?”
Freelancer: “It’s policy that projects cannot begin until a signed agreement is received. You can send it in by mail or fax, let me know which is most convenient for you!”
Do you have any special policies that have helped your business run smoother? Have you ever got into hot water by not having a policy in place when a situation arose?