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Consulting contracts

by Starky (Chaplain)
on Jul 15, 2003 at 19:05 UTC ( #274526=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I have done quite a bit of consulting, but it's all been with ongoing, long-term clients with whom I have a good relationship. I recently was offered a short-term one-off job to do some mod_perl stuff, but with someone with whom I am relatively unfamiliar.

Rather than just a purely informal verbal agreement, due to the informational asymmetries I am faced with I would like to ask the client to sign a contract but I hardly know where to start. I certainly don't want to ask the client to sign the kind of voluminous, all-encompassing contract I have worked with in the past.

Can any monks offer a link to or an example of a good, fair contract which is tailored to simple one-off programming projects?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Consulting contracts
by princepawn (Parson) on Jul 15, 2003 at 21:32 UTC
    • You might ask this on
    • Even if you have a contract, do you really savor the idea of going to court and hiring a collection agency if they don't pay? I have been stiffed for 10k and just swallowd it. It takes a lot of time and may yield nothing to get a client to pay. If you are worried about that, charge frequently or require an up-front retainer fee.

    Carter's compass: I know I'm on the right track when by deleting something, I'm adding functionality

Re: Consulting contracts
by edan (Curate) on Jul 16, 2003 at 08:54 UTC

    I agree with princepawn - you will probably not get much use out of the contract, since a 'short-term one-off job' is not likely to get into the amount of money it would take to make it worth your while to try and enforce it if you have to.

    I think getting some money up-front is your best bet. I have been told in the past that 50% up-front and 50% upon completion is a reasonable scheme - seems fair to both sides.


Re: Consulting contracts
by johndageek (Hermit) on Jul 16, 2003 at 20:03 UTC
    What are you trying to avoid? Working with someone you do not like? Or having the client pay you aspecified amount?

    Rather than a contract, perhaps a Purchase order/workorder describing terms, work to be performed, and sign off procedure.


Re: Consulting contracts
by bm (Hermit) on Jul 16, 2003 at 13:25 UTC

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