As a professional freelance writer, you know you need some kind of contract or document that covers the arrangements made between you and your client. But what if you need something fast, or perhaps a document that is a little less formal? A Letter of Agreement often serves to informally outline all of your agreed-upon terms, but without the extensive legalese of other freelance contracts. Freelance writers may opt to use this alternative form of a contract in order to simplify the process while still protecting themselves.
The Letter of Agreement is indeed in the form of a letter, yet it still requires two signatures and protects both parties. Notice how detailed the letter is. Generally, I include the following sections in a Letter of Agreement: Services to be Provided, Services Not Provided, Final Deliverables, Delivery Terms, Fees, Payment Terms.
The following sample is very loosely based on an actual LOA that a client floated to me in the negotiations stage of a project.
LETTER OF AGREEMENT (LOA)
Name of Project (make sure it's descriptive)
As promised, I have set out below a description of the services that I, GardenWall Publications LLC/Allena Tapia ("Editor") will provide to you Client Name ("Role"), together with our agreed on fees. I will provide the following services: (The following list will then set out all the needs and wants that I've negotiated with the client. Notice the details I've covered, such as style guide, tone, and so on):
- High level editing and proofreading of website copy using Microsoft Word TRACK CHANGES.
- Final delivery in Word .Doc format with changes ON.
- Style choices and issues will consult the examples provided first, and then the Associated Press Style Guide second.
- Author's tone and style will be retained.
- Documents will be returned edited within 48 hours (business days only, unless specifically requested by author).
Please note that we have not agreed to these services (this is equally important and serves to clarify the agreement):
- Software conversion (i.e. PDF or similar).
- Whatever else you can think of, here is the place to carefully avoid problems.
Final Deliverables:(these should be actual, tangible delivered products such as:
- Five Word documents with track changes ON.
- All notes and research used for this project, via a summarized Word document.
- A clean PDF copy of all documents with changes accepted.
Delivery Terms: (how and when each piece of the project is to be trafficked between both parties. Will you use email? An FTP site? Etc.)
- Author to provide manuscript via Microsoft Word or convertible file.
- Editor to return manuscript via Word in 48 hours.
- Editor to provide invoice with completed manuscript.
- Author to pay by check within 3 working days for said work.
My fee for these services will be as follows: (ALL fee details go here)
- $5 per 200 words
- Additional expenses: No additional expenses are anticipated; no additional expenses will be charged. This is the ideal place to add shipping fees, Paypal fees, etc.
- Payment can be made to Paypal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check/money order to the address above.
- Payments will be due 3 days after copy is returned to author.
- No new copy will be taken on until payment is made for previous work completed.
- Any outstanding payment issues will be referred to an attorney representative at (name of your union if you are in one. One example is the National Writers Union.
If you agree that the foregoing fairly sets out your understanding of our mutual responsibilities, please initial a copy of this letter in the space indicated below via typing, fill in requested address information, and email it back to me. If you'd like changes made, let's chat!
Insert signature lines.
Again, this sample LOA shows that a relatively informal document can outline all your negotiations and clarify your project with your client. Other kinds of contracts, such as a Statement of Work or a full, legal contract are also viable options for the freelance writer-client relationship.