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Large Seo/design Contract


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#1 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 09:06 AM

Hey folks,

So, I've been talking with someone for several months about SEO and things are starting to be concrete. I just need to make a contract. Now, of course, I need to talk to a lawyer, which is somewhat of a pain because I don't have much money. But I'm still planning this all out before I speak with a lawyer.

What this entails (services):
Buy hosting/domain
Designing Website from scratch
Optimize website pages
Create blog, integrate it with website
Create unique content for blog (blog management)
Viral Content/Linkbait & link building (for numerous keywords; on-going)
Analytics for website

I think that covers the main topics.

Aside from me feeling more scared than this guy. I'm trying to figure out how to write this contract. Not only that. How to bill them.

I've had some people say 'no upfront but ask for a percentage' which to me seems best because if I don't produce, they don't pay. But this isn't flying with these monkeys. :spambuster: The client (a family member...) doesn't want to give me a percentage. He wants a flat fee/standard fee.

I was thinking 2k up front (from all the stuff I've done already; research among others) and then 100$ an hour with 20 hours a week. Does this seem reasonable or am I out of my mind?

I've consulted with another SEO firm and asked them and waiting their reply (I told them to take their time...lol). But this is probably the biggest thing that has happened to me since I learned how to fly.;-) :infinite-banana:

Seriously though. This an entire new endevour for me. It's happening very fast. I feel, in many ways, I'm being catapulted into my dreams. I feel totally lost, but in a good way. It's like I found America when there was no America... anywho, just looking for advice/encouragement. B)

#2 EGOL

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 10:40 AM

The client (a family member...) doesn't want to give me a percentage. He wants a flat fee/standard fee.

I would work harder if I was getting a percentage but then if two years later if I had other more interesting or profitable ventures he would not want me working on them instead of his project. He would resent writing my check every month. But affiliate programs do this for me and we find it mutually rewarding.


and then 100$ an hour with 20 hours a week. Does this seem reasonable or am I out of my mind?

My plumber charges almost that much and if I go to get my car worked on they charge almost that much.

#3 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 05:26 PM

My plumber charges almost that much and if I go to get my car worked on they charge almost that much.


So, are you saying it's reasonable or out of line....?

#4 sanity

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 05:50 PM

Congratulations Flying Monkeys!!

We've touched on some of the issues you are raising recently: What Should A Contract For Offering Web Design Services Include?, and some other equally interesting questions :)

As far as quoting goes - are you able to rough out how long you feel it would take? You could then use that to work out a fee based on your hourly rate. Remember that rates differ in different states and different countries so comparing is not always a good idea.

Whatever you decide I always advocate a deposit and then regular payments as the job progresses. For new clients the balance before the site goes live is always a good approach.

Things to keep in mind with a contract:

Copyright
Scope Creep
Timeframe
What the quote does and doesn't include.

Remember we've all been where you are and often you'll find things like your contract evolve as you learn along the way.

Good luck and let us know how you go!

#5 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 07:04 PM

Scope Creep

What's that mean?

Thanks for the encouragement sanity.

are you able to rough out how long you feel it would take?


Not really. They said target as many keywords as possible. They are a custom painters (like military stuff such), so it's semi-never ending.....

I hope this helps some.

#6 A.N.Onym

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 12:00 AM

20hrs/a week seems too low for a single man project, if they want to get some results this year.

I can't quote on your hourly fee (depends on your skill, your local market, etc), but it seems to be on a low-medium side of the spectrum. If that's how you feel (using this project as opportunity to learn, not to earn as much as possible), then you might go this way. However, if you think (oh, I'll work cheap now, get more later), then think "earn fairly now, whatever happens later: good".

It's never good to work on future prospects, promises or inadequate or overly optimistic forecasts, even those I've stepped in this trap five (5!) times.

Lastly: family member? I'd really make it obvious that "only what's in the contract". Or maybe avoid it like plague.

I liked the approach to manage extra wishes (scope creep) by creating a list beforehand:
- extra linkbait post: $1k, no more than 1-2 extra per week
- fixing changes made by client: $300/hr
- time spent wrestling content/info/data from client: $200/hr
- email writing: $150/hr

Edited by A.N.Onym, 23 July 2008 - 06:26 AM.


#7 sanity

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 01:21 AM

What's that mean?

Scope creep is mostly an issue in fixed priced jobs. It's when the requirements keep increasing after you and the client have agreed on what is to be done and at what cost. Oftentimes clients try to get you to do more work for no extra money. It's a trap that many new designers fall into.

In a fixed price quote you can avoid this by defining what your quote does and does not include. For estimates and billing as you go it's not such a problem but always let a client know if what they are asking for is outside the brief and what the additional costs will be.

They said target as many keywords as possible.

I'd consider working out how many to target a month and what other activities will be required and determine how long it will take to give them a monthly budget. That way you both know what is expected ad the costs each month. It might be that you do this for 6 months and then re-evaluate the situation.

#8 glyn

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 02:57 AM

My advice is to keep it simple. Use a daily rate to action the bulk of the work, and then have a clear and concise rate that will help cover your fees and allow the client to plan for any future changes and plan their budget. I'd also ask for 30% on signature, 30% on completion of work and 40% 3 months following this. It's professional, would your client do a whole amount of work without any fees? So why should you? Because you are young (i don't know this myself, I'm only assuming) or inexperienced? I'd walk away if they are suggesting you work fee-less, and remind them that if they want optimization afterwards, it will cost more.

The more you split up your rates the more you open yourself to scrutiny (client) "I saw that I can get web-design for x/ph and you quote me y/ph". Your USP in this case is building a website from the ground up with Optimisation. I don't know what it's like stateside, but I'd be firing off a 300-600 a day rate depending on the client.

I'd also like to emphasise, although I'm not sure if this is possible if this is a completely new site, the importance of benchmarking site activity. For example, I am in a position to say with hand on chest that I expect a traffic increase of between 200-400% when I've carried out optimisation on a clients site. Had I not benchmarked in the past, I could not say this. It also means that I no longer find myself in "you said we'd be first" conversations, as I focus the client on traffic delivery and sales rather than keywords which, quite frankly might sound nice but, even if they sound nice, they don't necessarily bring in the traffic. I'm sure this is common practice now.

I hope helpful.
Glyn

#9 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 08:48 AM

Yura said;

If that's how you feel (using this project as opportunity to learn, not to earn as much as possible), then you might go this way.

Precisely my logic in charging that much.

Yura said;

It's never good to work on future prospects, promises or inadequate or overly optimistic forecasts, even those I've stepped in this trap five (5!) times.


Are you saying 'Dont make promises, That I know I can't keep'? (I'm a little confused by this statement)

Yura said;

Lastly: family member? I'd really make it obvious that "only what's in the contract"......


Yea. I'll make it clear. But the problem is, I don't know the amount of time each step takes. One of the first phrases I'll be targeting is fairly easy and will give them significant traffic (hopefully a high ROI) but after that, it looks like an uphill battle.

Sophie said;

Oftentimes clients try to get you to do more work for no extra money. It's a trap that many new designers fall into.


I see. Yea. I've known of this trap being in a school with active web designers. I just didn't know it had a term. Thanks for that. It's a big trap, thanks for helping me out.

Sophie said;

I'd consider working out how many to target a month and what other activities will be required and determine how long it will take to give them a monthly budget.


How many words to target should I be shooting for, within what kind of time range? (I don't want to over extend myself.)

Sophie said;

It might be that you do this for 6 months and then re-evaluate the situation.


I was thinking 3 months but the more I think about it, the less I like the idea of 3 months. It's too short, in reality. 6 months sounds better, thanks again.

Glyn said;

Because you are young (i don't know this myself, I'm only assuming) or inexperienced?

I'm young. 21. :)

Glyn said;

I focus the client on traffic delivery and sales rather than keywords

Yes, this is a good reminder for me to keep in mind. Since the conversation started "I think I can get you #1 for 'keyword'." Lol. But yeah, they know more entails than 'just #1 rankings on Google' and I should make that clear. It's ROI that we (me and the client) are looking for.

Keep the advice coming. It's been very helpful.

Edited by Flying Monkeys, 23 July 2008 - 08:50 AM.


#10 iamlost

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:39 AM

To simplify sanity's point on scope creep - specify in your contract what you will do over what period or by when and then rather than list the oodles of things not included simply add a 'change order' clause.

That way if the client asks for anything additional you are covered and can negotiate whether to do it and at what price. Kills scope creep dead - so long as you enforce it.

A contract is not simply a binding legal document, it is also a method of clarification. It needs to be sufficient to remove any 'but I thought' or 'you said' stuff.

A contractor's best allies are a competent accountant and a competent attorney.

#11 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 05:20 PM

A contractor's best allies are a competent accountant and a competent attorney.


I'll be able to afford them after this contract. :infinite-banana:

I will try to send you guys a rough draft of a contract to get more feedback. (Before I go to an attorney)

#12 A.N.Onym

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 11:56 PM

When I said

"It's never good to work on future prospects, promises or inadequate or overly optimistic forecasts, even though I've stepped in this trap five (5!) times."

I meant that you should have this in mind, because you and the client end up being unsatisfied by your current results and your earnings, thus ending the relationship with you and the client getting little from the interaction.

You work harder, when you are paid fairly. Make sure your family member understands it (and you do, too).

I know I couldn't keep my head straight, because I am too hopeful, trustful to humans and give people chances. If that's not your case, feel free to heed to this piece of advice.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 23 July 2008 - 11:57 PM.


#13 Joshua Sciarrino

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:06 PM

Should I include paid directory submission and hosting (dedicated server) in the contract? Or should that be 100$ an hour + money for dirs...and hosting. Should that 100$ be mine completely?

Looking for some more advice in the contract sculpting.



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