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My first prospect

9:41 am on Oct 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Sept 23, 2004
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I've just found my first prospect. Or actually my prospect found me.

The project is mainly PHP video editing. Now my experience on the technical side of things is strong, but freelancing is something new for me.

I've already been browsing through this forum a bit, looking for advice. How should i deal with the following topics:

- legal rights to the code; by default, who owns the code after the projects completion? Also, what is the standard in this? In other words, should I be able to use the code I do for this customer in other projects?

- documentation process, what do you guys document, what forms do you use?

- online communication, best practices (use Skype?)

- special points of attention, things not to forget. For instance, I realized that I should better have hosting discussed, since installing video capabilities can be a pain.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated

9:55 am on Oct 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 1, 2003
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Be clear about your basis. You are either being paid per hour for a defined task or you are being paid bulk for a extremely well defined task.

Get a payment up front.

No developer wants to have to write basic functions and structures every single project; the unique parts of his site you can relinquish all code rights to, but it is in your interest to explain and agree that generic parts of the code may be part of you 'code-in-stock' and as such you need to be able to reuse them.

Skype is good; Skype with one of the recorders is better. Summarise things in writing if possible.

Unless you are on an hourly basis, be clear about what will happen when (not if) your client requests changes or additions which are not specified in your initial quotation (i.e. at what hourly rate he will be billed, and if some form of VO needs to be prepared).

Finally; be sure about what constitutes sign-off. Not so essential with an hourly-basis, but still important. Who is to say the site is done, and how do they know? If your client wants to decide when things are finished and then send you the last payment; you can be kept strung along for an enormous amount of time. Set a time after which the project is automatically signed off; or keep the project hosting under your sole control and refuse to let the site go live until the final payment is made. I've also seen arrangements which use an external arbitrator to determine if the product meets the brief in cases where developer and client disagree.

4:50 pm on Oct 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 26, 2005
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I think it's almost essential to have a defect-tracking system. This can also be used for feature requests.

There are quite a number of these available, both commercial and free/open source.

Train your clients to use the defect-tracking system rather than email.