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Article: How to Negotiate a Contract as a Graphic Designer

How to Negotiate a Contract as a Graphic Designer

Ability to negotiate a contract as a graphic designer would bring lots of benefits for your productivity and income. Here some tips to learn more!

Negotiating at its finest meaning might only refer to discussing the term of the contract with your desired client. But when it comes to graphic designers, more so for freelancers, negotiate a contract means more than just a handshake and sign. A good deal can turn into protection for both of your projects or salary. 

At some point, there are a lot of people that decide to make a contract and get it as it is. Unfortunately, more often than not, there is always a problem with at least some of your terms. And here comes the role of negotiation. Doing so is not easy either. But if you have to do it, check out some of these how to negotiate a contract as a graphic designer.


Step By Step Tips On negotiate a contract 

1. Be Prepared

The first and the most fundamental way to negotiate a contract is being prepared with anything. What is meant by anything, is that you should have the right knowledge, references, plan, and anything. By any means, when preparing for a negotiation, bring the relevant document and contract details. So, you can help the client and yourself with faster references.

You have to be prepared for any tough questions. Some clients might want to tease or test your knowledge a little bit, so they know your worth. This is why knowledge of a particular graphic designer job is necessary. You can also get more prepared with the contract itself. If it is necessary, you can prepare a checklist for all the information about the project.


2. Know What And When 

When you are trying to negotiate a contract, you should know what or when to exchange. The idea is to get the best out of it, but still, you need the best result to avoid cancelation. So, what should you do? Even though you have heard about the term "everything is negotiable" underlines that it is often true, the opportunity is not always there. 

Believe it or not, everyone needs more than just a faster internet connection and lots of love, especially for the graphic designer. You will need more cash, more time, and more clients. You can often need more inspiration to get the job right. In this case, you can prioritize your needs so the negotiation goes down smoothly.

But is it possible every time? As said before, the answer is no. The opportunity might not be there. No matter your needs, you have to open and know your situation. At some point, you cannot negotiate a contract for some of the details again. If the client already has the rates contract, don't ever raise the hourly price again. 

The best alternative to get what you need is to look at other aspects in the agreement that have more flexibility. In other words, money matters are pretty sensitive. So, negotiate other things than money. You can talk about the deadline, the graphic designer's work schedule, the deliverables, the changes of materials, or new ideas, and anything.


3. Turn It Into An Easy Decision 

If you have a lot of terms and conditions that demand you to negotiate a contract, then clients might think twice about your service. Nobody likes making difficult decisions. If you can lessen the problem of the term and conditions on the contract, it will be easier to score the graphic designer job deal.

It helps both of you. The client can learn that you are the more obvious graphic designer candidate from your contract. At the same time, a more understanding contract will lessen the need for complaints. Another thing that you can put into account is making yourself the best contenders. Other than using the easy-to-use contract, showcase your proven portfolios. 

Help them understand how good you are in presenting the job and making the contract. The better the understanding between you two, your client can choose you easily. One thing for sure your client will have seen more than one designer. That is why you will need to negotiate a contract and demonstrate your compatibility to the finest.


4. Get To Know Your Client Beforehand 

After you are sure that the potential client will look at you, think twice before you sign the contract. Getting to know your client is another insurance to ensure your graphic designer job. How if the client cancels the contract in the middle of the road? There are a lot of potential problems that can happen due to the client's antics.

In this case, before you negotiate a contract make sure you do adept research. Underline that you have to be prepared and get the appropriate knowledge. It also works for your client's history, reviews, and anything. Go and take a look at their recent news, website, reviews of their services and product. You better know more about the client before sign it. 

But should you discover the bad things or what? The reason behind this idea is to find out the potential and ensure the reliability of your client. But at the same time, you also got the idea of developing a sense of understanding how your graphic designer’s work will mean or used by your client. 

Look at them in the bigger picture. After scrolling down their social media feeds, you might have an idea about their taste or preferences. Maybe they love a drawing or cartoon character in their poster, maybe they prefer having a professional tone and color palette. Take this chance to know them more and ask them as you negotiate a contract.


5. List your queries to gain more information 

With some information gathered at the previous point, you can make it clear with some more questions. When it comes to negotiation, the primary purpose is to ask for requests or some detailed information. But as you ask questions, make sure you listen carefully. It is also necessary to plan your queries. 

Most likely, the questions are meant to provide more opinions and information about the project. It also helps in directing the conversation and focus. Negotiate a contract with carefully thought questions, so both sides will actively participate in the project. Thus, you get the chance to clarify details, express your graphic designer opinions, and reduce tension.


6. Help Your Client Understand 

In some cases, your client may not understand anything about design. Maybe they use your services and throw down all of the necessary details to you. This kind of customer can either be good at following your decision or downright complaining every time. The later problem happens due to the lack of knowledge and the unsatisfying details as you negotiate a contract. 

To avoid this kind of situation, use your experiences and expertise as a graphic designer to make them understand the value. It is not only about the cash, but also their appreciation. Explain to them how the working process will happen. You can also show them how and what the benefit of the work. If possible, show them how it quantifies the projected result.


7. Show Them Your Interest 

Are you sincerely interested to negotiate a contract, or you just want to negotiate? Underline that the first option will help you get the best deals that benefit both sides. But if you only want to negotiate, it will show how you only prioritize your benefit. This is something that you should avoid to secure the deal. 

Showing your interest here means you are passionate to do the graphic designer's project. In this case, all you need to do is stating clearly that a contract is essential for the project's continuation. Tell them that it is essential to reduce the changes in some minor specifics since you are close to a deal.


8. Tell And Demonstrate Your Desire To Work

Sincerity and desirability can greatly affect one's work. More so for the graphic designer that works with numerous clients. At some point, clients tend to choose the candidate that did not want to cooperate. If you ever are in a job interview, you will see that the interviewer will value your willingness and reasons to join the company. 

More or less, you got the same situation as one of the many candidates. Clients will gladly choose people that love or desire to join the project. You got the chance to prove and express your reasons as you negotiate a contract. You might not discover it, but before both of you sign it, each side has the right to cancel or go away. 

So, what should you do? How to demonstrate your willingness? The first and the best way is to express that you got another graphic designer job, but you choose to join the project. It will help you create an impression of priority. It also improves your negotiation situation, since your client will think that you are willingly setting aside other projects for them. 

That was the perfect trick to show your desire in joining the job. But, think twice about this kind of action. Make it as real as possible and still make sense. If you are icing it too much, your customer may think that you are too good or busy. Your client might consider other graphic designer candidates since they are afraid you will do the same with them.


9. Understand The Client's Timeline 

Just said in some previous point, you should know when to negotiate a contract. Most likely, you have to think twice or shorten the negotiation times depending on the client's timeline. One thing that you should consider and match is the customer timeline. If you have a patron that is short in time and needs someone immediately, then do so. 

Don't waste your time with multiple rounds of negotiations that take hours. At the same time, don't delay a deal and think too much. Get the deal as quickly yet as clear as possible. After all, you will need time and clear ideas to finish the graphic designer job. In contrast, get the best understanding of the prospective customer takes their time and evaluates their option.


10. Look, Professional 

When you negotiate a contract, don't underestimate the importance of appearance. Make sure you dress professionally and showcase your professionalism. Suit and ties can do best for bigger corporation deals. But you also got the choice of wearing a blouse, shirt, and proper appearance. Make sure that your attire will show how your value is. 

Not only about the attire or clothing, but you can also display your professionalism from your manner. Avoid overreacting to every negative or positive change in the negotiation. Keep calm and make sure your emotions are in check. As a pro graphic designer, such a chance of manner and antic can help make the negotiation smoother.


11. Know Your Worth 

Who knows how much people will willingly pay for your job? In this case, your term and condition plus the rates in the contract will help determine the proper value. Of course, you got the chance to do decent market research about the ongoing rates, but how about you? Are you good enough to get the same rate? It is the reason to negotiate a contract. 

Many graphic designers use the same rates to value their work, while their skills and experience can heavily affect the price. To avoid being overestimated or underestimated by your potential clients, it is beneficial to discover your worth. Check out your proper rates. It is also better to compare your skills and values in a bigger market. 

Will your skill and design worth the values or it appears inferior to others? While it is okay to try getting the best deal, it is best to assure clients that they got what they paid for. Worth knowing that there are more considerations. You have to look at the local rate, the financial position, or maybe the purpose of the graphic designer’s project. 

Another thing that might come in handy in negotiation is considering your circumstances. You can say that everyone needs more money or a job. But, do you need the work? Is it wise to take it now? Maybe you have some circumstances that end up with the cancelation as you negotiate a contract. Maybe you found that it is better to just walk away from the deal.


12. Don't Try To Win 

In contrast to seeking the best and winning the contract, sometimes graphic designers should target to not negotiate a contract and win it. Losing the deal does not mean you won't do the job. It rather goes to willingly get a mutual middle ground agreement for both parties. One thing for sure, you don't want to work with a client that feels pressured into a bad deal.

No one wants to feel bad upon agreement. That's why sometimes it is better to not force your way and get an equally happy ending. You can look at the value from their perspective. Will you feel happy if the graphic designer continuously demands something too much? Then try to put yourself in the customer’s position. It will help you a lot more.


13. Make Sure You Negotiate For More 

At the previous point, the trick on negotiate a contract is to not try to win. But then what does it mean to barter for more? One thing for sure, as a freelancer you will have to work for your client. If you find that this action is necessary for your job, then do the best. If possible, ask about long-term kinships. So you have a potential client for the future.


14. Consider The Bigger Picture 

How if the client is the one who doesn't want to lose due to limited flexibility? In this case, you have to consider the bigger picture. Think further about the contract. You might be able to use the non-flexible negotiation for your benefit. Just like the previous point, maybe this contract is the stepping stone to secure a long-term relationship for your graphic designer career.

Take the best chance to negotiate a contract and think about more than one possibility. Ask them if you can use the contract as a way for a more future deal? How about using the contract as a learning experience and a chance to expand your portfolio? There are many more possibilities in every project, which means you don't have to feel bummed out from it.


15. Your Work Is Just started 

Are you ready to sign the deal? Recognize that this step is not the end of your relationship. After negotiate a contract, it is just the beginning of the long hours of the job to do. Before you sign in, check all of the agreements. Make sure you are not over-promising and capable of meeting all of the obligations. Then, deliver the excellent graphic designer job. 



No matter who the client is or whatever the products are, you will always need to negotiate a contract. More so, if you are a freelance graphic designer. All in all, preparations are the key. You need to show your interest and willingness, along with make sense rates. Then, continue your job.

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