Check the fee: is it enough?
Look at how much they are offering in terms of payment; you want to be sure that you can actually deliver within that budget before accepting the job. You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot and end up paying out lots of money on the production, or go back to the person commissioning you during the project to ask for more money. This can be quite tricky to negotiate once the contracts are signed.
If you have any doubt around the fee, in terms of covering your time and the materials involved, it’s fine to ask if there’s any more. There might be room to negotiate, and if it’s a fair request, it’s likely the client will understand and be able to look at making the fee higher. But if it’s not possible, there’s probably a reason for it. Remember that at this point, it’s fine for you to walk away.
Don’t be scared to push back
In the case of quick turnarounds, this can be a difficult situation to be in. If the client wants to work with you that much and with so little time, then they need to be more flexible in terms of what they are asking for. Don’t be scared to push back on it. As the creative, you’ve got much more power than you think – they’re basically relying on you to say “yes”.
Payment and invoicing terms
Adding terms for fees and invoicing is also important – ask what these are if not stated, including how long after the project you’ll be paid, or whether they are paying you in advance. Are they going to give you a production fee in advance of starting the project? Or will you invoice them for the full amount at the end? If you think you’re going to spend lots of money on production costs, for example on materials, you should feel confident in asking for some money up-front to cover those costs.
Be sure of what you’re providing
Another guideline is to be clear on what you’re providing, beyond the creative assets. Say if you’re a photographer, are you going to provide all the studio space or the lighting materials within that budget? Where’s that coming from?