Topics: Selling, Personalization, Agreement

Q.
I have a formula for pricing my work, but I'm moving into almost exclusively custom work, and I really need to come up with a template contract for clients to read over so they know what they're getting. Is there some place that I can find a generic contract that I could then personalize? Or any ideas as to wording and layout of a contract?
- Lara
A.
A contract between you and a customer is a critical document, and relying on a template may not cover important conditions that would protect you in case something goes wrong. Your best bet is to consult with an attorney in your area who has represented jewelry makers or artists as part of his or her practice.

The term "agreement" may be better from a marketing standpoint than "contract." You will want to cover what is expected of each party at each step of the process, including how payments will be made and what happens if the client cancels the order before finished jewelry is delivered.

I often suggest that jewelry makers who do custom work include approvals at various stages, such as the design/sketch stage, materials (if the customer wants to approve the actual stones or beads, for example) and the delivery of the finished piece.

To get the ball rolling, you might draft a document that you feel is fair and contains key provisions, written in your own language. Then make an appointment with the attorney to draft the actual template.

- Dr. David Weiman
Dr. David Weiman is a respected expert in the field of marketing and selling handcrafted jewelry and a well-read contributor to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads "Ask the Experts". He is the author of Introduction to Marketing and Selling Jewelry, The Jewelry Selling Answer Book and The 5 Keys to Selling Handcrafted Jewelry. A free newsletter on selling handmade jewelry is available at his website: www.marketingjewelry.com.

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