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Becoming a PR consultant is one of the most exciting moves a PR pro can make. However, there can arise issues between your client and you – the service provider. Problems like clients who refuse to pay citing various reasons, or clients who expect you to work beyond the agreed scope. The client could also need to terminate the relationship, or the opposite could occur – you could be wanting out.  Thus, a PR contract sample is the document that will save the day in case such problems arise since it protects both parties and is admissible in a court of law.

An agreement isn’t valid until it’s documented. That’s why, as a PR freelancer, you need to work with a PR contract template. It’s not a complicated document as it may seem, and you don’t need special skills to draft one. Provided you know every detail that should be included in a PR contract sample, you can create one within a short time. Even if you’re a newbie in the freelance business, you can design one without much struggle.

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You can decide to draft the PR contract template from scratch, or you can develop it from an existing template. There are numerous but useful contract templates available online, and you could use these if you are short on time. However, whether based on a model or drafted from scratch, there are a few elements your contract should not miss.

If you’re using a PR contract template, it will be easier to create the document. In most cases, a PR contract template comes with all the sections clearly outlined. Even then, it would be best if you still gave it a few tweaks to meet the project requirements. Remember, each PR project has its unique needs. As such, don’t just dump information in the PR contract template. 

So, what should you include in your PR contract sample? Whether you’re using a template or developing one from scratch, the following sections should never miss on your PR contract document.

1. The contract's lifetime

You should not ignore the beginning and end dates of the contract. These dates mark the lifetime of the PR contract sample, and thus everything that encompasses the business relationship is limited to the start and end dates. This action helps avoid issues that arise due to miscommunication. For example, you will know when to commence the PR services, and you will know for how long you will provide those services. In case the client wishes to extend the life of the contract, you will need to specify the procedures that will be followed to this effect. The same applies if the client wishes to terminate the contract prematurely.

Most freelancers tend to take contract expiry date lightly, yet it’s very essential. As much as you’d like to please your client and possibly build a long-term relationship, you won’t be willing to do anything for free. In case the client needs you to offer extra services beyond the contract period, you’ll be happy if they paid you for that. Unless you include contract start and end dates in your PR contract sample, the project may last longer than you expect, but you’ll still get the same payment. So, to be on the safe side, be sure to indicate the expiry date of the contract in the agreement document and provide terms for an extension.

2. The scope of work

This particular clause outlines the specific services you will offer during the business relationship. Specifying the range of work helps avoid many issues that are bound to arise in a business relationship. Your PR contract template should outline the specific duties you (the service provider) will tackle. The contract will also consider the nature of the project; if it's a one-off type of project or a more complicated project that may require a more complex business relationship. Specifying the scope of work also involves specific duties and responsibilities, as well as liabilities incurred. This clause protects both parties by ensuring that your client knows what they should expect from you (the service provider) and also, protects your PR agency from undue liabilities.

When outlining the scope of work in your PR contract sample, don’t forget to include some of the extra services a client may request for in the course of work. Let the client know how much they would pay for such services. Most PR freelancers make a mistake of asking for pay after they do the extra services that clients may not be aware they should pay for. 

Clients don’t like this, and they may even consider it a breach of contract in some cases. Since you’d like to build a strong reputation for them to consider you in the future, don’t leave such important details. As you do this, don’t forget to offer your client a discount. Instead of charging for every single service, you may decide to perform some minor tasks for free. It motivates the client to hire you again or recommend your services to other people. After all, freelance business is all about building a secure network.

3. A termination clause

While you would love a guaranteed business relationship that spans years, it is essential to include a termination clause. This action will protect you (the PR agency) in case you need to terminate the business relationship, or if the client wishes to do the same. A termination clause explains the basis on which either party can end the business relationship and what liabilities are incurred. For example, if the client is dissatisfied with your services, they will have a definite exit plan specified in the PR contract sample, and the same applies to you. Depending on the nature of the business, liabilities may be incurred in case of premature termination of the deal. Without a termination clause, you may find your hands tied if the business relationship goes south, or worse, goes to court.

It’s always important to terminate a contract smoothly without brushing shoulders with your client. For instance, in case the client feels like they’re not going to continue working with you, they should notify you in advance and agree on the amount they’ll pay you at this point. If that’s well sated in the contract, a third party like a court of law will be able to determine the case and ensure you get what you deserve. It will be too bad if you’ve not spelled out the termination terms in your PR contract sample. Termination is a very sensitive issue that should be discussed by both a client and a freelancer. Usually, it should protect both interests. Therefore, it’s essential to involve the client when writing down this clause.

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4. Budgeting and billing

While budgeting is taken seriously, billing procedures often are not. This issue holds true for most small PR firms. However, having a clause that outlines the details of the budgeting and billing process will save you a headache in the future. For example, you can specify that you will be receiving payments on a monthly basis, or every quarter of the year. You can agree whether the client will be billed per hour, or if they will be billed per month. Penalties will also be stipulated in this clause. This clause removes chances of money issues cropping up between you and your clients.

Your client is aware that they should pay you after completing the tasks, but you need to have a definite timeline for payment. Also, the client should know whether it’s fixed or hourly payment. Bringing such issues on the table too late into the day will interfere with your relationship. Therefore, discuss it with them and let them tell you the kind of billing they prefer. Usually, it’s the freelancer to decide this depending on the kind of services they offer, but there’s no harm in letting a client share their thoughts about this. As a freelancer, go for a billing method that you think will pay you off. Nevertheless, don’t be too expensive. Your client may change their mind and look for another freelancer, and that’s the last thing you want to experience.

In essence

The PR contact should protect both parties in case of misunderstandings. Starting a business relationship without a contract is a landmine of severe problems that could end up in court.  If you’re a newbie in the freelance business, you may find it challenging to deal with some clients, but with a PR contract sample, your problems are halfway solved. In most cases, freelancers and clients disagree over payments and scope of work. Therefore, avoid such bumps by having a detailed contract outlining scope of work and payment terms. 

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