Ways of Offering Services

  • xxviii
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  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sometime in the near to distant future I am going to be offering services, I'll probably wait til I'm 18 and can officially own a business, so I can do stuff all legal-tastic but I wan't to to prepare for it the best I can in the year prior.
I basically don't know anything about contracts, legality issues, payment methods, how to ask for payments (I.E. half up front, half when done) and everything else associated with such things.
Any information what so ever would be fantastic.

Note: If I posted this in the wrong forum, feel free to move it, as I didn't know the most appropriate forum for this question.
  • the_real_tisse
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Post 3+ Months Ago

hi there

Since you are based in the US (and I'm not) I'll leave the legal stuff about starting a business up to someone else, it differs from country to country.

As to charging, you mentionned half / half. Just wanted to share with you that I charge in 3 steps.

First third at the signing of the contract
Second at the agreement about the look and feel of it (so, basically about the navigation and graphic side, without any content)
Last part is handled right before delivery.

As to payment methods, I usually prefer a bank deposit or cash (if the amount is small).

Now, what to specify in the contract, just some general tips:
- a time line (with deadlines): most important thing is that you add a deadline for the client when they will give you the necessary information and all. If you don't do that, you could be faced with the situation that you are receiving logos and all one day before you have to deliver (I know, extreme, but possible). I even include a clause where it is stated that if they are late, they have to pay a fine per day they are late.
- who is going to be the owner of the source files, specify that to avoid painful situations later on.
- whether you can use the site in your portfolio or not.
- a guarantee period, update period, whether updates are included and if so, what time span.
- hosting and domain name, will you have to do that or does the client need to do that.
- ....

Lots more ofcourse, depending on how the negotiations are going. But, I live by this rule: there can't be enough agreed upon in writing. For you and the client. Just make sure you can live up to your side of the deal, that is what is most important.

Hope that answers some of your questions

kind regards
Tisse
  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for taking the time to reply with all that information, I really appreciate it, and all of it sounds like good stuff.
Thanks a ton :)
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't see why you can't run a business before you are 18. To the best of my knowledge it is not illegal.

I don't really have much legal things to deal with. I have a basic contract I set up with clients like what Tisse outlined. I take 40% deposit before the job is started and 60% upon completion. If they cancel the job the 40% is non-refundable.

All my tax stuff just gets proccessed with my normal tax return.

Search your local area for business information centres, there are lots of support agencies for those wanting to start their own business. You might even find some kind of Youth grant for Young people wanting to start their own businesses.

Talk to people who already have businesses and network and find out what resources are going to benefit you.

I say don't wait, go for it if it's what you want to do! :D
  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

like musik says, why wait? Get going at it now..

If you do well, you'll be building a reputation for something more serious later in life.

If you don't do so well, you'll be able to learn from your mistakes while you're still young & fresh enough to get over them without it affecting much future business.

There are many many things you won't be able to learn until you're actually out there doing it, so it's better to start getting that out of the way as soon as possible so you can start concentrating on the technologies you'll want to offer, and discover the markets you'll want to be offering them to! :)
  • musik
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Starting a small business doesn't take a huge outlay either, you would be suprised how little cash you need to start a business, especially in something like design where you already have the computer and software. All you need is the business registration (usually not expensive) a domain name and webspace and a bank account the client can put money into. :D

:thumbsup: go for it!
  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well see I'm not only waiting til 18 because of legality issues. I also have very little foundation right now, so no one would come to me because I have little to nothing to prove my worth. I'm currently working on a huge project with one of my massively intelligent friends that should definitely put me on the map, so a lot of it is my reputation, which is non-existant at this point.
I never even thought of grants though musik, that's definitely something I should check into, as well as the local business doo-hickey's.
Muchos thanks on the replies guys(/gal).
  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

And that's exactly why you should start now.

If you start 3 or 4 years from now, you're at exactly the same point as you are starting now.

Do a few examples to show what you can do, get a domain name cheap at GoDaddy.com (8 bucks/yr), get a cheap minimal hosting package with a good company (MyProHost.com has a minimalist package for like $30/yr that's no different from their Premium accounts aside from the space & monthly bandwidth), and just start playing around and getting your name out there now..

The thing is, even though you don't have a name or reputation yet, once you start to make contacts, even if it's in the real-world, and not online, if you want them to pay you to design a site or write a script, they're gonna want to see what you can do before they hand over their cash.

It's something you can start now that has very minimal cost, that will start getting you some experience (even if it's just more technical experience, and not business experience for a while).
  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

No see, I've had a domain for like 2 years now, and I own like 2 others as well. I'm not entirely new to this, if you click the + xxviiiBlue + link in my footer you'll see that I have a moderately appealing site, it just lacks content and all that.
So after I build up my site right now and get out that project I told you about I'll be starting.
It's not 3 or 4 years like you mentioned either, it's like 10 or 11 months.
Again, I appreciate the response
  • UNFLUX
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Post 3+ Months Ago

the only thing i want to comment on here is the collection of
fees. i tend to schedule out payments for my clients as tisse
stated -- 1/3 on signing, 1/3 on approval of design, and last
payment on delievery. I think it works best for both parties
when you do it this way, that way you're both covered if the
project never gets completed.
  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That's a good idea, I like that one.
Thanks :)
  • rjmthezonenet
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You can learn a great deal from other companies. Why not work for the competition for a year or two. This will also give you social networking opportunities and a money supply.
  • xxviii
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  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I highly doubt anyone would higher me, since I'm just a junior in high school and don't have a skill anyone would probably need on their team or anything. It's not like I suck at stuff or anything, I could easily make websites, but I would look like crap under a bunch of professionals.
  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

See, you need to have a POSITIVE outlook to make it. These days, when it comes to the web, most people don't care who you are, what sex you are, what colour you are, what age you are, or whate qualifications you have (or don't).

All they care about is the quality of work you can do, and how you can help their business. Getting examples of your work up now, even if you don't get a client for over a year, is going to start getting your work out there and being seen.

Like RJM says, going to work for a company that does the work you're looking to do will help, but setting up a "showcase" site of your own work is going to do no harm at all, and can be done for less than 50 bucks/yr (domain name + basic hosting).

Also, you don't always have to work as part of a team. Many of the sites I've done have been 100% by me (except for scripts I might've had to buy & modify).

So get your work examples out there now. Even if you just get some small jobs ($20-200), it's still some extra spending money to put towards books, software, etc. to help you better your skills.
  • xxviii
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well see I have all the books and software and all that I need, I own 2 domains which are semi-succesful, or are going to be.
I would love to work for another company but I don't even know where to start looking, or how to sell myself to them or anything. If anyone has any ideas on that, feel free to let me know. I really appreciate all the help thusfar.

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