From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Client Contracts

Hey Pat,

I’m a graphic designer, and I’ve been designing professionally for about a year. I’m starting to get large assignments from large clients.

I recently updated the contract I use to reflect the level of professionalism of these clients. My question is, should I be using my new long and extremely detailed contract for my smaller clients? I’ve been told a detailed contract like this could intimidate my smaller clients. Or, should I continue to use my original contract (which was good) for small clients and projects?


Hello Jane,

It depends on the client. (And remember, you are looking to develop relationships, NOT just land assignments. You will have a longer lasting and more successful career that way.)

If you’re working with an existing client, you should continue to use the original, less-detailed contract. If it’s a new relationship, you can go either way. For a small client … where the person hiring you is going to be the person cutting your check … you can comfortably stick with your shorter contract. When you’re dealing with a bigger company, getting paid is always more complicated, so you may want to go with the detailed contract.

Dear Pat,

I am taking the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. I have a question about the “establishing credibility” section of the program on page 77. It tells me to use reliable, believable sources to establish credibility, but not how to obtain them.

I’m not sure where to start. Should I research the Internet and libraries for this and for testimonials? Can you help?


Hello Steve,

This is an excellent question. As you know, credibility is one of the legs of the four-legged stool. If you write a letter that’s missing even one of the legs – or if the leg isn’t strong – you throw off the entire balance of the piece. So it’s very important to nail credibility.

Think about yourself and your buying habits when you check your package for credibility. Are you convinced enough about this company’s reputation to buy something from them? If not, you haven’t nailed the credibility leg of the stool.

You can use any of the following (or a combo of them) to establish credibility in your letter:

Specific studies

Facts and figures

Testimonials from people in authority

Testimonials from satisfied customers

Supporting articles

And more

Your client will be able to provide some of what you need – especially the testimonials and credentials – but you should dedicate a portion of your research time to uncovering even more supporting proof on your own. Also, talk to as many people involved in the product as possible … from the customer service folks, to the product development team, to the marketers.

That’s it for this week. Thanks to one and all – and keep those emails coming!


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Published: November 13, 2006

1 Response to “From The Golden Thread Mailbag … Client Contracts”

  1. Hello. I am on Part 3 of the Accelerated Program for Copy-writing. I am looking for the PDF copy of "The Four Legged Stool" mentioned on p. 52, web copy. The complete title is "Building a Rock-Solid Promotion The Four Legged Stool."

    Thanks, Anne

    AnneElBeyDecember 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm

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