I just realized something today. You’ve heard me talk about long-term contracts for a few weeks now but I haven’t actually spelled out why you should care about them.
What are Long-Term Contracts?
You might be thinking “long-term contracts are just contracts that last a long time right?” Well, yes and no. See, I’m using the term long-term to mean more than just a span of time. It would be better to compare them to what I call one-off contracts.
One-off contracts are contracts where you’re brought in for a single project or specific purpose. “Help us build a social network for dogs” and “We are releasing a new free-range, organic soap and need a logo designed” are both one-off contracts. You come in, you do the work, and you leave.
One-off contracts are typically shorter in time too. Some might be a few days, some a few weeks, while others might be a few months.
Contrasting that to what I’m calling long-term contracts: a long-term contract lasts for more than one project. This means it isn’t tied as strictly to the project deadlines, but rather how long the client needs your expertise. You write code and the client still needs code written? Then you’ll be kept around even after the first project ends.
You see, “long-term” refers to the relationship you’re building with your client. Not the project schedule.
(Realistically speaking, long-term contracts will almost always be longer than one-off contracts. There are exceptions but those are rare.)
And you care because?
Now to the guts of the matter, why should you care about long-term contracts? Do any of the following appeal to you?
- A better utilization of your time because you don’t have to prospect for new clients all the time.
- An understanding of how your clients think, which makes communicating with them easier and more efficient.
- A steady and predictable revenue, month after month.
- A deeper relationship with your clients where you can openly discuss any topic, without defensiveness.
With a long-term contract, you can experience all of these. I know I have with multiple clients and those contracts were a dream to work on versus my one-off contracts.
Hopefully I can help you sign a long-term contract (or two or three).
If you’d like to learn more about how you can find and win long-term contracts, The Freelancer’s Guide to Long-Term Contracts was written for you.