Custom Order Contracts
Every business needs an order policy. A Custom Order Contract given to every customer will protect both YOU and YOUR CUSTOMER. A good contract is made up of two parts: The Order Form and the Custom Order Policy.
Your customers want to feel safe in this transaction as much as you do. If they get a professional Custom Order Policy when they place their order and they sign off on the specifications of the order on an Order Form, your customer will know what to expect of you and what you expect of them.
How many times have you heard stories about people who don’t pay for an item an artist took hours to create? How many times have you heard about people who decide they don’t want something at the last minute, or don’t ever pick something up?
Custom Order Form
The first think you need a comprehensive custom order form. This will outline the order in great detail. I use Adams 2-part Invoice Book. They are less than $5.00 for a book of 50 forms.
If you use these, make sure you have the sign at the bottom that they agree to the specs and that they received a copy of the Custom Order Policy! Then staple the policy to their copy and they have everything they need.
Your Custom Order Policy
- Get payment up front, or at least a deposit. Do not start work until you have money in your hand. This protects the artist by making sure they get paid in case of “flakey” customers. This protects the customers because it makes sure their order is a priority. It also make the order firm and binding, in a legal sense.
- Specify details of custom work and have the customer sign off on it. Typically, I do this on their order form then have them sign the bottom. This protects the artist from the “it doesn’t look right” person. It also protects the customer by making sure you can’t change anything about their order in process.
- Set a time frame. Set a date to deliver the product. This protects the artist from people who want their product in an unreasonably short amount of time. This protects the customer from having to wait too long for their order to be finished.
Tip: When setting a date for delivery, I was taught by a good friend “Under Promise. Over deliver.” Set a date that is two weeks out even if you think the project will only take a week. Your customer will be impressed that you finished early and you will have a small “buffer” if you need it.
- Establish a Right to Cancel. This varies with each artist, but we should all have a way to be able to stop an order — either as the customer or the artist — in a certain time frame. I choose to say that if I have an emergency and cannot finish an order, I will refund their money. If they wish to cancel, they have until I start work on the project. If I have not started, they can get a refund.
Here is a copy of my Custom Order Policy.
Kati is the designer behind Hooked by Kati. With thousands of patterns sold around the world, Kati prides herself in creating innovative, easy-to-follow amigurumi patterns. She has designed for several publications, including Crochet!, Crochet World, Simply Crochet, and I Like Crochet. Kati finds her inspiration in science fiction, video games, and numerous visits to the zoo — all passions she shares with her husband and two boys.
This is really helpful, Kati! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you for this advise. it is a great system and a huge help!
I find your system very solid and one that every artist should use. Thanks