‘Scope of work’ is one term used to refer to the details of, among other things, a writing gig.
Sometimes defining the work you’ll do is pretty simple – a 500 word blog on how to get up in the morning, or a one page sales letter introducing the newest widget.
At other times, usually when you’re dealing with a brand new client or a more complex project, the scope of work can be quite detailed. In either case the goal is to make sure you and your client are on the same page.
What to include
It’s often up to you, the writer, to figure out exactly what the scope of work really is. In addition to your name and contact information, the client’s name, title, billing address and contact information you want at least the following:
- Date the contract or scope of work is agreed upon and/or signed
- Definition of the project
- Statement of projects purpose
- How changes to the agreement can be made
- Who signs off on it and arranges payment
- Due date
- Payment and how it will be made
Now there are many other things that could be included – just google information about scope of work if you’re curious.
The point and purpose of a defined scope of work is that you and your client agree on what you’ve agreed to accomplish for that client. And yes, the information can be included in a contract of letter of agreement or any other written statement that outlines the same information.
When the scope of work changes
Problems are likely to occur when the client changes the scope of work, or the definition of what you’re supposed to be doing when, how, and/or how you’ll get paid. This can happen almost anytime; the most likely times are when a change is made in the product or service, or a new person takes over at least some of the ordering of writing from freelance writers.
Sometimes these changes are actually improvements, often they aren’t. It’s not surprising if the changes seem capricious and you’re probably right.
It’s worth a try to talk with the manager who originally hired you if they are still available. You’re likely to at least find out what’s really going on, and the manager may be able to run interference for you. Sometime talking directly with the one who ordered the changes will help. It either case you’re probably trying to re-negotiate back toward the original agreement or forward to one that is again clear and benefits you as well as the company.
When or if a new scope of work is defined make sure it’s in writing and signed off on by all concerned parties. If you end up working for one organization for several years or more you may have to renegotiate the scope of work more than once.
Take your best shot and don’t expect to win this battle. You may win, or you may have to give up this client. Just roll with it, knowing it’s all part of doing business as a freelancer.
Write well and often,